I will not attempt to write a proper review for a movie like this, knowing there are lots of fans out there who can do the proper research on the actors, screenplay, compare it with similar movies and other such professional stuff. I will just give my comments on having read the book many many winters ago and having just watched the movie.
I was disappointed at how watered-down it was. The book was clearly inspired by the Gospels, using the lion Aslan to tell the story of Jesus who led His people against the evil ruler of the age, how He sacrificed Himself to save the guilty from death, and how He rose again from the death, more powerful than before. Very little was said of the sacrifice and coming back; it was as though Aslan simply knew something that the Witch did not, and it worked to his advantage. Without talking about how Aslan had created Narnia and now reclaims it, freeing his people from the rule of the Witch, the battle is little more than a civil war.
I suppose it was intentionally kept neutral and watered down, leaving churches with the task of explaining the meaning to non-Christians who are invited to Christmas services. Unfortunately, many people simple compared it with Lord Of The Rings and commented on how this Narnia story is more predictable as good will always win. They are missing the whole point of course. At least my church explained that while Harry Potter tells (misleadingly) of magic users who live among us in the real world, Narnia tells of another world that is clearly not in the real world that we live in, and hence is a fairytale where magic can exist. Hence license for a story of magic to be told in church?
Whatever. There is a lot of concern among church-goers over stories of magic, and some parents had been telling their children that “Harry Potter is evil”. I get a little upset over people who dismiss fantasy stories as evil, without having read any of them. The setting just makes the story more fun to read. It is the content of the story that is more important, whether the story is teaching proper values to your children. Children should be taught to tell fantasy from truth anyway. Silly, family-oriented movies that show people doing the wrong things and laughing them off can do more harm to growing children, but parents think that they are fine. Are the stories teaching your children to work hard for what he wants and to stand up for what he believes in, or teaching them to sneak out of difficult situations?
The rest of the story was exciting enough, with discovery, friendship, escape and war. The actors were fantastic, the Witch can be intimidating and comforting as needed, Lucy was innocent and sweet, Peter was kingly when he was knighted. I’m looking forward to how other 6 books will be interpreted for the big screen.
You can read about the movie at imdb.