A healthy budget that tries to wash away the beloved but very "playhouse" version of the original BBC series. Disney seem to be the perfect place for this story that is both colorful and magical, has talking animals and an evil Ice Queen, but the fight sequences are underwhelming and staged to be as "safe" as possible for the entire family and the "younger" actors feel uncomfortable in several scenes.
The problem is, in my imagination, there was always a lot of blood. I mean, the Narnia books are the Crusades for kids, with extra lashing of middle-Englandness. Ana Mardoll's excellent deconstructions of the books' racism and misogyny and dubious theology have got me thinking about Narnia again and one thing I think Lewis was great at was evoking in-between worlds, half real and half dream. The film, not so much.
This film is a modern epic, nearly two-and-a-half hours of extremely well-paced drama and exposition, gorgeous cinematography (I particularly appreciated the overhead shots and also the motif of obstructed views), appropriately-used CGI alongside truly beautiful costume, & impressive performances by all lead and voice actors. Shouldn't be overlooked for its blockbuster status - does the illustrious source much honor.
I wonderfully fully realized work of art! I had read the book, and this movie just took it to the next level. Not soiling the source, but enhancing it without replacing any of the primary elements. A visual feast, and an acting barrage of greatness through and through. I can watch it again and again.