Monday, December 12, 2005

A Place Beyond Time

“There was a time when meadow, grove and stream
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.”

~ Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

William Wordsworth would have loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

For all of us today who also look back wistfully upon the wonder and excitement of childhood imagination, wishing that somehow we might recapture that sense of awe, there is a special gift this Christmas season. The land of Narnia provides an enchanted pathway back into that magical realm.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a beautiful and completely captivating film. Perhaps it can’t compete on a technical level with such a masterpiece as the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But any competition is irrelevant. This movie stands comfortably on its own remarkable lion’s legs.

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are four charming siblings who discover the kingdom of Narnia behind an attic wardrobe. They enter a world of cold beauty, dark danger, and brave promise. The eternal battle of good vs. evil, embodied in the formidable forms of Aslan the Lion and the White Witch, weaves its dramatic thread throughout the film, creating a vibrant tapestry of conflict, temptation, failure, forgiveness, and triumph.

The children perform well in their respective roles as the “two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve” foretold by Narnian prophecy as those who would save the kingdom from the Witch’s brutal grip. Georgie Henly is especially endearing as the winsome little Lucy. The many mythical creatures and special effects are both enchanting and frightening, each as intended. The Witch’s sneering wolves are vividly chilling, and the great lion Aslan, given voice by Liam Neeson, is a magnificently epic creature. Aslan’s poignant scenes of sacrificial agony and subsequent victory over death bear very moving similarities to Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, prompting the tiresome media fuss about this being a “Christian” movie. The author, C.S. Lewis, was certainly a Christian, but such ideological mind-bending obscures the message of enduring values inherent in this timeless tale. Regardless of one’s theological conviction, anyone who understands the difference between right and wrong, truth and deceit, or love and hate can enjoy and be enriched by this lovely film.

Give yourself, and your family, the gift of childhood wonder for a couple of hours this Christmas time. Lay down the weight of your adult’s armor at the movie ticket booth, and settle into any darkened theater showing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You will be delighted to discover that “the glory and the freshness of a dream” are indeed still yours to savor when you step through that mystical wardrobe with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

UPDATE 12/15: You may vote upon the best blogged review of Narnia at