I think the first thing people want to know about The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is how it compares to other fantasy blockbusters like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. First, I think it stands on its own as an enjoyable, spectacular movie. It is not as heavy or dark as Rings, and it is more of a classic tale than any of the Potter films. However, it definitely follows in the footsteps of those other two in using CGI to full effect in bringing a magical world, with all its spells and creatures, to vivid life. People who wonder what took them so long to bring C.S. Lewis’s beloved book to the big screen will realize that up until now, there wasn’t really the technology to make cyclops and centaurs, fauns and gryphons appear this real. My favourite moment of the climactic battle in the movie was when a single phoenix flew over the battlefield and lit itself on fire in midair to swoop down and create a barrier of flame in front of the approaching army. It really unlocked some of the imagery that was stored in my brain from my days playing Dungeons and Dragons (How geek am I!).
Besides all the large scale fantasy fun, at the heart there is a story of four kids who stumble upon this magical world of Narnia and find themselves living out a destiny to help win the war against the evil White Witch by coming to terms with themselves and each other. The young actors do a pretty good job with relatively straightforward parts. The youngest, most curious sister Lucy is very cute and as she approached the central tragic moment of the story, I was welling up inside with anticipation even before she shed a tear on screen. Despite its rather obvious lessons for a young audience, it is an exciting epic, and the visuals alone are worth the viewing. (4 out of 5)