Adapting beloved children's books into movies has become a rather lucrative business.
The Harry Potter films have almost become more popular than the books they were based upon, and the much denser Lord of the Rings trilogy has been just as praised as it has been profitable.
It seems that as long as the film adheres closely to the book, has great special effects and an exciting crescendo, it will be successful.
This is essentially the case with the new film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which was adapted from the classic novel by C.S. Lewis.
Set in World War II-era England, the story follows the four Pevensie children who leave war-ravaged London for an old professor's mansion in the countryside. They inevitably happen upon a wardrobe that transports them to Narnia, a country of talking animals and dark magic. Narnia is being ravaged by an endless winter that the Pevensies learn can only end with their help and cooperation with Aslan, the wise and powerful lion of the title.
The film strikes the same chords as the book. It is powerful and innocent at the same time, dark yet humorous, and compelling in its humanity. While some have chided the filmmakers for playing up the Christian aspects of the story (C.S. Lewis was a firm Christian and put his beliefs in his books), they are not used too heavily nor do they affect the story. It's all a matter of interpretation, and like many good fantasy stories, there are often a few different ones.
Narnia is full of incredible images -- a polar bear-drawn sleigh, an army of centaurs, New Zealand's (I mean Narnia's) impeccable landscapes -- which make up for otherwise dry scenes.
Though the acting wasn't excellent, some actors stood out, such as Liam Neeson, whose voice was mighty as Aslan, and Tilda Swinton, whose White Witch had evil pouring out her ears.
Though Narnia's battle sequences aren't as astonishing as the "Lord of the Rings," and though Narnia is much cheesier than the travails of Harry Potter, those who grew up enchanted by Lewis will appreciate the way the filmmaker didn't change much about "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Those who've never read Lewis will appreciate just about everything else.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Review: 3 1/2 stars (Out of 4)
Max Pitegoff is a senior at City Honors.