Sounds like … an occasionally sweeping orchestral score with a few fanciful, New Age-styled pop songs thrown in at the end.

At a glance … the pop songs are rather bland and the score is only good, not great, but it's overall a better than average soundtrack.

Most successful film scores retell the story of the movie without use of words or images. Though they may not capture every nuance of a movie plot, they still manage to convey the heart and emotion of the highlights. In this, the soundtrack for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by relatively new British composer Harry Gregson-Williams (Kingdom of Heaven, both Shrek films) generally works, but it's not likely to become regarded as a classic either.

Some tracks clearly recall the film, like "The Blitz," which cleverly uses the instruments to simulate the sounds of WWII aircraft. "The Wardrobe" manages to capture the magical wonder of the first visit to Narnia, followed by the tenderness of "Lucy Meets Mr. Tumnus." And appropriately enough, the melancholic and dramatic build of "The Stone Table" stirs the same feelings of The Passion of The Christ.

This being a single disc, key scenes like the Witch's pursuit and Aslan's glorious return are absent, though at least the rousing climactic battle is preserved. The score relies heavily on incidental music, responding to the film's action, but most of it is clear, like Aslan's sudden appearance in the fireplace during "A Narnia Lullaby." The score also lacks a strong identifiable theme like the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings films, and some of the more contemporary New Age-y touches ("Evacuating London") feel out of place.

Four pop tracks round out the album, including Alanis Morissette's "Wunderkind" from the closing credits and the breathy Enya-meets-Chariots of Fire of Imogen Heap's "Can't Take It In." Pretty as these songs are, they don't offer much insight beyond the wonder of discovering a world of fantasy. Stick to the Inspired by Narnia album for better pop/rock inspired by the themes of C.S. Lewis (or even the "original" Narnia soundtrack, The Roar of Love, from 2nd Chapter of Acts). Overall, this new soundtrack is a good one that could have been a lot worse, but also a little better—not unlike what some are saying about the film itself.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Average Rating
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Release Date
December 13, 2005
Walt Disney Records
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