All my seven Narnian books... began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.
At first I had very little idea how the story would go, but then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it...once He was there He pulled the whole story together.
C. S. Lewis
“It All Began with a Picture”
Even if Andrew Adamson’s adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe were to possess no other merits, it does get the pictures right. Thanks to cinematographer Donald McAlpine, production designer Roger Ford, and a team of CGI wizards employed by Weta Workshop, that snowy wood conveys what Lewis called Northernness; the faun named Mr. Tumnus, his umbrella, and the nearby Edwardian streetlamp, are all wonderfully incongruous, piquant, and-as in the book-strangely comforting. These pictures, and the many other images that carry the story forward, materialize an imagination that longs for the mythic but savors coziness even more. About a dozen minutes into the film, we know we are safe in Narnia.
Adamson accepts Lewis’s hodgepodge of legend and lore: centaurs and minotaurs, Father Christmas, a snow queen out of Hans Christian Andersen who is served by dwarfs out of Wagner’s Rhinegold and opposed by talking animals out of The Wind and the Willows. It’s easy...