It has less gore, more fantasy

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CHALLENGING ENOUGH FOR ADULTS AS WELL: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
CHALLENGING ENOUGH FOR ADULTS AS WELL: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The Chronicles of Narnia
Genre: Adventure/ Fantasy
Director: Andrew Adamson
Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson (voice of Aslan)
Storyline: Four children wander through a closet to Narnia and find they are part of a prophecy that will free the land
Bottomline: An effective fantasy, though a tad longYou get the feeling it's all been seen before. And not just for people who are onto author C.S. Lewis' Christian allegory. "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by Andrew Adamson has the earnest, faithfulness of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."But this version is less gore and more fantasy. A children's movie that's challenging enough for adults, the director of "Shrek" and "Shrek 2" gives the pop culture references a miss. There are knights though, and kings and queens.The seven-book series that was bound to spur a movie franchise someday after the success of `Harry Potter,' has been bedtime reading to children from another generation. The Walt Disney picture is a good way to get re-acquainted with the stories. The story is set during World War II England, and begins in nondescript Finchely, where the Pevensie children have to be evacuated to a safer place. That place is the wondrous mansion of an old professor. It is the youngest, wide-eyed Lucy (Georgie Henley), who discovers the wardrobe during a game of hide-and-seek. Lucy becomes the key ingredient in a tale of faith, god and the ultimate sacrifice. She leads her three siblings to wintry Narnia, where it's been white with no Christmas for 100 years and Santa Claus travels in mufti. There is a prophecy that `two sons of Adam' and `two daughters of Eve' will free Narnia from its rule by the wicked White Witch (Tilda Swinton). Aslan, the lion, is the head of the good army and represents Jesus Christ.It's only when Aslan, in the dependable voice of Liam Neeson, appears that the movie takes off. The inevitable battle scene looks like an uprising in the fur closet with all sorts of animals leaping at each other in a flash of spots, snouts and tails. But it captures the spirit of the battle, the valour of a bravely fought swordfight and the glory of a cleverly executed war strategy. It's tough to decide whether the scene with Aslan at the Stone Table is brilliant or a flagrant and lazy rip-off of all the movies ever made about the Crucifixion. It is at this point that Adamson makes it obvious about the source of the story's inspiration. The children do a run-of-the-mill job in the acting department, except for little Georgie as Lucy, who is undeniably cute. SUSAN MUTHALALY



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