Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Chronicles of Narnia |
Genres: Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Special Interests, Television
Fire breathing dragons, sprightly nymphs, talking animals, evil witches, deadly sea monsters, gruesome giants, kings and queens, a group of brave children and a very special wardrobe collide in an epic battle of good versu... more »
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Reviewed on 11/22/2009...
This is an excellent DVD set. I have always enjoyed this particular version.
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Chronicles of Narnia are apparently the new big fantasy movie series, with the second film "Prince Caspian" coming out this spring.
But it isn't the first time that C.S. Lewis' classic fantasies have been adapted -- in the 1980s, the BBC made their own adaptation of the first four adventures of the Pevensies and their relatives. Some of the actors and special effects are frankly lacking, but mostly they are just solid storytelling.
"The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" introduces us to the Pevensie kids, four teenagers who are staying in the country during World War II. But during a game of hide-and-seek, Lucy (Sophie Wilcox) hides in a wardrobe -- and finds that the back opens into a snowy forest land, populated by mythic creatures. It's the land of Narnia, where the Pevensies are destined to become kings and queens -- if they can destroy the evil White Witch (Barbara Kellerman), with the return of lion messiah Aslan (Ronald Pickup).
"Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader" takes us forward a few years -- and centuries in Narnia. Warlike humans have invaded Narnia and driven the talking animals, centaurs, dryads and others into hiding. But young Prince Caspian (Jean Marc Perret) believes in them, and joins them to defeat his usurping uncle Miraz. And the Pevensies are called from their world to help.
No sooner have Edmund (Jonathan R. Scott) and Lucy finished one adventure than other begins: while arguing with obnoxious cousin Eustace (David Thwaites), they are sucked into a painting and land beside the Narnian ship Dawn Treader. It also happens to be Caspian's ship. The three kids accompany the young king through a sea of horrors, dragons, gold springs, slavers and magicians, right to the edge of the world...
The newly reformed Eustance takes center stage in "The Silver Chair." At his chaotic school, he confides to a bullied classmate, Jill Pole (Camilla Power), about Narnia -- and the two of them find themselves whisked there by Aslan. Aslan gives them a quest: Find the aged Caspian's missing son Rilian (Richard Henders), who was seduced away by a malevolent witch. Eustace and Jill reluctantly go, and soon find themselves enmeshed in a plan to conquer all of Narnia.
The BBC has been known to make adaptations of countless books, so it's not surprising that they tried to tackle the Chronicles of Narnia. The result is a mixed bag, with some bad acting and sketchy CGI, but still a satisfying fantasy series with some truly creepy, uplifting or just interesting.
Expect a very faithful adaptation -- the BBC preserved virtually every character, most of the scenes, and all the Christian allegory of Lewis' books. As a result, there are some truly chilling and magical scenes, like Eustace's transformations and the owl conference. The settings are magnificent, especially the giant "Dawn Treader" and Caer Paravel.
Unfortunately, it does have its bad points, mostly in the tedium that is "Prince Caspian." Some of the special effects are quite dated, including some early blue-screen effects that are almost convincing, but not quite. Costumes are very very Dungeons and Dragons, especially Miraz and his army -- very Ye Olde Batmanne. And Aslan is played by a large and almost realistic puppet, except he looks like he has arthritis and large quantities of Botox.
The acting is a mixed bag -- Scott and Thwaites give the best performances, especially since they both play obnoxious little pains who have to learn the error of their ways. And there are loads of entertaining supporting characters, like Big Mick (I swear that's his name), both Caspians, Jeffrey Perry, and Warwick Davis (in owl and mouse costumes). The only sour notes are Wilcox and Kellerman; one whines, one cackles and screeches like a hammy banshee.
Those anticipating the return of Aslan and the Pevensies should check out the BBC adaptations -- while they have some big flaws, they are still entertaining enough to enjoy."
Excellent adaptions of C.S. Lewis' classic books.
rnorton828 | Riverbend, IL | 06/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nearly twenty years before Andrew Adamson and Walden Media began bringing the Narnia novels to the big screen, the British Broadcasting Corporation produced made-for-television adaptations of four of C.S. Lewis' classic books. These productions have been released to the DVD market a couple of times before, but now they have been digitally remastered for this most recent reissue.
All four productions were adapted for television by writer Alan Seymour and produced by Paul Stone. The programs were originally broadcast in a serial format of episodes running about twenty-five to thirty minutes each. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Silver Chair each ran six episodes long. Prince Caspian was the shortest series at just two episodes, while The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was a four-part adventure. However, the programs have been edited together as feature-length "movies" for DVD.
Disc One: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1988) The adventure begins as LWW introduces us to the Pevensie children--Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy--who are sent to stay at the home of Professor Digory Kirke during World War II. While exploring the house, Lucy (Sophie Wilcox) discovers a wardrobe. She steps inside the wardrobe and finds herself transported into a land of mythical creatures. Here Lucy and her siblings--Peter (Richard Dempsey), Susan (Sophie Cook) and Edmund (Jonathan R. Scott--are drawn into the battle to liberate Narnia from the White Witch (Barbara Kellerman) who holds the land in a perpetual winter. The Pevensies meet Aslan (voiced by Ronald Pickup), the lion god/king of Narnia, who leads them into battle against the Witch and her evil minions.
Disc Two: Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (both 1989) These two adaptations can either be watched separately or run together as a single feature. In Prince Caspian, the Pevensies are drawn back to Narnia where they discover many centuries have passed since their previous visit. The creatures of Narnia have been driven from the land, which has been conquered by humans. They find they have been summoned by Prince Caspian (Jean-Marc Perret), the rightful ruler of Narnia. Caspian's uncle, King Miraz, seized the throne after murdering the prince's father, and now seeks to kill Caspian himself. The Pevensies join forces with the prince and the exiled creatures of Narnia to defeat Miraz.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader finds Edmund and Lucy returning to Narnia once again, this time with their priggish cousin Eustace (David Thwaites). Here, they are reunited with Caspian, now a young man and King of Narnia. The king has set sail in search of seven lords who had been driven from the land years ago by Caspian's uncle, King Miraz. The truly remarkable thing about this story is the transformation of the Pevensies' cousin. In the beginning, Eustace is spoiled, bratty, whiny and very obnoxious. By the end, he has matured greatly, thinking of others before himself.
Disc Three: The Silver Chair (1990) This is my favorite of the whole set. Eustace Scrubb moves to center stage in this story as he returns to Narnia without his cousins. He is accompanied, however, by Jill Pole (Camilla Power), a bullied classmate from school. Aslan sends Eustace and Jill on a mission to find Prince Rilian (Richard Henders), the missing son of the aging King Caspian. The two are joined in their quest by Puddleglum (Doctor Who's Tom Baker), a Marshwiggle who acts as their guide on their journey into North Narnia. Barbara Kellerman, the White Witch of LWW, returns as the Green Lady, who has lured Rilian into her plan to seize control of Narnia.
Actor Warwick Davis (Willow, the Star Wars saga, the Harry Potter films) plays Reepicheep, a talking mouse in both Prince Caspian and TVOTDT. He also portrays Glimfeather, an owl in The Silver Chair. Davis also played Nikabrik the dwarf in the recent big screen adaptation of Prince Caspian, making him the only actor to appear in both the BBC and Walden Media adaptations of the Narnia books.
Please keep in mind that these adaptations were produced during the late 1980's and the beginning of the 90's, and they reflect the BBC production values of that time. If you love the CGI effects of the big screen counterparts, you may be disappointed with these versions. The effects in these programs are more in the order of 70's and 80's Doctor Who. But what they lack in terms of effects they more than make up for in quality writing, as Alan Seymour's scripts remain faithful to C.S. Lewis' books, and the Christian themes of Lewis' stories remain intact in their TV versions.
My only real complaint about these DVD releases is the lack of any bonus features. It would have been nice to have seen some featurettes or documentaries included as well as a commentary track. Hopefully BBC Video will one day issue a special edition DVD set with some features. But I am pleased that these versions have been remastered, and I believe that fans of C.S. Lewis classic Narnia books will enjoy these made-for-TV adaptations as much as their big screen counterparts, perhaps even more so.
Chronicles of Narnia
J. Musk | Mott, ND USA | 06/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before Disney, there was BBC . . .
Perhaps viewers should take into consideration the level of technical know-how available to studios at a given period in cinematographic history before criticizing special effects. BBC did a fantastic job with what they had to work with. This was filmed in the late '80s. Remember, ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) had just wrapped up "Willow" and "The Hunt for Red October." Most people, if they even owned a computer, had an 8086 or a 286 with anywhere from a 4mhz to 16mhz (in turbo mode) and 1mb to 2mb of RAM. Anybody remember MS-DOS 5.1 and WordPerfect 5.1? How about 40mb hard drives, high density floppy disks with 1.2mb or 1.44mb capacities, and Double Space technology? ILM had not even invented yet a lot of what we take for granted now. Blue screens and costumes were the best BBC could do.
The acting wasn't the best, but then I watch something for the story, not the acting. Some of the characters were not interpreted the same way I would have based on my readings in Lewis, but that is to be expected.
The series is as faithful as possible to the books, and no doubt that is where some of the dissatisfaction comes into play. There are some parts that seem to drag. This is no fault of the actors. There are always going to be issues when taking a book and translating it directly to the screen. I am impressed they did as fine a job as they did.
I am not going to give any lengthy descriptions. Keep reading other reviews and you will get that. Call this a perspective review if you wish. I am trying to provide some context so that people can watch and enjoy the films with the eyes of 18 years ago, and not of today."