Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund find themselves transported to the enchanted world of Narnia after wandering into an old wardrobe in a countryside estate. In Narnia the children discover an evil White Witch who has turned ... more »her enemies to stone and placed permanent winter over all the land. According to legend, the brave children are to be lead by Aslan the Great Lion to destroy the witch and transform Narnia back into the paradise it was meant to be. But the evil witch has plans of her own.« less
"I have been searching the Internet for a copy of this video. Nobody carries it. It is not even available in video stores to rent. I remember watching the animated film with my sister when I was little and I want so much to be able to see it again. Please consider re-releasing this classic film. I guarantee that I am not the only little child that used to think that a whole world existed inside her closet...."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this video as a child and can not find it anymore! It would be so wonderful to bring this imaginitive and delightful story and the rest of the Narnia chronicles to VHS. Please consider re-release. The books are hard to find as well."
The enchanting first adventure in the magic land of Narnia
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the lessons of this production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is that a good story can forgive many things. I mean, the special effects of this 1988 adaptation are pretty much on a par with "Barney," which is most apparent every time one of the hand drawn animations appears. However, they are done in the style of Pauline Baynes, the original illustrator of this classic tale by C.S. Lewis, which amply evidences that whatever budgetary considerations the hearts, minds and souls of the producers were in the right place. The costumes of the talking animals and the soldiers of Narnia are all pretty good, as are the simple sets (clearly where the money went), but the proof of the pudding here is obviously going to be Aslan. We are talking minimalistic animatronics here, but it all works. Mainly that is because the four children who meet up with the great lion who rules over Narnia clearly believe in him and accept him, which is all the magic that is needed. The result is admittedly not great, but it is very good, and, most importantly, it is in the spirit of the original story.
"The Chronicles of Narnia" have their origin in the Second World War when Hitler's Luftwaffe was subjecting London to the blitz and the city's children were evacuated to the country for safety. Four such children ended up at the Kilns, the Oxford home of C.S. Lewis, where they were entertained by the stories he told to them. In 1950 Lewis published "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," the first of the seven tales that would made up "The Chronicles of Narnia." The tales hold their own as adventures for children, who get to use magic and fight with swords, but there is also a wonderful amount of depth only available to adults who are wise enough to look at such things.
That was because Lewis was not just an acclaimed author of children's literature; he was also a distinguished Oxbridge literary scholar and critic and a popular writer and broadcaster of Christian apologetics. While clearly Lewis carved out a distinguished career as a novelist, scholar, and theologian with three decidedly different audiences, it is equally obvious that a full appreciation of any of his writings is impossible without recognizing the elements of his other personas. Certainly there are Christians who would be troubled by Lewis's incorporation of talking animals, witches and other fairy folk into his fictional tales, but ultimately the potency of this tales from a theological perspective is his ability to make it all work. Besides, the fact that the children one day become too old to return to Narnia but are expected never to forget the lesson learned there is something like a broad hint as to how this is all supposed to work out.
The story tells of Lucy (Sophie Wilcox), Peter (Richard Dempsey), Susan (Sophie Cook), and Edmund (Jonathan R. Scott), who are sent off to the country home of Professor Kirke (Michael Aldridge) during the war. On a rainy day they explore the old home and Lucy enters a large old wardrobe in the attic to discover it opens into a fantastic world of mythological creatures and talking animals, all under the spell of eternal winter cast by the White Witch (Barbara Kellerman). Lucy is not believed when she returns, for time passes differently in Narnia, but eventually they all end up in the wondrous world. There the White Witch gets Edmond to betray his siblings and their newfound friends in Narnia with promises of Turkish Delight treats. But against here is Aslan, the brave lion king who returns to save his people and the land of Narnia. Not surprising, the story rests on the importance of acts of sacrifice and salvation.
This was the third television version of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" and the best of the bunch. The children are believable as such, whether acting horrible towards one another or behaving heroically on behalf of the people are Narnia. It is that believability that the cast brings to the production and the fidelity to the original story that makes this work, especially for children. A new production is slated to be made in 2004 and the improvements in special effects are such that you would have to think that there will be noticeable improvements over the 1988 version. But if it fails to be true to the original story and loses the sense of believability at the heart of this production, any improved special effects will come to naught."
If only they'd had a better budget!
Brian Hulett | Oinklahoma | 02/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those unfamiliar with the story, this is an allegory for the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. Even without the spiritual understanding, however, it's a captivating fantasy story, part of a seven-book series written decades ago by British scholar/apologist C.S. Lewis, and this filmed version (originally broadcast on the BBC in England and on PBS in the States) does a beautiful job of capturing the spirit of the story and its characters.My 5-year-old daughter, thankfully, loves it as much as I do. The story essentially includes four London children in 1940 who are spending their school holiday (summer vacation) in the country, sent by parents who are worried for their lives in wartime in London, when Hitler was intent on bombing that city into oblivion. They discover a hidden door to a magical world of fawns, nymphs, talking animals, giants, a white witch, and a majestic lion called Aslan.And oh, what a lion! If only the filmmakers had been able to better solve the problem of making a lion's mouth speak English. Therein lies the only problem I have with anything about this film (first in a series of three films about the Narnia Chronicles). The lion costume is spectacular otherwise, but the FX are severely curtailed by a BBC budget. Some of the more magical creatures, when the filmmakers couldn't put an actor into a costume, were simply drawn, creating a jarring effect. Even my 5-year-old asked why the flying horse was a drawing.If this series could be redone with 21st-century FX and a "Lord Of the Rings" budget, it would be equally spectacular. But we have what we have, and what we have is uplifting, enchanting, memorable, and thoroughly entertaining. Suitably melodramatic at times, with the kind of uneven acting one might expect from children and other disguised little people, it plays like an upscale "Doctor Who" episode with a gospel overtone. And yes, that's a good thing. (In fact, "Doctor Who" actor Tom Baker plays a major role in the third part of this series, "The Silver Chair.")"
An excellent Christian movie
Kurt A. Johnson | North-Central Illinois, USA | 08/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Evacuated to the country for their protection (during World War 2), Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund begin to explore the big house that is their new home. In a back room is a large wardrobe filled with old coats and things, but stepping through the wardrobe, the children find something fantastic, another world! But this new world is not a happy place; it is locked in the grip of perpetual winter by the magic of an evil queen (played by Barbara Kellerman).The children learn that Aslan, the lion king of this world of Narnia, is back and can help them against the witch. But when they learn that Peter (Richard Dempsey) was actually in the witch's service they need even more help. Aslan is as good as he is powerful, and with him all things are possible. [Color, originally aired in 1988, with a running time of 3 hours.]This movie (actually three television episodes) is a based quite closely on C.S. Lewis's book of the same title. Some of the acting is a little overdone, and the cartoon creatures look awfully two-dimensional, but the story is nothing short of excellent and the lion Aslan is surprisingly well done. Also, I do think that the creators of this movie did an excellent job of capturing the mood of the book and bringing the viewer through the story without too much cutting. (Books made into movies are often butchered!)My eleven-year-old daughter read the book recently, while I read it a long time ago. My whole family enjoyed this movie immensely, and I enjoyed the lessons that it taught. My wife and I tried to explain the Christian symbols as the story moved along. We loved this movie, and highly recommend it to you."