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There's magic in the new 'Wardrobe'

A lot has changed since 1950, the year that C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was published.

Thankfully, this includes gigantic leaps in movie technology. We now have the ability to view Narnia with the added bonus of CGI animation and special effects galore. As opposed to Lewis' simplistic allegory about Christianity, this "Wardrobe" is filled with much color and detail. At the heart, though, remains a story about loyalty, honesty, and faith.

When the four Pevensie children (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley) enter the magical world of Narnia through an old wardrobe, they become caught up in a battle between good and evil in which they sway the final outcome.

As good as these four actors are (Finally! Real live kids playing kids!), they are outshone by a far more interesting group of actors. Ray Winstone is the voice of a kindly beaver who acts as a guide to the children, and James McAvoy plays Mr. Tumnus, a faun who befriends the youngest child, unbelievably cute Lucy.

The driving forces of the movie are unarguably Tilda Swinton and Liam Neeson.

Swinton is the White Witch, the face of ultimate evil in Narnia. Her frozen look fills the screen and juxtaposed with a volatile temper and fierce beauty, she makes a wonderful stand-in for the Devil.

Neeson adds perfect warmth to Aslan, the Great Lion, who is obviously a symbol for Jesus Christ and is the savior of the children and all of Narnia. They are joined by an assortment of mythical creatures that rival the selection from "The Lord of the Rings."

Beyond all the hype, the greatest joy of seeing the movie was revisiting the book. I hadn't read "Wardrobe" since I was 9 or 10. Opening the book with new eyes as an older reader allowed me to enjoy the symbolism and child-like innocence that Lewis conveyed in his writing.

Though the movie is a good supplement to the series, nothing can compare to reading this good old-fashioned adventure and once again meeting the child that lives within all of us.

Seasoned readers will be glad that the movie deviates very little from Lewis' story, yet in its own way nearly destroys what Lewis was striving for: the ability to envision Narnia for yourself.

The end of Hollywood's fixation with remakes is nowhere in sight. However, sometimes fresh perspective can help us recapture our original perspective. If this movie can help open the door of Narnia to new readers, then director Andrew Adamson has succeeded in being true to Lewis' vision.

Diehard Narnia loyalists, however, may find themselves asking, "Can Hollywood leave nothing untouched?"

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Review: 3 stars (Out of 4)

Rachel Dobiesz is a sophomore at Hamburg High School.

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