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Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia

I used to have this goofy ’70s British horror movie on VHS that I loved. Well, I used to have a whole bunch of tapes like that–cheezy horror flicks like Day of the Triffids, Kingdom of the Spiders and Alice Sweet Alice that my dad used to buy as Christmas stocking stuffers and other gifts. But this one was called Psychomania and it was about these biker kids in England who discovered that if you really, truly believed you could come back from the dead then you would.

It was an interesting premise and a fairly campy flick, but had the trouble that once these kids come back from the dead they didn’t really do anything very interesting except be the bullies they were when they were alive. The method of coming back from the dead was pretty lame, too. They did it just by believing they could. Come on, they could have made it a little more complex than that. I enjoyed the movie anyway, though, and I still might have it stuck in a box somewhere, but I haven’t seen it in awhile.

Anyway, if you haven’t realized it, I’m leading up to a SPOILER review. So, if you haven’t seen Narnia yet and don’t want a key point revealed, then skip the rest of this. Go buy Psychomania on DVD instead or something. But the key point I’m about to discuss her is something that you’ll see coming a mile away.

It’s no secret that C.S. Lewis, who wrote the classic book the movie is based on, was a strict Christian after living half his life as a raging athiest. I know I read the book when I was a kid, but I really don’t remember it so I don’t recall if the Christian themes in the novel are as overt as the ones in the film.

In the movie, the White Witch is obviously Satan while Aslan the lion is a painfully obvious Jesus metaphor complete with sacrificing his life for mankind and being resurrected, except he doesn’t wait three days. It only takes Aslan a couple hours to come back. And his resurrection is sort of on the lame side, just like the living dead bikers in Psychomania.

This kind of bugged me, especially being in a kids movie. Yeah, there’s nice Christian ideas in the film like avoiding temptation, doing the right thing, being true to your family, yadda yadda yadda. But showing kids that it’s all right to get yourself killed as long as it’s for a good reason because then you’ll just come back from the dead probably isn’t such a hot idea.

But, I’m nitpicking. Overall it was a really great film. It’s the first live action feature from director Andrew Adamson, who previously did the Shrek films, which I didn’t care for. I think he handled himself really well, especially working with children. He gets really great performances out of little Georgie Henley, who plays little Lucy, and Skandar Keynes, who plays the vile traitor Edmund. Well, I thought Edmund was a creep anyway. And, of course, the entire film hangs on the kids. The film has amazing special effects and all that, but if those kids came off as cloying and irritating, as I find the Harry Potter kids are (love the books, bored by the films), then Narnia would have been a total disaster. Which it most definitely isn’t.

Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, Movies, Movie Reviews