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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bullied children follow a magical quest and return to their world prepared to stand up to their tormentors. The main characters are repeatedly reminded of their responsibility to complete their noble mission despite deep fear and physical danger. A cowardly adult character offers his life in exchange for that of a child, learning that he is indeed heroic.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of fantasy violence and threats: giants hurling boulders at fleeing children and threatening to eat them, a bewitched character grabbing a child, an attack by an admittedly low-tech gigantic snake.
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No profanity, but a few "shut ups" and "idiots," which may not be appropriate for younger kids.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The adult guide for the children gets drunk and has a hangover.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1990 BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis' book from the Chronicles of Narnia series does justice to the original story, but is slow moving and feels dated by the nearly 20-year-old special effects. The story of two children who escape from bullying schoolmates and set off on a noble quest presents rich and imaginative characters. Facing challenge after challenge -- some of their own making -- the children become the heroes of the story. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Silver Chair was the fourth in a BBC-produced miniseries based on C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia fantasy novels, and the story itself is compelling and fantastic. It's populated with talking owls, centaurs, rock-like UnderEarth men, and an evil serpent/queen. Kids will probably appreciate the bravery and cunning that Jill and Eustace, along with their aptly named guide Puddleglum (Tom Baker) show as they progress on their journey. And the relatively straightforward display of good vs. evil is easy for kids to follow, though adults familiar with Lewis' layered storytelling may find themselves pondering the meaning of the Lady of the Green Kirtle (Barbara Kellerman) and the Silver Chair as well.
However, at almost 180 minutes, there are scenes of the heroes trekking across barren landscapes that feel like they were shot in real-time. And although the miniseries won BAFTA awards for costume design, camera work, and lighting when it premiered in 1989/1990, the special effects seem very dated now, especially compared to 2005's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe . The set designs, however, still hold up, particularly the gloomy underworld into which the children tumble. On the whole the movie is worth seeing for kids between 7 and 11 who enjoy adventure and fantasy stories, but be prepared for the inevitable special effects comparisons.
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Our Editors Recommend
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