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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Blu-ray Review

Jeez, does that title even fit? Yeah, I know, welcome to 2006, Dirk. Since my girlfriend barely tolerated The Lord of the Rings movies (she was only there to slobber over Viggo Mortensen) and I never read C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, this has been a low priority for me. I borrowed the DVD from my bassist a couple of years ago and never watched it and bought a used Blu-ray for $5 from Hollywood Video a few months back. I finally got around to it tonight while sitting home sick with a throat infection while everyone else was out drinking and partying. Yay, being sick.

Anyhoo, Naria (as I shall be calling it) is a pretty good fantasy adventure tale about four WWII British kids who are sent to a country estate to ride out the Blitz and discover a magical wardrobe which acts as a portal to the land of Narnia where there is an evil Ice Queen (Tilda Swinton) witch and a CGI lion (voiced by Liam Neeson), thus ticking off all the components of the lengthy title.

Swinton is a hoot, looking like David Bowie playing Crystal Bowersox with icicles sprouting from her head. Very chic and during the final battle, she has this lion's mane-trimmed battle outfit that's a pip; Cher wishes she had it. The Edmond character is a little a-hole, pouting and basically making a mess of things in the hopes of getting candy. That Jesus Lion has to take a blade to save his whack ass and then he gets to still be king at the end doesn't seem right.

While the kids are all good actors - Anna Popplewell is a cute non-Goth version of Thora Birch - the overall story suffers because I'm not quite sure what's driving them and it doesn't really feel like they earn their victory. The Big Battle at the end is clearly going for a LOTR Lite feel and is notable for being waged in bright sunlight and primary colors instead of moody, FX-concealing murky grays. It's interesting to see James McEvoy as Goat Boy before his run of films including Last King of Scotland, Atonement, and Wanted.

The sequel, Prince Caspian, was a box office disappointment and I heard complaints of too much battle stuff, but I haven't seen it yet. The next chapter, The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, is slated to hit theaters in December. At the rate I'm going, look for the review of that one on the new Quantum IMAX® Home™ format sometime in 2016. Mark your calendars.

Score: 7/10.

If you're a fan of the film, buy the Blu-ray. It's gorgeous in its transfer quality and comes with a ton of extras including some interview footage with Swinton where she actually looks like a woman and is kinda hot.

Still, if you're honest, the most enduring cultural result of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is this:


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