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

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This article is about the film. For the book, see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Promotional poster for Narnia.
Directed by Andrew Adamson
Produced by Andrew Adamson
Perry Moore
Written by Novel: C.S. Lewis
Ann Peacock
Andrew Adamson
Christopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
Starring Georgie Henley
Skandar Keynes
William Moseley
Anna Popplewell
Tilda Swinton
James McAvoy
Liam Neeson (voice)
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Donald McAlpine
Editing by Sim Evan-Jones
Jim May
Distributed by Walt Disney Company
Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s) December 8, 2005 (UK)
December 9, 2005 (North America, and Europe)
Running time 135 min.
Language English
Budget US$180 million
Followed by The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
IMDb profile

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 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. The film is the first of what will be a series of films based on the books. It won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Make Up and various other awards.

The film was released the weekend December 9, 2005 in major markets in both Europe and North America. It was released throughout the rest of the world soon after, with the final major release occurring on December 26, 2005 in Australia.

Tagline: The beloved masterpiece comes to life December 9.


[edit] Plot

See also the plot of the book and the differences listed in the next section.

The story begins in 1940 during a German bombing raid of London using He-111 bombers, The Blitz. The Pevensie family flee their home for shelter in their back-yard bomb shelter. Just before they reach the shelter, Edmund's thoughts rush to his father, and he runs back inside to save a photo of his father (who is away fighting in the war), the only current thing of his father that he has. As he retrieves the photo, Peter angrily lectures him for being selfish and putting them both in danger, but Mrs. Pevensie cuts the lecture short. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are then evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke. Mrs. Macready, a housekeeper of Kirke, gives the children a few rules regarding their behavior in the house. One day while they are playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters it. Behind the clothes is a snowy wood in 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 takes her to a place where she can find her way back to the wardrobe.

When she returns, little time has passed in the normal world during her stay. She thinks that the others have been worried where she was all the time, but instead they complain that when playing hide and seek, one should not immediately reveal where one is. When she tells them what happened, her siblings check out the back side of the wardrobe, but there is no portal to another world. As a result, they don't believe her and claim that it was just her imagination.

On a second occasion, Edmund follows Lucy into Narnia. Lucy visits Tumnus again, while Edmund meets the White Witch. She offers him food, and Edmund requests for Turkish delight, which she magically creates. She then offers him the prospect of becoming king, with his siblings as servants. She asks Edmund to bring his siblings to her. After the White Witch departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and he admits that he was wrong and that Narnia really exists. He also soon learns that he might have inadvertently endangered Tumnus by telling the witch that Tumnus met Lucy. However, he does not tell Lucy that he did this.

On return through the wardrobe, to Lucy's dismay, Edmund does not confirm Narnia's existence to Peter and Susan. Instead he lies and says that he was just playing along. Lucy, feeling Edmund has betrayed her, breaks down and runs out of the room. Peter and Susan then talk with Professor Kirke while Lucy is escorted downstairs for some hot chocolate.

On a third occasion, the four siblings hide from Mrs. Macready after breaking a window. This time, all four step into Narnia. Peter and Susan apologize for their earlier disbelief. Peter then threatens Edmund unless he apologizes to Lucy. Edmund reluctantly does so.

They soon meet talking beavers who tell them about someone called 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.

Although the others have been informed of the evilness of the White Witch, Edmund does not believe the White Witch is evil. Instead, he sneaks off and visits her alone. When he arrives at her castle, the witch is angry that he did not bring his siblings with him. She wants to kill him, but is deterred when Edmund fearfully discloses that Aslan has returned to Narnia. Regardless, Edmund is chained in the dungeon and meets Tumnus in an adjacent cell. Tumnus is soon turned to stone by the witch. The witch then sends a pack of wolves to hunt down the other children and the beavers, who barely escape with the aid of a fox.

Image:White witch in battle for naria.jpg
The White Witch in battle wielding her sword and wand. Her collar is made from Aslan's fur, taken during his sacrifice.

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.

Soon afterward, the wolves catch up with the five once more. They manage to escape by crossing a thawing frozen river (as the Winter is ending). While Edmund is held captive, the White Witch's troops find the fox and bring him before the tyrant. She prepares to kill him, but Edmund, like earlier in the story, puts someone else besides himself, and reveals more secrets in an attempt to save the fox's life, in guilt of being unable to save Tumnus. But the Witch turns the fox into stone anyway, and Edmund realizes there may be nothing that could save him now.

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. Peter explains to Aslan that they are not heroes. 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. When Peter intervenes, the head wolf, Maugrim, attacks him, and Peter kills him with his sword. Some of Aslan's troops follow the surviving wolf back to the witch's camp and Edmund is rescued.

Aslan has a private talk with Edmund. When he is done, Aslan tells the other children to forgive and forget Edmund's previous actions. The children reconcile. Peter, considering his promise to their mother that he would take care of his siblings, suggest the others to leave Narnia, but they refuse. 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 (redemption). 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 palace where he frees the stone victims of the White Witch.

Image:Fallen out of the wardrobe.jpg
The four Pevensie children when they have just fallen out of the wardrobe at the end of their first set of adventures in Narnia.

Peter's army is beginning to lose its battle against the White Witch's army. Edmund is gravely injured, and Peter is losing his head-to-head battle with the White Witch. Fortunately, Aslan soon arrives and kills the White Witch. 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.

Peter's army and Aslan's reinforcements win the war, and 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 only a small amount of 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. He asks what they were doing, and Peter says, "You wouldn't believe us even if we told you." The professor replies, "Try me."

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, then tells her to "keep her eyes open". When they leave, the wardrobe door opens slightly, the inside glows, and Aslan's roar is heard...

[edit] Comparison with the source material

  • There is a short sequence illustrating the air raids of the Battle of Britain to establish the characters and why they were evacuated out of the city. The scene also establishes Edmund's character flaws which will come into play later in the movie. In the book there is only a paragraph or so that explains why the children went to the professor's estate.
  • In the book, it is mainly insinuated that Edmund allies himself with the White Witch against his siblings under the influence of the enchanted Turkish Delight she feeds him, which has a narcotic effect on him. In the film, it is more Edmund's mistreatment by his siblings and the White Witch's apparent kindness and reverence towards him that seduces him to her side.
  • Susan claims that the Pevensies are from Finchley; in the book, their home is not named. (However it is named in a later book in the series.)
  • The children have serious discussions twice in the film about leaving Narnia rather than getting involved in the land's internal problems (at one point, it is discussed that what they are getting involved in is no different than the war they were trying to get away from in the normal world).
Concept art of the German bombing of London as depicted in the film.
  • When Edmund slips away to reveal the whereabouts of his siblings to the Queen, he is quickly imprisoned and meets Mr. Tumnus in an adjoining cell. Mr. Tumnus is soon turned to stone as punishment for helping Lucy, but not before Jadis reveals to him that it was Edmund who put him in prison. In the book, Tumnus has already been turned to stone by the time Edmund arrives at the castle.
  • The Pevensies follow Edmund to the Queen's castle before they flee to Aslan at Mr. Beaver's urgings. As a result the wolves are in close pursuit of the children, and intercept them on the thawing river.
  • The Beavers and the other Pevensie siblings are assisted by a brave Fox who diverts their wolf pursuers before leaving to rally Aslan's forces. He is captured and turned to stone, but is shown resurrected at the coronation.
  • A wholly new scene featuring a waterfall and the threat of Queen Jadis's wolves is added, in which Peter must save his sisters, the Beavers, and himself from the melting river and the vicious Secret Police.
  • One of the centaurs is named Oreius for the film and placed in a position of authority over the army. He displays quite a loyalty for Peter, and dies for him via being turned to stone although he was later shown restored at the coronation. The White Witch's army also has a named general, a minotaur called Otmin.
  • The book mentions many dryads and naiads, but in the film these are almost entirely omitted, with the exception of the dryad sent by the Pevensie girls to inform Peter of Aslan's death.
  • The battle is depicted in detail with additions such as an aerial bombardment of rocks dropped by flying animals (presumably griffins and eagles) on the Queen's forces, a Phoenix laying down a barrier of fire to further impede them and a guarded withdrawal to the rocks -- as well as an extended battle between Peter and Jadis. In the book, the greater focus is spent on Aslan and the girls as they journey to the White Witch's castle to free her stone prisoners. There is also no mention of Jadis being a skilled warrior and swordswoman in the book, but it could be assumed from her amazonian nature (particularly displayed in The Magician's Nephew), and the fact that she has engaged in war before.
  • Susan joins the battle and kills the Queen's dwarf, who was about to finish off the wounded Edmund. It is the second and last time she uses her bow in the movie.
  • When Edmund is gravely hurt, Lucy uses her bottle of fireflower juice right away in the battlefield, not later as in the book. In the book, she is prompted by Aslan about it and the remaining casualties before getting up to tend to them.
Image:Chronicles of narnia.jpg
Peter, Lucy, Susan, and Edmund—as their older, royal selves—crawling, unknowingly, back out of the wardrobe.
  • During the hunt for the White Stag (and previously while training with Peter), Edmund is shown riding a talking horse, which is never done in peace time according to The Horse and His Boy, as mounting a Talking Animal is considered a great insult to the beast in question. (It is noteworthy that Edmund shows an obvious rapport with his mount and expresses concern for the stallion’s wellbeing, so this might be indicative of an exception to the rule.) Likewise, Peter's steed for the battle with the White Witch is a unicorn; according to The Last Battle unicorns very rarely accept riders, and then only in times of utmost need.
  • The depiction of the siblings' later lives as royalty in Narnia is limited to their hunt for the White Stag, which leads to their return to the normal world through the wardrobe after they encounter the lamppost. They immediately meet the Professor upon their return. They do not speak with any special sort of propriety or eloquence as adults, another difference from the books.
  • The books describe most Narnian talking animals as significantly larger than their non-talking counterparts, which is not depicted in the film.
  • A new scene is added after the credits. Lucy wants to go back into the wardrobe, but finds that it is an ordinary wardrobe. The professor, who had been sitting on a chair in the corner, says "It wouldn't let you return either." After they leave the room, the wardrobe door opens and a lion roars.
  • In the movie, Aslan is depicted as subservient to magic. In the book his unique awareness of the "deeper magic" allows him to triumph.

[edit] Featured cast

Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter (left to right) find more than unseasonal snow
Actor Role(s)
Georgie Henley Lucy Pevensie
Skandar Keynes Edmund Pevensie
William Moseley Peter Pevensie
Anna Popplewell Susan Pevensie
Tilda Swinton Queen Jadis the White Witch
James McAvoy Mr. Tumnus
Liam Neeson voice of Aslan
Ray Winstone voice of Mr. Beaver
Jim Broadbent Professor Digory Kirke
Philip Steuer voice of Philip the Horse
Patrick Kake Oreius
Kiran Shah Ginarrbrik
Michael Madsen voice of Maugrim
Rupert Everett voice of The Fox
Dawn French voice of Mrs. Beaver
James Cosmo Father Christmas
Elizabeth Hawthorne Mrs. Macready
Judy McIntosh Mrs. Pevensie
Shane Rangi General Otmin
Noah Huntley Peter Pevensie (adult)
Sophie Winkleman Susan Pevensie (adult)
Mark Wells Edmund Pevensie (adult)
Rachael Henley Lucy Pevensie (adult)

[edit] Response

On December 7, 2005 the film premiered in London, going on general release the following day. Many critics gave the film positive reviews, one calling it a "masterpiece of fantasy literature come to life"<ref> Sean McBride. All Movie Portal Review</ref>

[edit] Box office

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.<ref>The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) Box Office Mojo</ref>

In addition, Narnia surpassed the gross of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to become the second highest grossing film of 2005 in North America. (Source: Boxofficemojo).

The United States total was $291,710,957, making it the second highest grossing film behind Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. 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.

[edit] Awards received

[edit] Positive reviews

[edit] Negative reviews

  • 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.<ref>Newsday Review</ref>
  • 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.<ref>PopMatters revie</ref>

[edit] Production

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson and was shot in New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic and England.

Produced by
Special Effects by

[edit] Locations

Winter scenes were shot in the Czech Republic and Poland. One winter scene features characters standing on a stone arch called the Präbischtor in the Czech Republic on the border with Germany. Aslan's camp was filmed at Elephant Rock, Tokarahi, near Oamaru in New Zealand. The battle scene was filmed near Castle Hill, New Zealand. Other filming was done in Waitakere (Auckland, New Zealand). One background was reportedly shot in Montana.

[edit] In other media

Film soundtrack (2005)

[edit] Soundtrack

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 sophomore album The Open Door entitled "Good Enough".

[edit] Video game

The video game based on the motion picture was developed by Traveller's Tales and released in 2005.

[edit] Trivia

  • Georgie Henley was never shown the set before filming the scene in which Lucy first visits Narnia, nor had she seen James McAvoy in his Mr. Tumnus costume before shooting their scenes together. Thus, her reactions to seeing Narnia for the first time on camera are completely real.<ref>Georgie Henley and Andrew Adamson. (2006). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Cast Commentary] [DVD]. </ref>
  • The German planes seen at the beginning of the film were HE-111 bombers.
  • 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.<ref>Anna Popplewell and Andrew Adamson. (2006). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Cast Commentary] [DVD]. </ref>
  • When Mr. Tumnus refers to Lucy as a "Daughter of Eve," a confused Lucy responds by telling him that her mother's name is Helen. The name was chosen for being the actual first name of the mother of Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy.<ref>Georgie Henley, Anna Popplewell, and Andrew Adamson. (2006). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Cast Commentary] [DVD]. </ref>
  • 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.<ref>Alan, Perrott. "Animatronic reindeer replace living variety in Narnia film", New Zealand Herald, 26-08-2004. Retrieved on 22-11-2006. (in English)</ref>
  • Because of how much Keynes' voice changed during filming, some of his voice track had to be re-looped by his sister Soumaya.<ref>Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, and Andrew Adamson. (2006). The Chronicles of Narnia:The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe [Cast Commentary] [DVD]. </ref>
  • The use of Finchley as the home of the Pevensies was inspired by Anna Popplewell, who actually is from Finchley.<ref>Anna Poppelwell. interview.</ref>
  • When the Pevensies are at the train station, Peter looks at a soldier passing through. That soldier is played by Jaxin Hall, the runner-up actor who auditioned for the part of Peter and lost to William Moseley.[citation needed]
  • A close look at the wardrobe will show scenes from The Magician's Nephew, which is chronologically the first book in the series and tells the adventures of Digory Kirke in Narnia. Eventually he grows up to become the Professor Kirke who owns the mansion, which is why he trusts the story told by the Pevensies and is so eager to hear of their adventures.

[edit] Sequels

Prince Caspian is scheduled to be released in May 2008. The cast from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe have all signed contracts to return for this sequel, and Andrew Adamson will return as director. The script for this film is almost done, which means that filming may start as soon as early 2007.[citation needed]

[edit] DVD information

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<ref> news report</ref> and has overtaken Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to become the top selling DVD in North America for 2006.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Some of the DVD features include:

  • Commentary from director Andrew Adamson, and child stars William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley
  • Commentary from director Andrew Adamson, production designer Roger Ford, and producer Mark Johnson
  • Bloopers reel
  • Interviews with the primary crew members
  • "Making-of" the melting river scene and the fantastical creatures
  • Featurette on C. S. Lewis
  • Map, timeline.

[edit] Extended cut

Disney is preparing a four-disc DVD release of an extended cut of the film. It is scheduled to be released December 12 2006 and will only be available commercially until January 31, 2007, after which Disney will put the DVD on moratorium. [2] It will include an extended cut of the film that runs approximately 150 minutes, including an extended version of the climactic battle scene. The set will also have all the features previously released on the two-disc special edition. The two further discs will include a segment called "The Dreamer of Narnia," a previously unreleased feature length film about C. S. Lewis, and additional production featurettes.<ref>DVD Press Release</ref>

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes


[edit] External links

et:Narnia lood: lõvi, nõid ja riidekapp es:The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fr:Le Monde de Narnia 1 : Le lion, la sorcière blanche et l'armoire magique id:The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it:Le Cronache di Narnia: Il Leone, la Strega e l'Armadio ms:The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe nl:De kronieken van Narnia: De Leeuw, de Heks en de Kleerkast ja:ナルニア国物語/第1章:ライオンと魔女 no:Legenden om Narnia – Løven, heksa og klesskapet pl:Opowieści z Narnii: Lew, Czarownica i stara szafa pt:The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ru:Хроники Нарнии: Лев, колдунья и платяной шкаф (фильм) fi:Narnian tarinat: Velho ja leijona sv:Berättelsen om Narnia: Häxan och lejonet tr:Narnia Günlükleri: Aslan, Cadı ve Dolap (film)

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

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