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Mainstream - The Chronicles of Narnia - Mom Reviewed - The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

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The Chronicles of Narnia - BBC
4 Series 18 episodes
4 DVD
BBC Warner Home Video 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia DVD set features 4 of the C.S. Lewis books as adapted by the BBC between 1988 and 1990 . The books are The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (6 episodes), Prince Caspian (2 episodes), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (4 episodes), and The Silver Chair (6 episodes). A fourth DVD includes special features.

This 1988 BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis' book The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is very faithful to the original version.  Each of the 6 parts of the TV mini-series is around 26 minutes and ends with a cliffhanger.

The story is that of the classic 1950's novel - young Lucy, along with her sister Susan and brothers Edmund and Peter, are evacuated to rural England during the time of WWII.  They are sent to avoid being in London during bombings.  They arrive at a mysterious and grand manor, and quickly set about exploring every nook and cranny.  While they are in the far reaches of the attic, they discover a room with an old wardrobe.  Lucy (the youngest) opens the wardrobe, only to discover an enchanted world that she is able to access through the back. 

The story itself is enough to set any child's imagination spinning wildly for many years (in fact, I read this book when I was in elementary school, and it still has an overwhelming hold on me).   To see it come to life on the small screen was amazing (and yes I have seen the feature film).

I watched it with my family (4 kids ages ranging from 6 to 11) on a blustery Saturday afternoon.  What a treat!!  The kids couldn't wait for the next episode - and quite honestly neither could I.  It was enchanting, captivating, and remarkably loyal to the book.  I had originally thought that a series created in the 1980's would somehow not stand the test of time...I was wrong.  To be fair, there were a couple of things that were a little out dated (animal costumes and green screen technology were not quite what they are now), but the way that the supernatural creatures were handled was fitting for that era. 

We all found it a refreshing change from the fast paced, quick edited, slightly aggressive films and TV programs of today.  The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe had an almost hypnotic quality to it, with beautiful scenery, calm, mesmerizing music, and authentic characters.  We were all enthralled. 

I have not had time to watch parts 2, 3, and 4 of the DVD set, but I must say that I can hardly wait, and my kids are also looking forward to the rest of the series.  I highly recommend this series especially for admirers of the books, but also for anyone who loves to embark on fantastic journeys. Get it and enjoy!

Special Features on The Chronicles of Narnia DVD set are Past Watchful Dragons - Oxford Historian Humphrey Carpenter describes how C.S. Lewis came to write The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first Narnia book; Interviews from the 2003 cast reunion; Historic interviews from the series premiere; Special Effects footage; Outtakes; Photo Galleries

Carolyn Genge

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