Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The (2005, USA) C-143m. SCOPE *** D: Andrew Adamson. Starring Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Kiran Shah, James Cosmo, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keyes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, voices of Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Rupert Everett, Michael Madsen. Superlative filmization of the C.S. Lewis book about four children, who, fleeing air raids in WW2 London, go to live in a country estate and find a secret passage to Narnia, a magical country that is under the spell of the White Witch (Swinton). Before they know it, they are plunged into the adventure of their lives. Extremely well-made, exciting, superbly paced adventure is perfect for kids, no less thrilling for adults. Creates a wondrous fantasy world very much in the vein of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies, only less dark and brooding (it was also shot in New Zealand). From the director of the SHREK movies. Fine score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Filmed before as a TV series in 1967, and in animated form in 1979 and 1988 (all as THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE). Followed by its first sequel in 2008.

© Ron Altman