The Lion, The Witch
and The Wardrobe
(Two-Disc Collector's Version)
"You're the bestest
daddy in the world!" my daughter screamed into the phone.
A little startled,
I asked "why?"
Her voice got
dramatic, as it often does. "Because you got me NARNIA!"
until that moment, I'd had no idea how much my seven year
old had fallen in love with the movie. She had not gone
with me to the
screening back in December, but had gone with cousins
while on vacation. But her excitement sure makes sense.
children go into that wardrobe, the first one, the one most
open to the wonder, is Lucy - who has to be, what, seven
years old? Unlike Harry Potter, the Pevenseys also aren't
there by an accident of birth.
tragedy is common, as Director Andrew Adamson takes pains
to establish by opening with the Blitz. While sequestered
in a country home, Lucy just happens to hide in that wardrobe.
It could happen
to anybody, and that's as good a reason as any that for
decades kids have been enchanted - enchanted, I say - by
the Narnia books, specifically The Lion, the Witch, and
the Wardrobe. In case you'd missed the point that the
film adapts the C.S. Lewis classic, many of the extras on
the DVD remind you. In keeping with that spirit, so do we.
Seven is also
a good age to become obsessive about a movie, and to want
to know everything there is to know about it. Of course,
a few older kids - like age 40 - might want to know, too.
In both cases, the DVD release can satisfy with hours upon
hours of documentaries and commentaries.
The cast gets
in on the commentaries, a cute touch that kids might want
to listen to. However, if you're looking for brilliant insights
on acting, it doesn't get much deeper than "I was
scared." Young Georgie Henley protests that she isn't that
little and expounds upon the beautiful horse she learned
to ride - kids might identify, but adults will wish they'd
just listened to the other commentary.
Or not. In both
commentaries Adamson adjusts his tone to his companions,
but in truth, it's far more absorbing when separated into
the documentary "Chronicles of a Director." As too often
happens with commentaries, actual sequences go on too long
for the anecdote or reasoning to keep babbling overhead.
The same goes
for the "pop-up" trivia version, introduced by C.S. Lewis'
stepson Douglas Gresham. Though it does offer up some nice
little tidbits, it also keeps running out of steam, popping
up with repetitive pieces of information just to remind
you it exists.
on the second disc, however, are the bevy of extras that
should keep budding aficionados busy. The aforementioned
"Chronicles of a Director" provides great insight into the
process, but also helps us understand why Adamson was such
a good choice to be the director. I'm struck by the side
by side comparisons of Lewis' sparse descriptions of certain
action sequences and the Director's choice to expand upon
them - he was right.
It's also an
honest piece. Isn't every adapter of a classic piece of
literature really making the movie of their memory of the
On this disc,
too, you can get a better appreciation of the real children
playing the Pevenseys. They go through a little bit of the
audition process, interspersed with footage of their getting
to know each other. And, of course, they travel to Narnia.
This seems better
and more appropriate than the blooper real, which is just
a bunch of blown takes and giggling. Maybe it's me, but
that's just not the same as the end of Cannonball Run
II, and who knows if kids really find that amusing?
As a friend observed, blooper reels only really work with
a liberal dose of the "f" word, and that's (thankfully)
not here at all.
Kids can also
explore an in-depth look at the creatures and myths associated
with Narnia. When you click on a creature, an intense narrator
expounds upon it over a montage of illustrations from various
stages of development - some from the books and some from
the film's concept art archives.
Oddly, if you
choose the wardrobe itself, the disc switches over to sketched
icons rather than film stills, but that takes viewers to
mini-documentaries on the making of that particular creature.
I guarantee at least an extra hour of fascination.
The menu works
pretty intuitively, which has often been a strong point
for Disney DVDs. The studio also gets packaging, as this
edition has one of the best presentations I've seen this
year - simple yet elegant. Inside the ornate slipcover lies
the wardrobe itself, which houses the two discs.
All the better
to study its carvings, which I learned from one of the documentaries
features scenes from The Magician's Nephew.
The DVD does
what one should - actually heightened my appreciation for
a movie I'd already liked. It was at least a five hour transformation,
but still it happened. After all, I owe this movie a debt
of thanks for making me the bestest daddy in the world.
hey, I'm willing to share the title.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe