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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Information about The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 (10 years ago) epic fantasy movie directed by Andrew Adamson based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published novel in C. S. Lewis's children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. It was produced by Walden Media and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes play Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund, four British children evacuated during the Blitz to the countryside, who find a wardrobe that leads to the fantasy world of Narnia. There they ally with the Lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) against the forces of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton).
It was released on dec. 9, 2005 (10 years ago) in both Europe and North America to positive reviews and was highly successful at the box office. It won the 2005 (10 years ago) Academy Award for Best Make Up and various other awards, and is the first of what will be a series of movies based on the books. An Extended Edition was released on dec. 12, 2006 (9 years ago) and was only made available on DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) until Jan. 31, 2007 (8 years ago). It was the best selling DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) in North America in 2006 (9 years ago) taking in $332.7 million that year. It aired on Disney Channel, uninterrupted by commercials, on Jun. 19, 2009 (6 years ago).
PlotThe movie begins with the 1940 (75 years ago) bombing of Finchley, London, during the Blitz. The Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are in direct danger from the falling bombs - a scene which did not appear in the original C.S. Lewis book and which at the very start introduces the underlying tension and jealousy between Edmund and his siblings which would have a major role in the later plot.
Subsequently, the children are - as in the book - evacuated to the country home of Professor Kirke. One day while they are playing hide and seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintry fantasy world called Narnia. She spends a few hours in the home of the faun, Mr Tumnus, who explains that the White Witch cursed Narnia, and it has been winter for one hundred years. In accordance with her orders, if a human is ever encountered, a Narnian must bring them to her. However, Tumnus likes Lucy and can't bring himself to kidnap her so he sends her home. When she returns, hardly any time has passed in the normal world, and when the other children check the Wardrobe, all they see is a normal wooden back - the portal is gone.
Later, Edmund follows Lucy into Narnia, and he meets the White Witch and her faithful dwarf, Ginarrbrik. She offers him Turkish delight, as well as the prospect of becoming king if Edmund will bring his brother and sisters to her castle. After she departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and they return to tell the others. Edmund does not confirm Narnia's existence to Peter and Susan, saying he was merely playing along with Lucy. This distresses Lucy, who bumps into Professor Kirke. The Professor has a private talk with Peter and Susan; he does not understand why they do not believe Lucy's story and presents to them the use of logic (which Susan is very fond of) in the situation: when they are given three choices for an explanation of Lucy's behavior — madness, dishonesty, and sincerity — the others know she is neither mad nor dishonest, so she is logically telling the truth.
On another day, while hiding from the housekeeper in the wardrobe after breaking a window, the four siblings step into Narnia. Peter and Susan apologize for their earlier disbelief and Peter threatens Edmund unless he apologizes to Lucy. They discover Mr. Tumnus has been taken by the Witch's Secret Police and they meet talking beavers who tell them about Aslan. According to the beavers, Aslan is on the move to take the control of Narnia from the White Witch. The four must help Aslan and his followers; it had been prophesied that when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sat in the four thrones, the Witch's reign would come to an end.
Edmund sneaks off and visits the Witch alone. When he arrives at her castle, she is angry that he did not deliver his brother and sisters. Then the White Witch sends a pack of wolves to hunt down the other children and the beavers, who barely escape with the aid of a fox. Meanwhile, Edmund is chained in the Witch's dungeon where he meets Mr. Tumnus in an adjacent cell. The Witch comes down and demands that Edmund tell her where his family is because her police couldn't find them; Edmund tells her some information, but hesitates when Tumnus looks at him, warningly (he also tries to tell the witch that Edmund doesn't know anything, but is injured by Ginnabrik). The witch sees that Tumnus is hindering the information, so she has him released and brought over to her. After she tells Mr. Tumnus that it was Edmund's fault that she knew about his involvement, Mr. Tumnus is dragged upstairs and turned into stone, as Edmund sees with a horror when he is brought up.
While Peter, Lucy, Susan, and the beavers are traveling to the Stone Table, they see what they believe to be the White Witch in her sleigh chasing after them, so they run and hide — fortunately, it is really Father Christmas. This is taken as a sign that the Witch's power is beginning to break, as her spell was supposed to have made it "always winter and never Christmas". Warning them that they are tools, not toys, he gives Lucy a bottle of juice of fire-flowers and a dagger; Susan a bow and arrow and a magical horn; and Peter a sword and shield. Father Christmas informs them that winter will soon be over. Unfortunately, this means the rivers are thawing, and the arrival of Maugrim and several other wolves makes the passage even more perilous. But with their weapons, the group manages to safely cross the river, leaving the Witch no real way to reach them by sleigh. The curse of endless winter is finally broken, much to Witch's chagrin; her followers capture the fox who helped the children, and Edmund initially reveals that his siblings are going to meet Aslan at the Stone Table to spare the fox's life. But when the Witch turns the fox into stone anyway, Edmund realizes that the Witch truly will dispatch anyone in order to achieve her means, but is then taken to her camp as prisoner.
Arriving at Aslan's army encampment, they encounter Aslan, who is revealed as a huge and noble lion. Aslan promises to help Edmund in any way he can. They are also reluctant to participate in a war after fleeing from London. However, they have to save Edmund and Mr. Tumnus. Peter joins Aslan's army. A little later, two wolves ambush Lucy and Susan while they are frolicking by the river. When Peter intervenes, Maugrim attacks him, and Peter kills him with his sword. Some of Aslan's troops follow the other wolf back to the witch's camp and rescue Edmund.
Aslan has a private talk with Edmund that profoundly affects him. When he is done, Aslan tells the other children to speak of Edmund's actions no more, and the siblings reconcile. The White Witch then arrives and claims that Edmund is her property, based on the "deep magic" of Narnia; it says that traitors belong to her as lawful prey and that she must kill them at the Stone Table. Aslan privately negotiates with the White Witch, who agrees to leave Edmund alone. In return, Aslan sacrifices himself and surrenders to the witch. Later that night Susan and Lucy notice Aslan leaving the encampment and into the forest alone. After walking with Aslan for a while he tells the sisters to return to camp for they cannot go where Aslan is heading. As they watch in hiding, Aslan approaches the Stone Table where he is humiliated and his mane shaved by the White Witch's followers. Finally he is bound and laid before the White Witch herself who plunges a dagger into Aslan, killing him. However, in the morning he is resurrected because "there is a magic deeper still the Witch does not know." Aslan takes Susan and Lucy to the Witch's mansion where he frees the prisoners of the White Witch, including Mr. Tumnus, forming an army for battle.
Meanwhile, Edmund persuades Peter to join battle with the Witch's host. At first quite successful, Peter's army soon begins to lose the fight, and Edmund is badly injured, though he has managed to destroy the White Witch's stone-turning staff, her most effective weapon. As she sword fights Peter, Aslan soon arrives with reinforcements. She takes advantage of this distraction and disarms him. She is about to stab him when Aslan jumps on her, knocking her to the other side of the cliff and killing her. He then returns to Peter and tells him that "it is finished". Susan uses her bow and arrow to kill Ginarrbrik who attempts to finish Edmund off before there is a chance to save him. Lucy revives Edmund and many others with the fire-flower juice given to her by Father Christmas, while Aslan frees more victims of the White Witch's stone-turning spell.
The Pevensies become Kings and Queens and stay in Narnia until they are adults, fifteen years later. When chasing a white stag to receive wishes, they find the lamppost and the wardrobe and go back to England, where they magically appear as children again. The professor enters the room and asks them what they were doing in the wardrobe. Peter replies, "You wouldn't believe us, if we told you, sir." Then the professor tosses him the ball, used to break the window, and replies, "Try me." Later, Lucy attempts to go back to Narnia, but the Professor tells her he has been trying for years, and they will probably get back to Narnia when least expected.
Pre-productionDuring the early 1990s, producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy were planning a movie version. They could not find a space in Britain to shoot the movie during 1996 (19 years ago), and their plans to set the movie in modern times made Douglas Gresham oppose the film, in addition to his feeling that technology had yet to catch up. Perry Moore began negotiations with the C. S. Lewis Estate in 2000 (15 years ago). On dec. 7, 2001 (14 years ago), Walden Media announced that they had acquired the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia.
The success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone prompted the producers to feel they could make a faithful adaptation of the novel set in Britain. "Harry Potter came along, and all those cultural or geographical lines were broken," Mark Johnson explained. "When The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was being developed at Paramount, the imperative was to set it in the U.S., and it just doesn't hold....It's not the book." Guillermo del Toro turned down the offer to direct due to his commitment on Pan's Labyrinth. Following his Academy Award win for Shrek (5 walls), director Andrew Adamson began adapting the source material with a 20 page treatment based on his memories of the book. As such the movie begins with the Luftwaffe bombing and concludes with an enormous battle, although they do not take up as much time in the novel.
In the novel, the battle is never seen until Aslan, Susan, Lucy and their reinforcements arrive. This was changed in the movie because Adamson said he could vividly remember a huge battle, an example of how Lewis left a lot to the readers' imagination. Other small changes include the reason all four children come to Narnia, in that an accident breaks a window and forces them to hide. Tumnus also never meets Edmund until the end in the novel. Minor details were added to the Pevensies, such as their mother's name, Helen, being the actual first name of Georgie Henley's mother. Finchley as the home of the Pevensies was inspired by Anna Popplewell, who actually is from Finchley. Adamson also changed the circumstances in which Lucy first comes into Narnia. He felt it was more natural that she first see the wardrobe while looking for a hide and seek hiding place, rather than just chance upon it exploring the house. The movie also hints at Professor Kirke's role in The Magician's Nephew, such as the engravings on the wardrobe when it is a simple one in the novel and the Professor's surprise and intrigue when Peter and Susan mentions Lucy's discovery in the wardrobe. When Lewis wrote the novel, such a back-story did not exist. In the novel also, the father of the Pevensie children is in London with their mother, but in the film, their father is fighting in the war as Lucy stated to Mr. Tumnus when they first meet in Narnia.
Weta Workshop head Richard Taylor cited Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights as an inspiration on the film. He felt Narnia had to be less dark and gritty than their depiction of Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings because it is a new world. Many of Weta's creature designs were designed for digital creation, so when Howard Berger and KNB FX inherited the practical effects work, they had to spend three months retooling approved designs for animatronics. Berger's children would comment and advise upon his designs; they suggested the White Witch's hair be changed from black to blonde, which Berger concurred with as he realized Swinton's wig looked too gothic.
FilmingPrincipal photography began on Jun. 28, 2004 (11 years ago), shooting in primarily chronological order. Adamson did this in order to naturally create a sense of mature development from his young actors, which mirrored their real life development. Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes were never shown the set before filming scenes of their characters entering Narnia, nor had Henley seen James McAvoy in his Mr. Tumnus costume before shooting their scenes together. Thus, their reactions on camera are completely real.
The first scene shot was at the disused Hobsonville Air Base for the railway scene. Afterwards, they shot the Blitz scene, which Adamson called their first formal day of shooting.
The filmmakers asked permission to bring in twelve reindeer to New Zealand to pull the Ice Queen's sled. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry denied, citing the potentially deadly Q fever from which the North American reindeer population suffers as the reason. However, ten wolves and wolf hybrids were allowed in for filming in Auckland. To replace the denied live reindeer Mark Rappaport's Creature Effects, Inc. created four animatronic reindeer that were used in shots where the deer were standing in place. The reindeer were designed with replace-able skins to get the most usage; brown for Father Christmas and white for the White Witch.
The cast and crew spent their time in New Zealand in Auckland before moving in Nov. to the South Island.
They filmed in Poland and Prague after the Christmas break, before wrapping in February.
MusicThe soundtrack was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. Gregson-Williams had previously worked with Adamson on Shrek (5 walls) (2001, 14 years ago) and Shrek (5 walls) 2 (2004, 11 years ago). In addition there are three original songs in the film; Can't Take It In by Imogen Heap, Wunderkind by Alanis Morissette and Winter Light by Tim Finn.
The soundtrack was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, England. Gregson-Williams employed the 75-piece Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra, along with a 140-member choir (mostly members of the Bach Choir) and numerous other solo musicians such as electric violinist Hugh Marsh and vocalist Lisbeth Scott (at his Wavecrest Studio). He composed the original score and then spent late sep. through early Nov. 2005 (10 years ago) conducting the Hollywood Orchestra and overseeing the recording of the English choir. For "color", he employed instruments used in ancient folk music, and to underscore critical dramatic moments, he added choral textures and, occasionally, a solo voice. The score includes instances of electronic music.
The soundtrack received two Golden Globe award nominations: "Best Original Score" and "Best Original Song" (for "Wunderkind").
ReleaseOn dec. 7, 2005 (10 years ago) the movie premiered in London, going on general release the following day. The movie was released dec. 8, 2005 (10 years ago) in the United Kingdom and dec. 9, 2005 (10 years ago) in North America and the rest of Europe.
DVD and Blu-ray releaseThe DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was released on Apr. 4, 2006 (9 years ago). It is available in a standard one-disc set (with separate fullscreen and widescreen editions), and a deluxe widescreen two-disc boxed set with additional artwork and other materials from Disney and Walden Media. The DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) sold four million copies on its first day of release and overtook Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (6 walls) to become the top selling DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) in North America for 2006 (9 years ago). As of dec. 2008 (7 years ago) it has grossed $353.5 million in DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) sales.
Disney made a four-disc DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) release of an extended cut of the film. It was released on dec. 12, 2006 (9 years ago) and was available commercially until Jan. 31, 2007 (8 years ago), after which Disney put the DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) on moratorium. The extended cut of the movie runs approximately 150 minutes, including an extended version of the climactic battle scene. The set also has all the features previously released on the two-disc special edition. The two further discs include a segment called "The Dreamer of Narnia," a previously unreleased feature length movie about C. S. Lewis, and additional production featurettes. Most of the extended footage, besides the extended battle sequence, are just longer shots of Narnia and footage of the Pevensies walking in Narnia.
The high-definition Blu-ray Disc version was released on May 13, 2008 (7 years ago) in the United States, and was released on Jun. 16, 2008 (7 years ago) in the United Kingdom, delayed from the original planned release date in late 2007 (8 years ago).
ReceptionNarnia opened with $23 million USD in 3,616 theatres on its opening day (December 9, 2005 (10 years ago)), averaging $6,363 per location. The movie took in a total of $65.5 million on its opening weekend (December 9–11, 2005 (10 years ago)), the 24th best opening weekend at the time, as well as the second biggest dec. opening, behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It is now third following the 2007 (8 years ago) opening of I Am Legend.
The worldwide total was $744.7 million as of Jul. 30, 2006 (9 years ago). Of that, $291.7 million came from the United States, where it was the second highest grossing movie of 2005 (10 years ago) behind Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. There it surpassed the gross of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (6 walls) by only $1 million, which grossed $896 million total worldwide (Source: Boxofficemojo). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the highest-grossing live action movie and the third highest-grossing movie overall in Disney company history before being passed in 2006 (9 years ago) by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (10 walls), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (27 walls) in 2007 (8 years ago).
Awards receivedThe Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe won several awards including the Academy Award for Makeup; the BeliefNet movie Award for Best Spiritual film; the Movieguide Faith & Values Awards: Most Inspiring Movie of 2005 (10 years ago) and Best Family Movie of 2005; and the CAMIE (Character and Morality In Entertainment) Award. Others include the British Academy movie Awards for Makeup and Hair and Orange Rising Star (James McAvoy); Outstanding Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media; the Phoenix movie Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role (Georgie Henley, Female); the Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Fantasy movie (Isis Mussenden); and the Saturn Award for Costumes (Isis Mussenden) and Make-up (Howard Berger, Greg Nicotero, and Nikki Gooley).
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