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CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In World War II England, the four Pevensie siblings - Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Peter (William Moseley) - are sent to the safety the rural home of elderly professor Kirke (Jim Broadbent). While playing hide-and-seek, they accidentally enter the world of Narnia through the magical wardrobe in a spare room. In Narnia, the children discover that the once charming land, inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants, has been cursed to eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis (Tilda Swinton). Under the guidance of noble and mystical ruler, the lion Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson), the children must fight to overcome the White Witch's powerful hold over Narnia - and somehow save Edmund from her evil scheme that threatens his life.

Review by Louise Keller:
As a child living in Africa, one of my fantasies was to ride on the back of a lion, its full mane rippling in the wind. This is but one of our experiences in the dazzling fantasy world of Narnia, where C.S. Lewis' immortal characters come to life in a spellbinding family adventure with mythical creatures, drop-dead gorgeous New Zealand scenery and an inspiring score. Like the worlds of The Neverending Story and The Wizard of Oz, Narnia is filled with magic and surprises. But like The Lord of the Rings, this film relies on high tech advances to marry its themes of good versus evil. The fantasy elements are rich and wonderfully realised as the journey from the back of an old wardrobe takes us from a staid, uncertain world into a spectacularly wondrous one.

Directed and co-written by Andrew Adamson, who delighted audiences everywhere with Shrek and Shrek II, there is a contagious sense of wonder, reminiscent of precious childhood innocence. Despite the natural English reserve and diffidence ('We're not heroes - we're from Finchley'), we still get involved. In a wise casting decision, the children are totally unknown, which works to the film's advantage. They are all excellent, especially 10 year old Georgie Henley as Lucy, who steals our hearts with her cute button nose and big eyed gaze.

Tilda Swinton is imposing as the austere White Witch with the ice crown, a vision of pale wickedness who rides in a polar-bear driven sleigh through the winter wonderland. The first glimpse of Narnia, as Lucy stumbles into the picture postcard setting is indelible, snow crunching under her feet, the trees dusted as if with icing sugar. The characters are irresistible - from Mr Tumnus the man-goat (James McAvoy), to the chatty beavers (voiced by Ray Winstone and Dawn French), the wily Fox (voiced by Rupert Everett), as well as the stately unicorn, cheaters, centaurs and minotaurs. The regal Aslan the Lion (voiced by Liam Neeson) lives up to his reputation as the brave and selfless King of the Beasts.

A warm-hearted story that leaps into thrilling fantasy, Narnia is a winner hands down, enabling us to ride the wind, defeat our foes and safely come down to earth. Younger audiences may become restless by the 2 hours 20 minute running time, but most will be swept away.

Available on DVD, the one-disc version includes commentaries, bloopers and fun facts, while the two-disc version is packed with features include anatomy of a scene and a look creating the creatures of the film.

Published April 27, 2006

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, THE: DVD (PG)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, Sophie Winkleman, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent

VOICES: Rupert Everett, Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Dawn French

PRODUCER: Mark Johnson

DIRECTOR: Andrew Adamson

SCRIPT: Andrew Adamson, Ann Peacock, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (novel by C. S. Lewis)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald McAlpine

EDITOR: Sim Evan-Jones, Jim May

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Roger Ford

RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 22, 2005

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 2.35:1

SPECIAL FEATURES: 1 disc: The Bloopers of Narnia; Discover Narnia Fun Facts; Audio Commentaries; 2 disc version: Creating Narnia Chronicles of a Director The Children's Magical Journey Evolution of an Epic; C.S. Lewis: From One Man's Mind; Cinematic Storytellers[BREAK]Creating Creatures; Anatomy of a Scene - The Melting River[BREAK]Creatures, Lands & Legends; Creatures of the World ; Explore Narnia; Legends in Time

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE

DVD RELEASE: April 26, 2006







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