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

Movies.com Critics

4.0

Dave White Profile

… plenty to like … Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    75

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    That's not to say that this first visit to a live-action Narnia on screen isn't enjoyable, or promising for the future of what will surely be a successful franchise. But there's not a lot of humor along the way, and the epic struggle between good and evil plays out in battles more impressive than thrilling.

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    An engaging and exciting family film that at times feels a bit like "The Lord of the Rings Jr."

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie, for all its half-baked visual marvels, remains remarkably faithful to Lewis' story, and the innocence of his passion begins to shine through. It's there, most spectacularly, in Aslan, the lion-king messiah.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    What is lightly sketched in the novel, where much is left to the imagination, blossoms into full-blown, richly detailed life in the movie.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Timeless classic faithfully rendered.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film has some sad, scary, and violent scenes for a PG film. The movie begins with a bombing during the Blitz in London. The children are separated from their mother, which could upset some younger audience members. There are other sad scenes where animals die -- including principle characters. A friendly fox is chased and caught by a pack of wolves, who also chase the children. A witch yells at a young boy, chains him in prison, and stabs him. She also abuses her servant, stabs her enemies with a sword that turns them to stone, martyrs the lion, and leads troops into battle. The children learn to fight, then engage in hand-to-hand combat and sword fighting; one sister shoots an enemy with an arrow. There is a pitched battle with deaths and grave injuries. While not overt, the movie includes Christian imagery (a martyred, Christlike lion, a rebirth from magic water) and allegorical storylines.

  • Families can talk about the bonds among the four siblings, as they comfort and provoke one another while away from their mother and fearful about the war. How is Narnia a fantasy born of this combination of supporting one another and concern about their future? How do the animals and creatures in Narnia represent different aspects of the children's daily lives -- their courage, fear, and desires?
  • Families might also discuss the Christian iconography in the film.

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Making the ultimate sacrifice to protect others is a major theme. Trust, redemption, and forgiveness are also vital to the story.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Children are fearful, and one brother is greedy and selfish, but thekids learn to trust one another and work together.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Opening scene of WWII bombing in London; a boy is imprisoned and abused by an evil witch; often-intense (but pretty bloodless) battles involving animals, mythical creatures, and kids. Some severe injuries and deaths. Combatants wield bows and arrows, swords, and spears.

  • sex false0

    Sex: Not an issue

  • language false1

    Language: Some inter-sibling name-calling (including "idiot").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Professor smokes a pipe; a girl is mildly drugged (in her tea), sees hallucinatory images in a fireplace, then falls asleep.

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