Often times, after I finish watching a film, I spend a bunch of time online looking at message boards and reading reviews, trying to see what other people thought of the movie. But if a film contains some noteworthy special effects, chances are I’m nerding out doing fx research and scouring youtube. The technical aspects of a film and what goes into that process, anything from the camera work to the makeup, has consistently been my favorite thing to dissect in movies. In this series I explore that passion and break down key effects work. Today I’m looking at The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Chronicles of Narnia is a large scale fantasy epic based off the popular children’s book series written by C. S. Lewis. After The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, two sequels followed: Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The first film in the series was nominated for best visual effects and took home the award for best makeup at the 78th Academy Awards.

There’s an extensive team behind the effects in this film that grew along with the franchise. Richard Taylor and his team at Weta Workshop were at the forefront of the film’s creative design and established the elaborate fantasy world of Narnia. A team at Rhythm and Hues also worked on the film’s visual effects including the lion Aslan and other creatures such as the Gryphon, Centaurs, and a battle of 40,000 CG characters. Howard Berger was in charge of the Oscar winning make-up effects. Mark Rappaport Creature Effects created fully animatronic reindeer after the film was denied access to the live animals.


The lion Aslan was entirely CGI. An impressive feat, comparable to this year’s Life of Pi.

Here’s some detailed makeup work on James McAvoy’s character Mr. Tumnus.

More creature work.


This featurette titled “Behind the Magic of Narnia” takes a look at the creature design, hurdles of blending CGI and practical effects, the magnificent lion and the large scale battle.

Here’s a snippet of the super cool documentary called Fantastic Flesh (a must see for any effects junkies) that goes through the Narnia makeup effects. [It comes in at the 2:17 to 5:05 minute mark]