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The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
By J. Byron Dean

Release Date: December 9, 2005
MPAA RATING: PG - for battle sequences and frightening moments
Genre: Fantasy
Studio: Disney

The much anticipated live-action version of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a breath-taking and true-to-the-book version of the children's classic. However, due to realistic battle scenes and some scary moments, the Parents Television Council suggests parental discretion for children age 12 and younger.

Set in England during World War II, the Pevensie family, struggles to keep alive amidst the bombings. With her husband off fighting the war, Mrs. Pevensie decides that her children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) should go to live in the country with a family friend, Professor Kirke (played by Jim Broadbent, Moulin Rouge! and Rough Magic) where they will be much safer than in the city. Reluctantly, the children are packed up and put on a train that will take them to a strange new home with people they have never met.

The large and antiquated estate of the Professor at first intimidates the children but soon, as they fall into somewhat of a routine, boredom sets in. As children will be children, they begin to play an inside game of hide-and-seek. It is during this game that Lucy (Georgie Henley, outstanding in her very first acting role), the youngest, stumbles across a large wardrobe in an otherwise empty room. As Lucy climbs into the coat-crowded closet and moves to the back, she finds herself outside in a snow covered forest. The beauty of the silent woods, shining brightly as the moon reflects off the snow, stuns Lucy but her curiosity gets the best of her and she sets off to explore her new surroundings. As she goes deeper into the woods, she spots Mr. Tumnus (delightfully played by James McAvoy, Wimbledon), a faun (a mythical creature -- half man and half goat). Mr. Tumnus invites Lucy to his home for tea and cakes. The design of his home, in a tree trunk, is whimsically decorated with everything from family portraits to books and a warm and inviting fire blazing in the hearth.

On Lucy's return to the Professor's home, she finds that her brothers and sister do not believe her story of the wardrobe and Mr. Tumnus ... much to her disappointment. But Edmund (Skandar Keynes, wonderful in his second acting role), the youngest of the brothers, comes back with tales of meeting the White Witch, after inspecting the wardrobe for himself. Then, the older children, Peter (William Moseley, strong and convincing in his first leading role) and Susan (Anna Popplewell, who balances nicely between being the stern older sister and the sweet girl she really is), reconsider and set off to see this wonderland for themselves.

The adventures the children encounter once in the fantasy land of Narnia are as exciting as they are realistic. Wonderful CGI animation along with glorious costumes, set designs and a hauntingly beautiful score, bring the illusion of the magical and mythical world of Narnia to full life, taking the audience on a captivating, exciting, touching and breath-taking adventure. We meet the gentle yet brave and strong lion, Aslan (perfectly voiced by Liam Neeson), the true leader of Narnia; The White Witch (wickedly done by Tilda Swinton), in all her shimmering iciness; Mr. Tumnus, the comical faun with a heart as big as Narnia itself; Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (delightfully voiced by Ray Winstone and Dawn French) and all manner of fantasy beings in centaurs, fairies, Cyclops, dwarfs, satyrs, and talking wolves.

A story that will touch the hearts of both young and old, The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will excite, fascinate, and stimulate your senses as you are taken along a journey of good vs. evil, might vs. right and love reigning supreme! The over-all and continuously uplifting message of this fine film, far outweighs any negative content. The Parents Television Council is pleased to present it with our Seal of Approval.

May we all find our own Narnia!

Questionable content:
Realistic, graphic and violent King Arthur-like battle scenes with axes, swords, and hatches. Beheadings, stabbing and wounding is rampant during the fight scenes. Edmund is stabbed by the White Witch and he lays, dying in the grass as he clutches his wound and struggles to breathe. There is some blood visible beneath his hands.

The killing of Aslan, though not shown, is more than implied as we see the White Witch hold her dagger over the body of Aslan and then bring is violently down where he would be. Aslan is shown dead and is said to be dead several times. Susan and Lucy witness Aslan's murder and go to the body after he is dead. Also, the moments before he is killed are cruel, sadistic and humiliating as his mane is clipped off and he is tied up and dragged up the steps to the stone table where he is killed.

Official site: www.narnia.com

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