Only one movie opens wide this week, largely because the studios saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe coming and quite reasonably headed for the hills. No one wants to compete with this baby. And, evidently, with good reason: the great majority of the reactions have been positive, some of themwildly so. (Incidentally, for whatever reason, this batch of reviews is easily the best-written that I've plowed through since the inception of this feature. I won't go so far as to confidently connect this happy event to the film, but many of these are truly a pleasure to read. I'll leave it at that.) The fewnegative pieces I can find are so lonely in their sentiments that I'm forced to come to the conclusion that the movie is simply really, really good.

Surprisingly, very few of the reviews devote much space to the religious issues that have swirled around the films since its inception. The one that does, however (for those of you who don't read him regularly, Mick LaSalle is very unlikely to be a member of the proverbial far right), comes to a rather powerful conclusion, suggesting that "despite its enormous secular appeal, The Chronicles of Narnia could also be called the most effective and moving religious picture since Nicholas Ray's King of Kings." Dang. Not to, you know, put too fine a point on it or anything.

Now, I am not exaggerating at all when I tell you that I was scarred for life by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Images from both the book and the animated film are still incredibly vivid in my mind after more than 20 years - I mean, the whole thing just scared the life out of me. But after reading all these reviews? I want to see the movie. Damn you, Andrew Adamson. Damn you to hell.