There’s a rightful king. An evil tyrant. A battle between good and evil on a wide plain with stirring strings and powerful drums to heighten the emotional impact. It’s even filmed in New Zealand.

Morgan Morel
“Away Michael Jackson, away!” (Courtesy of Disney)

But it’s not “Lord of the Rings.” Rather, it’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” a children’s version of the Hollywood epic, and what’s sure to be the first installment of a feature-film series based on C.S. Lewis’s beloved tales.

The four Pevensie children (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skander Keynes and Georgie Henley) accidently stumble into Narnia through a seemingly normal wardrobe. Narnia, a land held under the enchantment of the evil White Witch, also the erstwhile queen, has apparently been waiting for them to rescue it from the wintry clutches of the witch’s magic. Through their adventure, they encounter some lovable beavers, a pack of blood-hungry wolves, and Aslan, the majestic lion who rules over the wood. Hence: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The film, though aptly ambitious in its scope and appropriately tender in its treatment of the story itself, stumbles over a few common mistakes. Though the plot stays admirably close to the actual novel, unnecessary cinematic attention to the more screen-friendly aspects of the story – epic swordfight, anyone? –

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