The Chronicles of Narnia

fantasy elements


  1. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
  2. Prince Caspian (2008)
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

2005 / TV

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

The film of the well-known book. The four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, evacuated to the country during the war, stumble on the magical world of Narnia through the back of an old wardrobe in the spare room. There they discover that they are the four humans prophesied to help Aslan bring the land out of its hundred-year winter under the rule of the evil witch Jadis. But Edmund betrays them all.

[No Father Christmas for you, naughty boy!]

Great special effects, especially during the final battle. The talking animals, particularly Aslan, are excellent (although I felt the Beavers were rather too small). The majority of the plot survives, with a few extra scenes and details (for example, the air raid before they are evacuated, the dryad bringing news of Aslan's death, the way the children keep sniping at one another and saying they should go home, the firebirds in the final battle). But I felt that the discovery of Edmund's original lie (they just assume he was lying, rather than him explicitly letting slip he had been there before), just why he drew on the face of the stone lion (the Beavers had already told the children that Aslan was a lion), and the importance of his final heroism (breaking the Witch's stone-turning-wand being the turning point in the battle) were underplayed. And I felt sorry for the Beavers not getting their Christmas presents! But despite these quibbles, a very fair attempt at converting the book to the screen.

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 26 December 2008

2008 / TV

Prince Caspian
[we five kings, and queens, of Narnia are]

[Trumpkin and Nikabrik] Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are called back to Narnia, 1000 years after they originally left, to save it from the wicked usurper Miraz, and to put the rightful king, Caspian, on the throne (well, rightful in the sense that he's the heir of the previous king; the whole royal family is descended from the original Telmarine invaders of Narnia, who have tried to exterminate the native Narnians).

The animatronic talking beasts are great -- [battling Miraz]particularly Trufflehunter the badger and the mice, led by Reepicheep (marvellously voiced by Eddie Izzard). Lots of great battle scenes (seemingly more influenced by the Lord of the Rings movies than the Narnian books), and Susan and Lucy are more active, too. The kids are still sniping at each other, and the long gazes between Susan and Caspian lead to some amusing eye-rolling and snark from the others. The religious aspects seem more heavy handed than in the books (but that's probably due to the 40 years that have passed since my reading them), and I wanted to growl at Aslan: so, why wait for your big entrance to save the day, why not come earlier and save all those people who died in the attack on the castle, then?

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 24 December 2010

2010 / TV

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
[Eustace, Edmund, Lucy, Caspian]

The third film in the Chronicles of Narnia takes up about a year after the end of Prince Caspian. Lucy and Edmund are staying with their insufferable cousin Eustace, when all three are all sucked into a painting of a Narnian ship. They find themselves aboard the Dawn Treader, with King Caspian, voyaging off to look for seven lost Lords. Lucy and Edmund are thrilled; Eustace is appalled.

The underlying premiss is the same: looking for the lost Lords. But then a silly quest is tacked on: looking for their swords, to combat a nasty green fog that keeps abducting people. I suppose the quest is there to add a bit more tension. Also, there's an extra character: a little girl who has stowed away to look for her mother, who was one of the fog's abductees. I have no idea why she's there: she doesn't contribute to the plot at all. (Someone has suggested: she's there simply to let the film pass the Bechdel test!) Anyhow, all this extra nonsense rather dilutes the main point: Eustace's dragon-mediated redemption. He barely spends long enough as the dragon to explain his change in personality.

So, a bit irritating, really.

Rating: 4

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 7 April 2013