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 »s evil. Welcome to the enchanted world of Narnia, a mystical land sprung from the mind of legendary author C.S. Lewis. Danger and adventure are always close at hand in Narnia, for the future is under constant threat by dark forces. But not for long. Whispers that sail across the land say only one thing -- Aslan, the great lion, is on the move. The BBC and Home Vision Entertainment proudly present all nine hours of this grand series on DVD for the first time.« less
i loved this version of the Narnia series. it is great set of movies to watch
Ruth S. from PLANTSVILLE, CT Reviewed on 11/10/2010...
I loved watching these with my niece and my grandson. In true BBC fashion they were true to the books. Every family should see these. They are great to watch and good conversation starters between adults and children. And yes there is still a little child left in me.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Noleen T. from PHOENIX, AZ Reviewed on 9/15/2010...
well if you have seen the recent ones, then these are incomparable, but for my 7, 5, and 3 year old...these are perfect! they love them and choose to watch them quite a bit!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Nora M. from MOORESVILLE, NC Reviewed on 9/22/2009...
Excellent and true to the books. A must see.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
StrangeHorizons.com Reviews Editor says:
Auros | Palo Alto, CA | 10/31/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A number of years back, the BBC produced this television version of four of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The books, of course, are Biblical allegory for children, but they are beloved of many a non-Christian fantasy fan (including me) because they are basically Good Stories. Furthermore, the ideals embraced by the allegory -- mercy, justice, bravery, concern for nature, intelligent contemplation of spirituality, and so on -- are hardly exclusive to Christianity. Lewis happened to believe that his theology was logically supportable, but you don't have to agree with him on that to see that he was fundamentally a good man, and that his concept of virtue is admirable in many respects.The BBC series captures the innocence, the adventure, and the peculiarly British charm of the books. Also, much like Peter Jackson's new Lord of the Rings movies, it replaces lengthy expository text with beautiful scenery and intricately designed props, keeping the plot advancing steadily. Though there are some groan-worthy bits of melodramatic line delivery, the acting is overall quite good, and there is a standout performance by Tom Baker (known to many SF fans as the fourth Doctor Who) as Puddleglum the Marshwiggle in The Silver Chair. The only thing to complain about is that they never got to make the other three books."
So HAPPY to See these in their Entirety
Realism from Nowhere | South Dakota, USA | 08/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rather than the cartoons of Snow White, Cinderella, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Bambi and so on, I was a resident of the land of Narnia when I was a kid. And not because my family is ultra-religious either. In fact, we never really picked up on the biblical parallels until we read about them on this website!
What we saw was a basic battle between good and evil and a great group of kids who had to conquer their shortcomings to become the best people they could be. They faced adversity and had to stand on their own against even their own friends and siblings to do what was right. And in the end, they triumphed! For me, this series contributed much more to my sense of self, my take on right and wrong, and my maturity than any Disney cartoons ever could have!
I first saw these movies on Public tv, PBS, when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old and my Mom had the foresight to record them to video tape for me. Over the years, I watched the tapes so much that they were really beginning to have poor quality, plus some pieces of the movies were missing. That's why I was delighted when these came out on DVD! Even at 20 years old, I still like to revisit my childhood for a time and I hope to share them with my children when the time comes, that being when I become a Mom.
I think my favorite would be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the adventures are so varied and the ship is just beautiful! I love to see Eustace's transformation and all the islands they visit have so many different things and people to discover. Like Deathwater Island, the Island of the Dufflepuds and of course the Silver Sea and the underwater Warrior Sea People. This part of the film also leaves the least out. It includes most of the adventures from the book and allows time for plot development. I was disappointed that Prince Caspian is really that short, I wish they had made it longer.
My main complain is, why aren't The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle included? Why weren't these books made into films?
However, I have even more compliments for this particular set. The actor who plays Puddleglum is FANTASTIC! I remember watching him in Dr. Who as well, do any of you remember K-9 the robotic dog? lol But honestly, he does do a superb job in being a wet blanket! There are a few cheesy effects in this set, like the scene where Prince Rilian kills the serpent witch, it's SO obviously a dummy. Also, some of the cartoons are a little lacking in imagination. But, I do know that these are BBC films and that there was no such thing as complicated computer animation in the early 80's. Back then, we had black screens with green writing on them and dot matrix printers! I remember using those things in grade school.
But anyways, all in all this is a great set! I'm so happy to be able to preserve some of my favorite movies from childhood on DVD and see them whole and clear again after all these years! The story is timeless, engaging and non-denominational! BUY THIS SET, you will NOT be disappointed! Also recommended are Rigoletto, The Rogue Stallion, Black Beauty and The Black Stallion (guess I don't really like cartoons!) Enjoy!!!"
Best TV adaptation yet!
Russell Goodall | Yokohama, Japan | 07/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, the DVD set box arrived and it made my weekend! 20 years after reading the books, I am currently rereading them again, and following them up by watching the DVDs. I enjoyed the DVDs and so did my two sons aged 4 & 2. Well done to BBC for trying to faithfully adapt the books, even with the limited budget. Yes, the special effects are not always special, but pretty good for a television production back in the late 80s/early 90s. The animatronics of Aslan is convincing, especially his size. I hope this DVD production prompts the filmmakers who are planning to make a movie of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to produce something great. One surprise with the DVD set; having ordered it from North America, I thought I would not be able to play the DVDs on my Japanese (Region 2) DVD player, but, 'by Jove' it did! So maybe it is a 'Region Free' DVD. One disappointment: Maybe it was my DVD player/amp but the mono sound did not play very well on my system, with the dialogue often hard to hear. But the biggest disappointment maybe that not all 7 books were visualized by the BBC. Maybe one day! Also very good packaging, menus, special features, and liner notes!"
Delicious Blend of the Real, the Near-Real and the Unreal.
Gary Fisher | West Michigan, USA | 03/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let us begin by agreeing that computer-generated images have both added to and taken from filmmaking, in ways similar to the effect performance-enhancing drugs have had on sports. We might thrill at the modern athlete who hits the ball out of the park, but we still wonder how he'd compare to Babe Ruth.
This 1980s-era BBC production is in many ways superior to the more recent cinematic version of Lewis' great fantasy; in particular, a number of elements, both major and minute, which are altered or removed in the film are faithfully represented in the BBC video Chronicles. This is no unimportant detail -- the Chronicles of Narnia is first and foremost a story; anything C.S. Lewis included is probably significant and ought not to be left out or redefined at the whim of a Director. In producing these versions of four of the seven Chronicles the BBC was careful to tell the story without incautiously rewriting it.
The technology of the 1980s, and the budget constraints upon the BBC, do play their own role in these productions, of course. In particular, the recent film's seamless blurring of the line between humans and talking animals is simply beyond what could be done in the BBC version. While Aslan is very nearly equally realized in both the Disney and BBC productions, and the BBC's Tumnus is in some ways superior to (though certainly not "better than") Disney's, other characters do not fare as well. Beaver and his wife are almost embarassingly silly in the BBC version, and Maugrim's transitions border on the painful. Some of the peripheral characters are portrayed by beautifully but unrealistically drawn animations, and most of the "magic" could be duplicated or bettered today by a tenth-grade film class.
Nevertheless, these are matters not of substance but of presentation; the stories themselves are accurately presented in convincing settings by actors who range from highly competent to superbly skilled. Backgrounds and scenery are very well done, both interior and exterior, and distracting elements, such as those mentioned above, are kept to a minimum. The real, the nearly-real and the purely animated are delicately balanced.
The 3 disk set reviewed presents four of the Chronicles: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe;" "Prince Caspian;" "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader;" and "The Silver Chair." Also included are a fascinating film about C.S. Lewis from the BBC's "Bookworm" TV magazine, trivia games, numerous stills from the productions and, perhaps most intriguing, a detailed recipe for Turkish Delight.
This set is best enjoyed by true lovers of C.S. Lewis and of the Chronicles, but those who fit that description would be glad to own it. My only true regret is that the missing Chronicles were not produced, but perhaps if this set is purchased in sufficient numbers that omission could eventually be corrected as well. I have no doubt one of the new generation of fans could someday do so; perhaps this set will start them on their way."
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A new big-screen adaptation of the Narnia Chronicles is currently in the works, to fill the gap that "Lord of the Rings" left behind. But it isn't the first adaptation of C.S. Lewis's classic fantasies -- in the 1980s, the BBC made their own adaptation.
"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, 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 battles with Miraz's armies. The settings are magnificent, especially the giant "Dawn Treader" and Caer Paravel.
Unfortunately, it does have its bad points. 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. And Aslan is played by a large and almost realistic puppet, except he looks like he has arthritis and lots of Botox.
The acting tends to be on the understated good side -- Scott and Thwaites give the best performances, especially since they both play obnoxious twits who have to learn the error of their ways. Entertaining supporting characters abound, 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 like a hammy banshee.
Those anticipating the return of Aslan and the Pevensies in December should check out the BBC movies. While some parts have not aged well over the last twenty years, they are still solid enough to enjoy."