Monday, December 12, 2005
We first meet the four Pevensie siblings -- Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter -- in World War II England, where their home is being bombed and they are sent to live in the rural country home of an elderly professor. While playing a game of hide-and-seek, they discover the land of Narnia, which they enter through a wardrobe in the home. They soon learn that Narnia is a charming, peaceful land inhabited by talking dwarfs, fauns, centaurs, beavers, and giants that has become a world cursed to eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Narnia is a place where it is always winter, but never Christmas.
Under the guidance of a noble, wise, and mystical ruler, the lion Aslan, the four children discover the strength to lead Narnia into a spectacular battle that will free it from Jadis' icy spell forever. Rich in Christian symbolism, we see how the lion, Aslan, represents Christ, the four children symbolize the four evangelists in the gospels, and how they are chosen by Christ to fulfill the prophecy -- to lead the battle of good vs. evil and free the inhabitants of Narnia.
I did not read the C.S. Lewis book prior to viewing the movie, so I cannot compare the two. I went to the movie knowing very little about it. However, I was instantly captivated by the beauty and the simplicity of this mystical tale. Rich in Christian symbolism, I was drawn deeply into the heart of this fable. It brings good news – a message of hope and love, Christian and family unity, strength obtained through grace and love for one another, courage and hope even in the darkest of times.
The character who really stood out in this movie was Lucy, played by Georgie Henley. Lucy is the youngest of the children and the first to discover the enchanted land of Narnia. To me, she was the most intriguing character because she seemed so genuine, so natural in her role. Watching these exceptionally talented children play out their roles, I was reminded of the children who played in The Sound of Music over half a century ago. I believe, like The Sound of Music, that this film will be a classic for many years to come.
Unlike the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which I enjoyed), Narnia is a softer, gentler version of the battle between good and evil. Although it does contain some scenes which might be frightening for young children, they are not nearly as harsh or combative as those in Lord of the Rings. Also, perhaps it is due to the gentle portrayal of the feelings of the girls in the movie, there seems to be more of an emphasis on love and compassion in this film.
The photography is extraordinarily beautiful and the special effects are quite impressive, including a majestic -- and realistic -- computer-generated Aslan.
At the end of this movie, the audience in the theatre applauded, which is the first time in a long time I have witnessed that kind of reaction. This is definitely the best movie I have seen in 2005.
I highly recommend it and give it 5 out of 5 stars. *****