Christmas 1983. I was 7. My sister, Kari, gave me what I thought at that precise moment was the worst present possible. In a year that should have been crowned with the holy trinity of GI Joe, Transformers & Star Wars (with St Lego making a miraculous appearance), I received books. And not books with big pictures, nor the instructions to build big Lego spaceships, but books with just words. And a couple of drawings that didn't even have speech bubbles. I think I made a brave face, and as she was my oldest sister, she gave me a lecture about how great reading was and how these were the books that she started reading with and I just fidgeted and wanted to play lego/Star Wars/GI Joe.
I didn't touch them until February of 1984. The books were C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The first book in the series was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I started reading it to put myself to sleep and read it through until it was finished. It was a landmark moment in my life. I was too young to recognise Christian allegory or care very much about it. I was, however, the perfect age to think that talking animals would be the coolest thing ever, were it not for the idea that there were other worlds around every corner being the coolest thing ever. I wanted Narnia to be real, just like I would want to be Indiana Jones or blow up the Death Star. I read all the books and re-read them. I read other books, (including The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper - best children's fantasy series ever) and kept seeking new worlds. I'm still seeking new worlds.
So, I went to see the movie the other day. And for the first hour or so, I was 7 again. I wanted to believe and did believe in that place through the wardrobe. It felt brilliant. I don't think I can judge its merits objectively because it achieved what for me was its only goal. Making Narnia real. So if you read the books and hoped that there really was a wardrobe that led to another world, go and see it.