The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by Michael J. Lewis
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979) [TV Movie]
Review: Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The
4.5 / 5 Stars
C. S. Lewis' classic "Chronicles of Narnia" book series is one of the more beloved book series of all time. The first book in the Chronicles is "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". It follows the adventures of four children and their adventure in the magical land of Narnia. Narnia is currently in a perpetual state of winter because the White Witch has banished Christmas. The children help Aslan, the great Lion King (no relation to Simba) fight the White Witch. It's an exciting story filled with plenty of moral lessons, and even has a parallel to the story of Christ. (Aslan is killed, then resurrected.)
In 1979, the Children's Television Workshop and director Bill Melendez (who directed "Looney Tunes" shorts as well as voicing "Snoopy" in the Charlie Brown cartoons) teamed up together to create a feature-length animated version of this story. Composer Michael J. Lewis was commissioned to compose the score, and the result was a highly lyrical and emotionally moving work.
From the outset of the opening titles, Lewis has composed a string-based main theme that shows up throughout the score. Mystical by nature and hinting of romance, this main theme reminds me of some of the epic scores that Maurice Jarre did back in the 1960s - it's that lyrical and sweeping. The chase cues contain a theme all their own, and it provides excellent tension and drama. I hadn't seen the film for nearly 20 years, but just hearing the score allowed images to pop into my head that I had forgotten. The main "Battle" cue is six and a half minutes of pure lyrical action. The motifs that we had been hearing throughout the film come to a head, and nearly all of them make an appearance in this cue.
It's tough to tell the size of the orchestra used, but there is such a feeling of energy and emotion presented in the performance that it doesn't matter if it was a 20-piece orchestra, or an 80-piece orchestra. Lewis' score, as simple as the themes might seem is a highly effective one. In fact, it was good enough to win him a (much deserved) Emmy award for his work. Running almost 50-minutes long, this nostalgic promotional album was good enough to make my personal Top 10 list of the year. While Lewis doesn't seem to have been scoring any films lately, this is an album that you should make every effort to find.
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