Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe|
Actor: Arthur Lowe
Director: Bill Melendez
Genres: Indie & Art House, Kids & Family, Animation
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This IS the Bill Melendez / 1979 version!
W. Smith | 01/11/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In case you're confused by the conspicious lack of information provided (not only in the listing here but on the DVD packaging itself), this IS the 1979 Bill Melendez Studios (of Peanuts fame) version, which I haven't seen since it originally aired in two-parts on prime time television back in '79!
The transfer here isn't great but is watchable (its comparable in quality to the DVD of "The Last Unicorn.")
If you're looking forward to reliving 70's TV memories or just want a respectable rendition of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to tide you over until Disney's "Chronicles of Narnia" DVD hits stores, you can't lose with this release."
April Warner | Pine Grove, PA | 10/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is just a wonderful version of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe! It was a favorite of mine as a child and now it's a favorite of my 5 year old daughter. She watches it all the time and it's something we both love to watch together.
Not only is it a great story, but it is also great for stirring the imagination.
It is a rather old version so the animation is not what you would expect to see today, however, that does not take away from the enjoyment of watching this wonderful story from C. S. Lewis."
Great book, excellent author, loyal movie, not so great DVD
Noel Hadley | Long Beach, CA | 12/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Like many of you out there, I am a dedicated CS Lewis fan, and so when I chanced to see this DVD release, I couldn't hold myself back. I had seen this film throughout childhood, and so seeing it on my shelf now brings warm memories to my heart. It is a true shame that the good people that brought us this wonderful piece of delight never afforded the effort to deliver us others, such as Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair, etc.
Much like the BBC versions, which covered only the titles mentioned above, this particular version remained wholly loyal to the book, implementing the dialogue and scenes as they were. There is only a slight alteration, however, in which Lucy recounts, through memory, her journey through the Wardrobe. While I am not a pure loyalist to original works when it comes to transfers from book to movie, as I liked the changes done in the 2005 Narnia movie (just not the stuff that they left out), I find this particular change of pace to be rather annoying.
I was disappointed with this specific DVD edition. It appears as though there was no effort to clean up the original film before making the digital transfer. Dirt blotches can be seen spewed about the screen from the first opening shot until the closing. For some buyers, this sort of quality won't matter much, while, to others, it will no doubt irritate beyond belief. I like to consider myself somewhere in the middle of the two, and so, while the irritation is present in the opening act, it typically fades as the movie progresses, and so there is only little harm done.
Unfortunitely, my disapointment doesn't end there. If you happen to shop for this DVD in a store, you will undoubtedly notice that the back of the box advertises special features. The bio on CS Lewis had my attention, as well as facts on this particular movie/story. The special features were, however, several, if not less, power point presentations that had probably been put together by an intern at lunch break, no joke.
Parents, it is quite possible that your children loved the 2005 Narnia movie so much that they can't wait until it is released on DVD, and possibly have even seen it on the shelves of a local Wal Mart store (or wherever else it is sold, I found it there), and so begged to have it. While I can't speak for the specific taste of your child, I often wonder if many children today can connect with this version at all. The artwork is, well, very vintage 1970's (1979 precisely), and nowhere near the quality of modern children's entertainment. This particular movie reminds me of the Hobbit and Return of the King cartoons from the 70's, and should fit nicely on the shelf next to them.
However much I loved this film as a child, it is because of the mistakes mentioned above that I cannot give the movie a 5 star rating, as much as I'd like to, but feel as though I must lower it to a 3. If you feel as though you can hurdle over these obstacles, by all means, watch it; you will certainly be enriched for having done so.
For those of you looking for an excellent Narnia companion to the movie, Focus on the Family published a wonderful Radio Drama series on the entire Chronicles, hosted by Douglas Grisham. This series is a pure delight, and your child (or you and your spouse), will certainly find enchantment in these imaginative episodes.
Emmy-winning adaptation of a childhood favorite
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 05/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Winning a 1979 Emmy award for "Outstanding Animated Program" (executive producer David D. Connell and producer Steven Cuitlahuac Melendez) and being nominated for a second in Outstanding Individual Achievement - Animation Program" (writers Bill Melendez and Connell), this animated version of the C.S. Lewis book holds a special place in my heart - it was the adaptation that introduced me to Narnia.
Directed by Bill Melendez (the man who gave us the Charlie Brown and Peanuts movies) this cartoon is beautiful in its simplicity. Of course to am eight-year old the Christian imagery was not apparent, but what I do remember through the clouds of nostalgia is being entranced by the magic and the adventure. Made for television it was one of those movies tha tbecame a perennial favorite for British television during the movie-heavy Christmas period and was one that I eagerly awaited (this was after all the days before the mass ownership of VCR's.) So, it was with a mixture of excitement and nervous anticipation that I picked up my copy - and I was not disappointed.
Of course for big-screen spectacle nothing can really match the 2005 Disney blockbuster of the same name (which has become Disney's most successful live-action movie ever with grosses over $740 million and has a second movie PRINCE CASPIAN prepping for a summer 2008 release,) but for simple storytelling and involving characters this animated movie is successful in what it sets out to do.
Featuring clever narration by the leads, dead-on expression by the characters and lines taken from the Lewis book this movie succeeds in making a faithful, good adaptation in 95 minutes.
This version also features two of the most recognizable voices from British television of this era in Leslie Phillips as Mr. Timnus and Leo McKern as the professor, amongst a cast of largely unknowns.
The animation can appear inconsistent at times but the drawing style is both unique and enchanting. This is a far better work than the BBC production, which featured terrible production design and acting and perhaps the most fake-looking Aslan possible.
The story is well-known but for those who are unfamiliar with the novel or the adaptations the story revolves around four children who are sent to live with a professor. There they find a passage to a mysterious land known as Narnia through the back of a giant wardrobe. Narnia is a world in a state of perpetual winter due to the rule of the evil White Witch. But, the childrens arrival has been foretold and a determined group of magical creatures, led by the noble lion Aslan believe they are the ones predicted to deliver Narnia from the witch's iron grip.
This is a "kid-safe" production that parents need not worry about showing to their children, the action scenes are done just right and the dark moments are not taken too seriously, and yet there is enough intellect in the exposition to satisfy adults.
The music by Michael J. Lewis is also a highlight which is full of light and fits the scenes perfectly.
There are two versions of this movie available on DVD. In an unusual move the cheaper of the two is actually better. Whereas the more expensive version clocking in at just under $25 has only some trailers, the cheaper one (for about $14 or less) has information on Lewis and the Narnia books). Certainly the cover and menu's may be better on the more expensive one, but other than that the cheaper version is the easier one to recommend."