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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (PG)
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is the first of seven books (remind anyone of a certain cinema phenomenon based on a teenage wizard?) which follow the magical world of Narnia and when Walden Media optioned all of them, it seemed like as good a place as any to start creating a successful run of children's films.

"Give me my sock back, ya goat bastard"
"Give me my sock back, ya goat bastard"

Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are four evacuees shipped off to the countryside during the Battle of Britain to stay in a large, unfriendly house run by a Professor and the dreaded Mrs MacReady. During their stay, however, they discover that an old wardrobe in an upstairs room is, in fact, a gateway to the magical world of Narnia.

They become embroiled in a war between an evil witch and the side of good, championed by Aslan the lion, climaxing in a life or death battle with plenty of drama, treachery and religious overtones to boot!

This ridiculously titled film is great fun to watch and contains some wonderfully magical moments. Andrew Adamson uses his experience with the Shrek films to direct the fairytale quite ably and does his best to smoothly integrate an awful lot of computer graphics into the film. However, the keen-eyed among you will notice that some of the animals that populate Narnia don't move quite as they should, and some would even look more at home in a cartoon.

It is pleasing that the animals are portrayed as such rather than the human-animal hybrid seen in the BBC series so fondly remembered by my generation. Having said that, the 1988 television series arguably handles some aspects of the story better than this version, including the famous Stone Table sequence.

Ultimately, the Chronicles of Narnia is very enjoyable and well worth watching. The final climactic battle fails to satisfy as it should, which is ironic for a movie that has borrowed so much from the Lord of the Rings films. In fact, for a story with such a tremendous amount of imagination behind it, this version has very few memorable parts, so although it is one of the best things to see at the moment, it isn't quite strong enough to be sandwiched between Harry Potter and King Kong.

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Length: 140 minutes
Certificate: PG
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/Narnia/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363771/
Release Date: 8th December 2005

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)

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