Chronicles of Narnia Will Restore Your Faith… in Disney
The first book in the Narnia series, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, has made a stunning transition to the silver screen. The child heroes were each fully-realized characters, and the respective avatars of Good and Evil — Liam Neeson and Tilda Swinton — were impressively so. The casting alone would have made this a worthy film, but while C.S. Lewis himself was opposed to a real life telling of his story, fearing for the believability of his non-human characters, he needn’t have worried.
The near-perfect realization of the mundane and mystical denizens of Narnia is easily the greatest achievement of this film, and is surely a new milestone in visual effects history. That this film version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe owes its existence to the modern Lord of the Rings series is undeniable, for it relies not only on the same effects house, but was surely greenlit based on the success of it’s darker, more mature predecessor. It is also undeniable that Weta FX outdid their previous work, if only by showing their exceptional virtual creations in well-lit, non-combat settings for a change. You’ll really believe a beaver can weep, a centaur can be irked, and a lion can be compassionate.
Some may fear a hidden agenda is buried within the Chronicles, and while it does seem to value Good more than Evil, this film was no more spiritual than the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Matrix franchises. Whatever C.S. Lewis’ personal beliefs, Disney has made an excellent film that will be enjoyed by young and old of any faith… or no faith at all.
Written by Jeff in December of 2005. Last edited March 2017.