Monday, August 27, 2012

EDBP: Movie Review - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Perhaps we've been incorrectly labeled.”

(When Kiri's flesh and Kiri's bone {of my fingers} write of film reviews in throne, please note spoilers will be anything but done.... hmm. You know that doesn't really rhyme. Ugh, how do I call myself a poet? Dash it all!)

I know you must be getting tired of those spoiler warnings I've been posting at the beginning of every film review I've done this week, but I really think it only fair to warn you. I'm terrible at putting in spoilers, intentionally and unintentionally. So please just bear with me. I won't give away the entire story, but I can't help writing about what happens during the course of the movie in every one of my reviews. 

So, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe... another long movie title. But I suppose it's acceptable considering that it's the first (or second, depending if you go in book order or publishing order) in the series and that's what C. S. Lewis called it. You should know now that I am a rather large fan of the Narnia stories. They are beautifully crafted, include a grand scattering of humor, have characters we can like and relate to, and so much more! However, this post is not on the Narnia stories, but rather the Disney movie based on the book C. S. Lewis wrote first: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

For those of you who don't know what this story is about... *sigh* You don't know what you're missing. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe follows the adventures of four children finding a fantasy land by traveling through a wardrobe. When their home in Finchley, England is threatened due to German planes soaring overhead, the Pevensie children are sent to the countryside to the safety of an old professor's large house. And it is here in this house that they find the wardrobe that has more than just wood at the back. In fact, it has woods.

Lucy is the youngest and first of the the four Pevensie children to find Narnia by going through the wardrobe. She meets the faun, Mr. Tumnus, and has a delightful tea with him until he confesses that he was going to kidnap her and take her to the White Witch (more on her later). But he decides to let her go and keep their friendship intact. Once back in England, Lucy tells her siblings of her adventure, but none of them believe her. Lucy refuses to believe that Mr. Tumnus and Narnia were only part of her imagination. Lucy is a good character, and I love the way Georgie portrayed her in the movie. She's cute, fun, energetic, and everything that you could imagine Lucy to be.

Edmund is the third of the Pevensie children and the second to go to Narnia. Following Lucy one night for the sole purpose of teasing her again, Edmund finds himself in the middle of a wintry woods, with no Lucy to be found. He happens upon the White Witch, who proclaims herself the queen of Narnia, and he believes the tales she tells him of power. Feeling unappreciated by his siblings, Edmund decides to bring them all back to Narnia and betray them into her hands. I think Edmund is my favorite out of all the Pevensie children. Although he first begins as a betrayer and a complainer, he learns from his mistakes and turns around for the better.

Susan Pevensie is the practical, second sibling. A magical land behind a wardrobe is impossible in her sight, and once she's there, she can't believe what she's seeing. When a talking beaver arrives to take them to somewhere, Susan doubts his tale of Aslan, battles, and armies. (“Mum sent us away so we wouldn't get caught up in a war.”) When Edmund goes back to the White Witch by himself, Susan tries to be realistic. “No, you're trying to be smart. As usual.”  Susan is probably my least favorite of all four of the Pevensie children. She's always too willing to put the blame on someone else.

The last of the four Pevensie children is the eldest, Peter. With Edmund under the power of the White Witch and the aforementioned nemesis coming after them all, it falls to Peter to escort his two sisters to the safety of Aslan's camp, just across the frozen river. Peter has doubts as to their success, but he does his best to protect Lucy and Susan. Father Christmas arrives and presents Peter with the gift of a magnificent sword and shield, but when faced with the task of using them, Peter seems hesitant. I liked the character of Peter in this film, acting the older brother and doing what he knew was right even when it wasn't what he really wanted to do. He's unselfish, but he doesn't have much confidence in himself. 

Aslan, the lion, is the son of the Emperor over the Sea, the king of whole wood (according to Mr. Beaver), the top geezer, the real King of Narnia, but not a tame lion. He is a symbol of Jesus Christ, God's Son (the symbolism I addressed earlier here and I would encourage you to read that post as it talks about more of the stuff in Narnia; please read!), and when Edmund's blood is demanded by the White Witch as her property due to his betrayal, Aslan steps in to offer himself a willing sacrifice in Edmund's stead, much in the same way that Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for the world. 

The White Witch is the enemy, plain and simple. She's proclaimed herself the Queen of Narnia and put the entire land under a hundred years of terrible winter, and she'll do anything to prevent the prophecy of four human children overthrowing her rule from coming true. Edmund is easily pulled into her false promises of power with Turkish Delight, but when he fails to bring the rest of his family to her, the White Witch decides to go after them herself. I never noticed this before watching the behind the scenes clips, but the costume designers worked particularly hard on the White Witch's clothes, even going to the extreme of making their own "lace" to cover her dresses and having her clothes slowly change color throughout the film. The white at the beginning and her tall, icy crown depicted her power and her confidence in that power. But as the Pevensies arrive and winter gives way to spring, her confidence fades and her dress gets darker and her crown gets smaller with each scene. Interesting, eh? :)

Other characters I have the present inkling to add in this review include Mr. Tumnus, the delightful faun that Lucy meets and with whom becomes close friends; I love the character of Mr. Tumnus who, even though he supposedly in the pay of the White Witch, refuses to endanger his newly made friend. There are also Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, a loving, furry couple with an affectionate and fun relationship who take it upon themselves to help the Pevensies despite the danger to their own persons lives; love some of their lines: “Stop squirming. You're worse than Beaver on bath day.” “Worse day of the year.”Another character who merits a mention is Ginarrbrik, the White Witch's right hand man dwarf. He does everything that's expected of him, but he's just one of those epic characters that you can't help liking due to their personality and speech. “I'll go check the sleigh.”  :)

Since this is a fantasy story, and there's fighting, it is rated PG for scary creatures and epic battle sequences. However, my younger sisters (ages 9 and 3) can sit with us and watch the entire film, with the lone exception of the scene at the Stone Table between Aslan and the White Witch. 

Now I realize there are many of you waiting for the post about magic that I promised you about a month ago (I'm terribly, terribly sorry I haven't posted it, but my research has been going very slowly), and I'm going to give you a brief preview of it now as magic is a big part of Narnia. 

Aslan mentions the Deep Magic in Narnia many times, but you must realize that what is meant by “the Deep Magic” is supernatural power, which does indeed exist! Christ used supernatural power to raise Lazarus from the dead. In the Companion to Narnia, we learn that the Deep Magic is twofold: the Deep Magic and the Deeper Magic. The Deep Magic is defined as the effects of justice in a created word, existing from the dawn of time. The Deeper Magic is eternal, from before the dawn of time, connoting a self sacrifice. 

The soundtrack for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of my favorites. I love the light, cheery notes of “Father Christmas” and “Only the Beginning of the Adventure” is delightful to listen to as well. “Narnian Lullaby” is a haunting melody that Mr. Tumnus the faun plays, and I love playing that song on my flute. The main theme for the film is epically memorable and plays just at all the right times in the film. The songs I am not crazy about include the last four on the soundtrack, the pop songs that play in the end credits. Actually, I don't even know that all four are even in the film itself. Really doesn't fit the epic fantasy theme of the rest of the soundtrack. 

While many people put down Disney from varying from Lewis's original tale, I don't think they took too many liberties with this film. Sure, they added a few things (gave Ginarrbrik a name) and deleted a few other things (the house touring party led by Mrs. McCready in England), but on the whole, I was very pleased with how close to the book the story progressed. Now, if you really want to see a film that deviated from the original story, watch Prince Caspian, the sequel to this film, but I can't condemn Disney much for that, because that movie's also really good. 

Oh, by the way... you can read my sister's review for this film over at another one of our blogs, KiriBeth, here.

I can't think of anything else at the moment, so I suppose it's time to wrap things up. If you think of anything that I missed, please drop a comment! It's always discouraging to post a film review and then hours later think of a million different things you could/should have included in it. Oh, well...

Rating out of 5 stars: 5 stars! Not counting those last songs.

Did I enjoy The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? YES!

Would I watch it again? Uh, is that a legitimate question? YES!

Would I recommend it to other people? Yes. 


  1. I LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia, both the books and the movies. I own all three movies, and have watched them all multiple times. This was a very good review of TLWW.
    Kristin @

  2. The last time my family was able to go see a movie on the big screen, it was to see this. While I didn't care for all the deviations, it wasn't too bad, and I did enjoy it. It's possible that, had this movie not come out, I would not be the writer that I am today. (long story)

  3. I agree, this was not the worst of the three adaptations Walden did....but, let's face it, I'm going to go to the BBC productions first and forever when I want to watch a movie version.
    And thank you for explaining that the Deep Magic is really just the supernatural power of God, not magic as we tend to think of it. I'm always trying to explain that to people, and I just realized how to phrase it that way, myself, the other day. :-)

  4. I. Love. This. Movie. 'Nuff said. Aaanyway... this movie is definitely on my favorites list. I love the story, characters, scenery, COSTUMES, and, um, there isn't really anything I dislike about it!!! :) Peter and Susan are my favorite characters. My favorite costumes are Susan's coronation dress and the 'grown-up Susan's' purple dress at the end. And I love how the 'grown-up Lucy' was played by 'young Lucy's' (Georgie Henley) older sister!

    Life kind of went crazy for me and I wasn't able to keep up with all the games and everything going on at the EDBP! ):

  5. Oh! Congratz! I just saw that you write like JRR Tolkien. anyways, rabbit trail.
    I LOVES Chronicles of Narnia (although you must admit that Prince Caspian was an abomination, saved from desecration only by the fantabulous actors, and the absolutely amazing Liam Neeson and Ben Barnes) Have you read Walking Through The Wardrobe by Sarah Arthur? I recommend all her "Walking" books. Highly. And "Dating Mr. Darcy" is good too. You simply must read them. Now. This instant. Go order them. Now. You won't regret it.

  6. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. This is one of my favorite movies! Good post, Kiri!

  7. I LOVE this movie soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!