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(Review originally written at 25 January 2009)

In my opinion "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was more a movie that got aimed toward young movie goers, lets say about the age of 12. This latest Chronicles of Narnia entry got obviously aimed toward a slightly older audience. It's a bit more serious and less cuddly all, which makes this movie even a better one to watch than its predecessor.

Not that I was the biggest fan of the first movie but I saw the potential the franchise had and despite its obvious flaws I gave the movie the benefit of the doubt and gave it an high rating, simply because the movie did not failed at it to bring some quality entertainment. Like many sequels of lately, the movie-makers actually seem to spend time to look at how to improve sequels and learn from their mistakes from the first movie. This movie is really less flawed than its predecessor. For instance the story flows better (probably because of the fact that we already know the main characters from the first movie, so no introductions are required) and the movie handles its characters better as well. It helps that there are slightly less characters this time and it definitely also helps as well that the characters are not as sweet and cuddly as well. It's a more matured movie, just like all of its characters.

It's also a better looking movie. I was never too impressed by the special effects from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" but I must say that in this movie they did a considerable better job with it. It definitely helped that they gave the special effects department a bigger budget this time. This is also partly what got the franchise in trouble though. Despite being received well at the box offices, it didn't provided Disney a profit. The Chronicles of Narnia gets now continued with the help from a different studio, that still needs to be found but I'm sure that will succeed at this. It's an interesting and potentially a very profitable franchise for any studio basically.

What perhaps also gives the movie a better look is Karl Walter Lindenlaub camera-work, who already also had a lot of experience with multi-million dollar budget movies, having worked Roland Emmerich in the past, on his more earlier movies.

It's not like the story of this movie is much better though but perhaps this is also what makes the movie better to watch. There are no distracting side-plots and the movie is pretty much straightforward. It becomes obvious from the first minute on what needs to happen and the movie builds up to that main point, without ever really diverting. It makes the story easy, as well as pleasant to follow. The movie simply brings some fine and good looking entertainment.

Just like in the first movie, it are mostly the battle sequences that impress. It's surprisingly large scaled all for such a family-friendly movie. The movie also isn't afraid to fully show its battles and everything that comes with it. So we seeing people dying and falling and all things like that, as you could expect from a movie featuring epic battle sequences.

Of course there is also a slightly Christian undertone again but in this case it doesn't work out as distracting and obvious as it did in the first movie. I was a bit afraid they would give Aslan (who basically is God) too much screen time and I also had heard stories like that in advance. However as it turned out, his screen time is actually quite limited and his 'wise' words and philosophies are therefore also not as annoying and distracting from the movie as I had feared.

The movie obviously spend most of its budget on its visual aspects, so no big acting names are involved with this movie this time. Yes, Aslan is still voiced by Liam Neeson but as earlier mentioned his role is relatively small. Tilda Swinton also makes a very small cameo as the the White Witch. The role she played in the previous movie. It's about an 10 seconds reprise really.

If you liked the first movie, you'll like this movie probably just as much and perhaps even better!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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