The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Andrew Adamson

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Andrew Adamson
The Chronicles of Narnia novels are undisputed children’s literary classics, thus when Hollywood announced the recent big screen adaptation, a great many now-adult fans held their collective breaths. Would the book translate to screen? Would the story within still be relevant? The answers, respectively, ended up being yes and maybe. Set during WWII, which despite merely being a framing device also dates the tale (especially considering that today’s youngsters probably have very little concept of that period), TLtWatW follows three children who are sent away from a war-ravaged city to the relative safety of the countryside. Once in their new home, they uncover a looming wardrobe and the secret passage to another world housed within. That world, Narnia, is not only suffering a century-long winter but a mounting struggle between the forces of good (led by a lion named Aslan) and evil (helmed by the White Witch, played wondrously by Tilda Swinton). Little do the children know just then how much they figure in to the prophesised events about to transpire. Director Andrew Adamson (Shrek), a confessed fan of the original C.S. Lewis novels, aspired to make his filmic version in the spirit of the book (and his childhood memory of it) rather than as a strict adaptation. This love of the material can clearly be seen in the final product, encompassing everything from the near-perfect selection of the cast to the look and feel of Narnia itself. TLtWatW does not fail in its vision. If it fails at all, it fails from the passage of time. Meaning: can modern kids who have been weaned on 30-second action sequences really connect to an old-fashioned fantasy story that focuses on family ties, growing up and morality lessons? And while these themes are certainly universal, it could also be said that TLtWatW is downright doddering in comparison to other recent cinematic children’s fare. Making it stylistically more a movie of yesteryear — minus the CGI — than of last year. This impressive two-disc collector’s edition comes loaded with extras, including two commentaries, bloopers, a Narnia mythology section and many documentaries and featurettes on everything from the original novels and the director’s vision to the making of the creatures and other special effects. Simply put: this is the most complete TLtWatW any fan could ever want. (Disney/Buena Vista)