Sunday, December 21, 2008

MOVIE REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia 1 & 2

This Christmas season, thanks to ABC Family Channel's 25 Days of Christmas, my family discovered the joys of the epic Chronicles of Narnia.

We first watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on ABC Family Channel -- which lasted an unbelievably long three and a half hours, thanks to commercials nearly every five minutes -- and loved it. My wife and I, especially, enjoyed the movie.

Author C.S. Lewis claimed to have had no Christian theme in mind as he wrote The Chronicles, but there is clearly a Christian undertone to the story. Okay, maybe it's a little more blatant than that. As a group of four children stumble into a hidden world while playing hide-and-seek in a wardrobe, they find themselves in the midst of a battle of good versus evil, as they help Aslan (the Lion) defeat the White Witch. SPOILER ALERT: We see Aslan surrender his life to save a young boy, then later we witness him resurrected. The children go on to defeat the White Witch and to become kings and queens of Narnia, only to later find themselves stumbling back through the wardrobe into reality.

The first movie in what promises to be a trilogy (there were seven books, but reportedly only three movies planned) is well done, from the screenplay to the special effects, all the way to the performances delivered by the cast. So enjoyable, in fact, that we just had to see the second movie.

When Prince Caspian was released on DVD, my wife picked up a copy at RedBox, and we watched the movie together last night after putting the kids to bed.

My wife felt that Prince Caspian started a bit slowly, as the story opens with the birth of a baby in Narnia and a man fleeing his people. SPOILER ALERT: We then see the same four children from the first movie stumble back into Narnia -- this time through a subway or train terminal -- in response to a call for help from the man who had fled after the birth of the baby.

Again, the battle of good versus evil takes place, as the "Kings and Queens of Old" battle to help the fleeing man -- who turns out to be a Prince -- and the people of Narnia fight for their freedom from a tyrant ruler. Aslan makes a return to the action as an epic battle ensues. I literally found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, rooting for the Narnians.

Again, the screenplay, the effects, the acting -- everything about the story -- is incredible. Reports are that the third episode in this trilogy won't be released until May 2010. I can't imagine waiting so long. I couldn't recommend The Chronicles any more enthusiastically. In fact, I'm considering reading all of C.S. Lewis's saga.

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