THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (1979)
Article 2584 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-2-2008
Posting Date: 9-9-2008
Directed by Bill Melendez
Featuring the voices of Simon Adams, Don Parker, Beth Porter
Four children find that the wardrobe in a spare room is a gate to the world of Narnia. There they help the lion Aslan do battle with the evil white witch.
Given the speculations on the Book or Revelation in yesterday’s THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH and the religious allegory of this movie, it looks like I’m on a bit of Christian kick here. Personally, I prefer my religion this way, as an allegorical fantasy that works quite well whether or not you want to work out the symbolism (though, if you do, it does add another level to the enjoyment of the story). The books that make up C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” are recognized fantasy classics, but, alas, outside of having had this book read to me in grade school, I must admit that I haven’t read the series (though a recent purchase of the series should amend that with time). Still, from all reports, this is faithful adaptation of the first novel, and it seems quite respectful; I’m really glad the film-makers resisted the impulse to add cute, treacly songs to the mix. The animation isn’t flashy, but it does manage effective stylistic touches on occasion. The voice acting is uneven (and it appears that different voices were used for the UK release of the movie), but my only real complaint is that the witch does way too much yelling. Still, it’s the story here that matters, and the story is quite enjoyable. The movie is particularly effective in the scenes where the faun makes his attempt to turn the young girl he has found over to the witch, and the scenes that serve as the allegorical equivalent of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ; you’ll know when you reach these scenes.