Parents' Guide to

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Timeless classic faithfully rendered.

Movie PG 2005 143 minutes
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Movie Poster: Aslan the lion looms large over the other characters and the movie's title

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Long and lush and directed by Shrek's Andrew Adamson, this film makes a case for love among siblings by granting them a common enemy. The scariest scene in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes at the start: a night sky is filled with smoke and warplanes. As the Germans bomb London during WWII, the Pevensie children scramble to the backyard bomb shelter. designates moral positions in part by associating certain animals and mythical creatures with them. These embodiments take a cue from the Lord of the Rings franchise, assembled according to beauty and horridness: sleek and elegant animals like cheetahs and horses and centaurs form Aslan's crew; ogres, dwarves, and minotaurs constitute Jadis' fearsome assembly. None of the Christian elements are obvious and a viewer could watch the movie without realizing any of this -- as with the book.

The final battle returns the children to the film's opening: they witness (and now enact) violent destruction of bodies and material. The fight images are rendered in grand terms, as the two armies gather on hilltops and leaders raise their arms to prompt forward motion. This motion initially is like thunder -- a rush of rumbling hooves and wheels. At the moment of first impact, when a cheetah and a tiger leap on one another, the sound goes out for an instant. It's awful, maybe thrilling, but only for a moment. It recalls the awesome power of war, to pretend glory and abstract honor. And that is scary.

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