The author of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, C.S. Lewis described the origin of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in an essay entitled It All Began with a Picture. The manuscript for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was complete by the end of March 1949. The name “Narnia” is based on Narni, Italy, written in Latin as Narnia.
“The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.”
Little did he know that this simple picture will be made into one of the most recognized motion pictures in the 21st century.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, tells the story of 4 siblings – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie who are sent from their London home to the country estate of an eccentric professor in order to ensure their safety during World War II. The house is very dull, except for a large, ornate wardrobe discovered by young Lucy during a game of hide-and-seek. Venturing inside of it in the hopes of finding a hiding place, Lucy is transported to a snowy alternate universe: a magical world called Narnia. The land is populated by talking animals and ruled over by the benevolent lion Aslan, but sadly, the world is also in a state of perpetual winter. The White Witch, lustful for power and governed by narcissism, has cursed Narnia with a tyrannical decree that it will always be winter but never Christmas. Now, the children must fight alongside Aslan for the salvation of Narnia, but one of them, seduced by the charisma of the white witch, may choose to fight on the wrong side.” ~Movie Review
You may wonder why I chose a younger-audience targeted movie. For a movie to be able to explain complicated and in-depth themes to children effectively is extremely difficult. Watching this movie as an 8 year old in 2005, the underlying messages were successfully communicated to me; I could understand the themes on compassion and forgiveness, betrayal, sacrifice, guilt and blame, good vs. evil, and friendship. The movie designates a moral position to certain animals and mythical creatures that connect with us in our daily lives.
The suspense, action, and emotion evokes a roller coaster effect on the viewers. During the scene when Aslan walks to the Stone Table as a sacrifice in Edmund’s place, the tension and heart-rending moment nearly puts the audiences’ heartbeat to a stop. In the final battle final battle returns the children to the film’s opening: they witness violent destruction of bodies and material. The fight images are delivered in grand terms, as the two armies gather on hilltops and leaders raise their arms to prompt forward motion. This motion initially is like thunder – a rush of rumbling hooves and wheels. At the moment of first impact, when a cheetah and a tiger leap on one another (@4:52 in video below), the sound goes out for an instant. It’s awful, maybe thrilling, but only for a moment. It recalls the awesome power of war, to pretend glory and abstract honor. And that is beautifully scary.
What makes this movie beautiful is not just the computer effects, the actors, the background music, or the scenery, but the valuable message that breathes life into this composition.