I finally had the opportunity to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe today. As a fan of the C.S. Lewis series I had the fear that the movie wouldn't be faithful to the book, but I heard that Doug Gresham, Lewis' stepson, was an executive producer. Another fear would be that the story would get lost within all of the special effects. Some movies make up for weak stories or overwhelm the story with special effects (see Revenge of the Sith for a classic example). Even another fear would be that a movie that has kids in it would be too cute and couldn't be taken seriously.
Fortunately, all my fears were unwarranted. Yes, special effects are essential to the movie, but they are mostly used for bringing all the Narnia characters to life. This movie really shouldn't even be made without all the effects or else it would just look silly. The kids are charming and the Lucy character is cute, but it balances out well.
One weakness of the movie, if a viewer hasn't read the book, is that Aslan is a bit mysterious and his character isn’t developed enough. If the viewer has read the book then they'd understand the affection for Aslan, but the movie doesn't develop it very well. So, if you haven't read the book, read it first, then see the movie.
A quick warning for parents with young kids; the movie is rated PG, but is a bit intense. My 7 year old was crawling all over my lap, but he did like it.
All in all, a pretty darn good movie and I hope the same team decides to attack the rest of The Chronicles. Don't wait for the DVD to come out, as this one is definitely worthy of even a full price admission.