Warning: Contains Spoilers***
Based on C.S. Lewis’s novel, the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, focuses on four siblings, the Pevensies. There’s Peter the oldest. Then there’s Susan, probably close to Peter’s age. There’s Edmond, who seems drawn to his father that’s fighting in the Second World War. And then there’s Lucy, the youngest and the most naïve.
Now before I express my thoughts, please note that I will not bring up events from the book series or the play adaptations. I have never read the novels nor have I seen the play. I have seen both sequels.
The second one was in full, but a long time ago. With the third, I only saw bits of it here and there. So, this post is going to discuss the first Narnia movie from 2005, with an occasional comparison to a later installment here and there.
As bombs drop in London, Mrs. Pevensie leads the children out to the underground area to hide. Then she sends them on a train to the country, where it’s safer (this is actually historically accurate, by the way). The four kids find a stern woman named Mrs. McCreedy, who will watch them while they stay.
While playing hide-and-seek, Lucy means to hide in a wardrobe—only that it leads her to a snowy environment. Little does she know that she has entered a magical land not part of regular Earth. She meets Mr. Tumnus the faun and likes him as an individual.
Later, Edmond ends up in Narnia and meets the White Witch. She seems sweet at first, but is really trying to hurt him since she wants to gain Edmond’s trust.
After a bunch of drama where the older kids wouldn’t believe Lucy, they all go through the wardrobe and encounter Narnia. Things get intense and problematic from there. That’s when the meat of the story begins.
I admired the world building and how it was a good way to help kids escape from the horrors of WWII. It was actually written to keep children relaxed and feel like they are in a different world.
Of course, no story, either written or on screen, is perfect. For instance, who decided that the Pevensie kids would stay with Mrs. McCreedy?
She led them around the house with ground rules and no signs of a positive attitude. She especially snapped when Susan touched a statue (and that I supported because Susan should’ve known better at the age she was).
No welcoming attitude with “Make yourself at home. You want some water?”?
Obviously, the kids wouldn’t have gotten to pick. If Mrs. Pevensie had chosen, perhaps she should’ve been more careful. If the state equivalent in the UK did, then that was what they decided.
On the bright side, the professor was very sweet. When Lucy cried, after Edmond criticized her for being unable to stop pretending, the professor offered to make her some hot chocolate.
When Aslan is executed, Lucy and Susan cry like he was a loved one they’ve known forever. Lucy also wept when Mr. Tumnus turned into stone.
I get that they cared about these characters. But I did find it a bit odd that two girls would cry over deaths of animals they barely knew, especially if they weren’t their pets. Well, I guess the viewers needed some sadness and sympathy for all those characters.
Another aspect that’s difficult to understand is that Narnia’s time is inconsistent with Earth’s. One year in Narnia equals around a few minutes in the real world.
One major flaw was how everyone knew where others were, including the Pevensie siblings. For example, when the witch is holding Edmond captive, he somehow knew that his brother and sisters were with a couple of beavers.
After Lucy leaves Narnia for the first time, she returns back to where the hide-and-seek game started. At the end, when the kids have become adults and rule Narnia, they return to the wardrobe. They reverse back into the ages they were when they first entered. And they didn’t seem to react much. I wonder why it’s like that.
And the last point will tie into the sequels. In Prince Caspian, a year has passed since The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Centuries have gone by in Narnia, and there are now humans.
While the adults from Narnia can be there, those from Earth are too old to be there. That is why Susan and Peter don’t go back to Narnia in the third film.
It’s Edmond’s and Lucy’s last times there, too. But Edmond is probably a few years older than Lucy. So, while I’d understand it being Edmond’s last time, why Lucy’s, as well? Unless Aslan, or whoever sets the age limit to go to Narnia, plans to lower it.
Yes, there is a reason why kids can’t go to Narnia once they reach a certain point. The short answer is that they no longer need it. Narnia is meant to be a fairytale setting that’s supposed to be like a make-believe world.
I’ve also wondered if in the third Narnia movie, Susan and Peter know that Lucy and Edmond went to Narnia—or if adults from Narnia are too old to go to Earth.
Nevertheless, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a fantastic movie—both as a fantasy and an amazing film. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.