BBC’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” (1988) Review

movie_142In 1988 the BBC did a TV miniseries based on the first three books (in publication order, not reading order) of C.S. Lewis’ famous and beloved series “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The first of the three is “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” and it is truly my favorite film rendition of the book (even over the more recent version…I’ve always had a fondness for puppetry, animatronics, and costumes over CGI). I was lucky enough to find a DVD boxed set and brought it home to watch. Tonight is the first night, so I started with the first installment (I have actually never seen the other two, so this will be fun!). The books always made me feel a bit more magical and even now the movies inspire feelings of witchiness.

Being as it was 1988, the animation and special effects are not great at all, very elementary and easily seen to be “fake”, but for a TV miniseries in the 80’s I’m sure it was considered fantastic (and I thought so as well when I first watched it in the early 90’s). The acting is theatrical and so funny, but in a very happy, nostalgic way. The comic relief with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver is welcome as, even now, the more intense scenes still make me feel a little scared. I remember Aslan seeming more lifelike when I was a child whereas now…well, the animatronics are very obvious. I also used to have the BIGGEST crush on the actor who played Peter. It follows the book very well (or at least what I remember of it) and is 168 minutes in length. The music is well done and has a perfect eeriness to it for the White Witch and has a pure fantasy sound through the whole thing. I will say the battle scenes are just terribly cheesy and silly; so many of it involves animated creatures which takes more away from it than adds. However, even with that, the rest of the movie is quite brilliant, but that is a biased one since I’ve loved this movie for 20 some odd years!

They just don’t make fantasy movies like they used to. Overall, I’d give this movie high marks and a strong recommendation for everyone to see at least once. It’s possible it may be a bit scary for really young children (I first saw it when I was in 2nd grade, so about 7 or 8 years old, I think, but I did find certain parts scary) so best to watch it either before them to gauge how you think they’d respond or watch it with them.

Have a very goodnight and blessed be!

Lark