The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 Academy Award winning film based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published novel in C.S. Lewis' children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. It was produced by Walden Media and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Four British children are evacuated during the Blitz to the countryside, and find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia, where they ally with the Lion Aslan against the forces of the White Witch.
New Zealand born Andrew Adamson made his live-action directorial debut with the film. It was released on December 9, 2005 in both Europe and North America to positive reviews and was highly successful at the box office. It won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Make Up and various other awards, and is the first of what will be a series of films based on the books. An Extended Edition was released on December 12, 2006 and was only made available on DVD until January 31, 2007. It was the best selling DVD in North America in 2006.
During the Blitz, the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke. One day while they are playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a magical world called Narnia. She spends several hours in the home of the faun Tumnus. Tumnus tells her that, due to a curse, it has been winter in Narnia for the past 100 years, without Christmas. He seems friendly, but, as he later confesses, he planned to hand her over to the evil White Witch, in accordance with her orders that if a human is ever encountered, they must be given to her. However, Tumnus likes Lucy and regrets his plan, so he sends her out of the Wardrobe. When she returns, no time has passed in the normal world during her stay. She makes the other children check the Wardrobe, but the portal is gone. Later, Edmund follows Lucy into Narnia, and meets the White Witch, who offers him Turkish delight as well as the prospect of becoming king. She asks Edmund to bring his siblings to her. After she departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and they return to tell the others. Edmund does not confirm Narnia's existence to Peter and Susan, saying he was just playing along, causing distress in Lucy and bumping into Professor Kirke. The Professor doesn't understand why the others don't believe Lucy's story, saying, "Well if she isn't mad and isn't lying then logically, she's telling the truth."
On another day, the four siblings hide from housekeeper Mrs. Macready in the wardrobe after breaking a window they all step into Narnia. Peter and Susan apologize for their earlier disbelief and Peter threatens Edmund unless he apologizes to Lucy. They discover Tumnus has been taken by the police and meet talking beavers who tell them about Aslan. According to them, Aslan is on the move to take the control of Narnia from the White Witch. The four siblings must help Aslan and his followers, as has been prophesied. Edmund sneaks off and visits the Witch alone. When he arrives at her castle, she is angry that he did not bring his siblings with him. Edmund is chained in the dungeon and meets Tumnus in an adjacent cell, who is soon turned to stone. She sends a pack of wolves to hunt down the other children and the beavers, who barely escape with the aid of a fox.
While Peter, Lucy, Susan, and the beavers are travelling to the Stone Table, they see what they believe to be the White Witch in her sleigh chasing after them, so they run. But it is really Father Christmas. He gives Lucy a bottle of reviving liquid and a dagger; Susan a bow, a quiver of arrows and a horn; and Peter a sword and shield. Father Christmas informs them that Winter is soon ending. Unfortunately, this means the rivers are thawing, but with their weapons the five escape by crossing a frozen river below a frozen waterfall. Arriving at Aslan's army encampment, they encounter Aslan, who is revealed to be a huge and noble lion. Aslan promises to help Edmund in any way he can. They are also reluctant to participate in a war after fleeing from London. However, they have to save Edmund and Tumnus. Peter joins Aslan's army. A little later, two wolves ambushed Lucy and Susan while they were playing by the river. When Peter intervenes, the head wolf, Maugrim, attacks him, and Peter kills him with his sword. Some of Aslan's troops follow the other wolf, Varden, back to the witch's camp and rescue Edmund.
Aslan has a private talk with Edmund. When he is done, Aslan tells the other children to forgive and forget Edmund's previous actions and they reconcile. The White Witch then arrives and claims that Edmund is her property, based on an ancient rule of Narnia that traitors belong to their master. Aslan negotiates with the White Witch, who agrees to leave Edmund alone. In return, Aslan sacrifices himself and surrenders to the witch. As Susan and Lucy watch in hiding, Aslan is humiliated and killed. However, he is resurrected because there exists a deeper magic than what the White Witch knew of: if a willing victim - who had committed no crime or treachery is killed in a traitor's stead, the Stone Table will crack and death itself would be reversed. Aslan takes Susan and Lucy to the Witch's castle where he frees the stone victims of the White Witch, forming an army.
Peter's army is beginning to lose its battle against the White Witch's army, and Edmund is gravely injured though he has managed to destroy her staff which turns Narnians into stone. She is about to kill Peter when Aslan soon arrives with reinforcements and kills her. Lucy revives Edmund and many others with the magical liquid given to her by Father Christmas, while Aslan frees more victims of the White Witch's stone-turning spell. The four siblings become kings and queens of Narnia. Many years later, when they are adults, they are hunting the White Stag that can grant wishes. By accident, they return through the wardrobe to the normal world, where no time has passed compared to the years that have passed in Narnia. The Professor finds them and returns the ball that broke his window earlier that day. During the credits, Lucy tries to get back into Narnia through the wardrobe, but the professor tells her that she probably won't be able to go back for a long time. When they leave, the wardrobe door opens slightly and Aslan's roar is heard.
* William Moseley as Peter Pevensie, the eldest of the four Pevensie children.
* Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie, the second eldest child of the four Pevensie children.
* Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie, the third of the four Pevensie children.
* Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie, the youngest of the four Pevensie children.
* Tilda Swinton as Queen Jadis the White Witch, the evil witch who holds Narnia under an eternal winter.
* James McAvoy as Mr. Tumnus, a faun who at first is on the White Witch's side, then, seeing his evil ways, turns to Aslan's forces.
* Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan, the great lion who was responsible for creating Narnia and who sacrifices himself for Edmund's sake.
* Ray Winstone as the voice of Mr. Beaver, a beaver who helps lead the children to Aslan. He is also the husband of Mrs. Beaver.
* Dawn French as the voice of Mrs. Beaver, a beaver who helps lead the children to Aslan. She is also the wife of Mr. Beaver.
* Jim Broadbent as Professor Digory Kirke, an old professor who went to Narnia as a child although he has been unable for years to get through the Wardrobe. He let the children stay at his manor in the country during the war.
* James Cosmo as Father Christmas, otherwise known as Santa Claus. He gives the Peter, Susan, and Lucy their Christmas gifts.
* Patrick Kake as Oreius, a centaur who is second-in-command of Aslan's army.
* Kiran Shah as Ginarrbrik, the White Witch's servant dwarf.
* Elizabeth Hawthorne as Mrs. Macready, Kirke's strict housekeeper.
* Judy McIntosh as Mrs. Pevensie, the mother of the four Pevensie children.
* Shane Rangi as General Otmin, a minotaur who is second-in-command of the White Witch's army.
* Michael Madsen as the voice of Maugrim, a wolf who is captain of the White Witch's secret police.
* Rupert Everett as the voice of the Fox, a fox who helps the children along their way to Aslan.
* Noah Huntley as the adult Peter Pevensie, Peter who has grown up as a king in Narnia.
* Sophie Winkleman as the adult Susan Pevensie, Susan who has grown up as a queen in Narnia.
* Mark Wells as the adult Edmund Pevensie, Edmund who has grown up as a king in Narnia.
* Rachael Henley as the adult Lucy Pevensie, Lucy who has grown up as a queen in Narnia.
* Philip Steuer as voice of Philip the Horse, Edmund's talking horse.
The radio-announcer that Peter listens to on the rainy day near the beginning of the film is played by Douglas Gresham, co-producer of the movie and C.S. Lewis's stepson. Keynes' voice broke during filming, so some of his voice track had to be re-looped by his sister Soumaya. Mr. Pevensie is only glimpsed in a photo which Edmund tries to retrieve during the bombing, which is of Sim-Evan Jones' father.
With the exception of Tilda Swinton, who was the first choice to play the White Witch, casting was a long process. Beginning in 2002, Adamson went through 2500 audition tapes, met 1800 children and workshopped 400 before coming down to the final four actors for the Pevensies. Moseley and Popplewell came from the very start of casting, whilst Henley and Keynes were cast relatively late. Aslan's voice was a contention point. Brian Cox was originally cast in the role on December 9, 2004, but Adamson changed his mind. Liam Neeson sought out the role and was announced as the voice on July 17, 2005.
During the early 1990s, producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy were planning a film versions They could not find a space in Britain to shoot the film during 1996, and their plans to set the film in modern times made Douglas Gresham oppose the film, in addition to his feeling that technology had yet to catch up.
Perry Moore began negotiations with the C.S. Lewis Estate in 2000. On December 7, 2001, Walden Media announced that they had acquired the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia. Following his Academy Award win for Shrek, director Andrew Adamson began adapting the source material with a 20 page treatment based on his memories of the book. As such the film begins with the Luftwaffe bombing and concludes with an enormous battle, although they do not take up as much time in the novel.
In the novel, the battle is never seen until Aslan, Susan, Lucy and their reinforcements arrive. This was changed in the movie because Adamson said he could vividly remember a huge battle. an example of how Lewis left a lot to the readers' imagination. Other small changes include the reason all four children come to Narnia, in that an accident breaks a window and forces them to hide. Tumnus also never meets Edmund until the end in the novel. Minor details were added to the Pevensies, such their mother's name, Helen, being the actual first name of Georgie Henley's mother. Finchley as the home of the Pevensies was inspired by Anna Popplewell, who actually is from Finchley. Adamson also changed the circumstances in which Lucy first comes into Narnia. He felt it was more natural that she first see the wardrobe while looking for a hide and seek hiding place, rather than just chance upon it exploring the house. The film also hints at Professor Kirke's role in The Magician's Nephew, such as the engravings on the wardrobe when it is a simple one in the novel. When Lewis wrote the novel, such a backstory did not exist.
Principal photography began on June 28, 2004, shooting in primarily chronological order. Adamson did this in order to naturally create a sense of mature development from his young actors, which mirrored their real life development. Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes were never shown the set before filming scenes of their characters entering Narnia, nor had Henley seen James McAvoy in his Mr. Tumnus costume before shooting their scenes together. Thus, their reactions on camera are completely real.
The first scene shot was at the disused Hobsonville Air Base for the railway scene. Afterwards, they shot the Blitz scene, which Adamson called their first formal day of shooting.
The filmmakers asked for permission to bring in twelve reindeer to New Zealand to pull the Ice Queen's sled. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry denied, citing the potentially deadly Q fever from which the North American reindeer population suffers as the reason. However, ten wolves were allowed in for filming in Auckland.
The cast and crew spent their time in New Zealand in Auckland before moving in November to the South Island.
They filmed in Poland and Prague after the Christmas break, before wrapping in February.
The film was released December 8, 2005 in the United Kingdom and December 9, 2005 in North America and the rest of Europe. The film was released in 3,616 theaters its opening day (December 9, 2005). It quickly became the 24th highest grossing movie worldwide of alltime, making several passes along the way in other categories.
The movie's original motion picture soundtrack was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (composer of 2005's Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack, and the score for the Shrek films and the Metal Gear Solid games). The soundtrack, released on December 13, 2005, was nominated for two Golden Globes.
Amy Lee of Evanescence was asked to submit a song to be used as the theme song for the movie, but it was rejected as it was dubbed "too dark". Lee clipped the introduction to the un-named "Narnia" song into the last track on Evanescence's second album The Open Door entitled "Good Enough".
The video game based on the motion picture was developed by Traveller's Tales and released in 2005.
On December 7, 2005 the film premiered in London, going on general release the following day. Critics gave the film generally positive reviews, one calling it a "masterpiece of fantasy literature come to life".
Narnia opened with $23 million USD in 3,616 theatres on its opening day (December 9, 2005), averaging $6,363 per location. The film took in a total of $65,556,312 on its opening weekend (December 9–11, 2005), the 24th best opening weekend of all time, as well as the second biggest December opening, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
The United States total was $291,710,957, making it the second highest grossing film of 2005 behind Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and surpassing the gross of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Source: Boxofficemojo). The worldwide total was $744,783,957 as of July 30, 2006. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the highest-grossing live action film and the third highest-grossing film overall in Disney company history before being passed in 2006 by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
* The film is currently 76% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and 139 of the listed 183 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7/10. User reviews are at 82%.
* Google's web crawler has logged 86 reviews throughout the Internet (as of December 29, 2005) with a projected average rating of 3.7/5 stars.
* Roger Ebert gave the film 3/4 stars.
* Ebert and Roeper gave the movie "Two Thumbs Up".
* Duane Dudak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gave the movie 3/4 stars.
* Stuart Klawans of The Nation said, "All ticket buyers will get their money's worth."
* Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News gave it 4/4 stars and said: "A generation-spanning journey that feels both comfortingly familiar and excitingly original."
* Metacritic gives the movie a 7.6, based on 38 reviews.
* Kit Bowen (Hollywood.com) gives this film 3/4 stars.
* The film has a 7.3 rating in IMDb with over 50,000 votes.
* John Anderson from Newsday stated that: "…there's a deliberateness, a fastidiousness and a lack of daring and vision that marks the entire operation." He rated the movie with two and a half stars.
* Cynthia Fuchs from PopMatters wrote: "…the children's indoctrination seems less charming. They are warriors, drawn into killing and a general faith in militarism, into the sense that wars might solve problems, or at the least, beat them into submission." She gave the movie two and a half stars.
The DVD for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was released on April 4, 2006. It is available in a standard one-disc set (with separate fullscreen and widescreen editions), and a deluxe widescreen two-disc boxed set with additional artwork and other materials from Disney and Walden Media. The DVD sold four million copies on its first day of release and overtook Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to become the top selling DVD in North America for 2006.
Disney made a four-disc DVD release of an extended cut of the film. It was released on December 12, 2006 and was available commercially until January 31, 2007, after which Disney put the DVD on moratorium. The extended cut of the film runs approximately 150 minutes, including an extended version of the climactic battle scene. The set also has all the features previously released on the two-disc special edition. The two further discs include a segment called "The Dreamer of Narnia," a previously unreleased feature length film about C. S. Lewis, and additional production featurettes. Most of the extended footage, besides the extended battle sequence, are just longer shots of Narnia and footage of the Pevensies walking in Narnia.
Prince Caspian is scheduled to be released on May 16, 2008. William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley and Liam Neeson will return, and Andrew Adamson will return as director. The script for the film was done before the release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and filming has begun in New Zealand, later moving to the Czech Republic and Slovenia. British visual effects companies are working on the film.