Just got back from seeing Narnia with my fifteen year old daughter. Maybe I'm too hard to please, but although I thought it was good, and in some ways excellent, I can't really rave about it. Part of the problem, perhaps, is that we watched the film in a theater full of adolescents of varying chronological ages which was somewhat distracting, at least early on.
The movie gets off to a sluggish start (after the opening sequence of a WW II bombing raid over English city), taking a bit too long to set the stage for the four Pervensie children's introduction to the land of Narnia. Once there, though, the story picks up the pace and remains quite faithful to Lewis' tale.
I was impressed, in fact, by the fidelity of the film to Lewis' Christian imagery. The theme of redemption, substitutionary atonement, and the sacrificial death and resurrection of Aslan, who destroys the wicked witch in the final conflict of good vs. evil are all pretty explicit. So, too, is the centrality of humanity to God's plan to redeem the cosmos.
It's a good family film with generally outstanding cinematography (some scenes appear to be deliberately shot in a retro fashion which reminds the viewer of older filmmaking) and adequate acting on the part of the main characters. The girl who plays Lucy (Georgie Henley)is talented, but Jadis the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) seems a little unconvincing in the role of incarnated evil.
The computer generated images are fantastic. You cannot tell whether the creatures you see in the film are real or products of computer wizardry, and in fact the beavers are among the movie's highlights. The final battle scene, similar in some ways to The Lord of the Rings' visual effects, is amazingly realistic.
I have never seen a movie in which the resurrection of Christ was depicted in a way that does the event dramatic justice. Unfortunately, this one doesn't either. One moment Aslan is dead, then there's an earthquake and he's alive, but the filmmakers don't really capture the awe and incredulity that would accompany such an event. Maybe it's asking too much for any movie to capture something of what that would be like.
Nevertheless, seeing Narnia is a fine way for kids to be exposed to the romance of redemption in the Christian gospel. It'll fire their imaginations, and they'll see a portrayal or aspect of Christ (unintended by the film's creators or not) that is not usually emphasized in films with religious overtones - Christ the Warrior-King.
My daughter gives it five stars (out of five). Her curmudgeonly father gives it four.