Showing well-known rivals like "King Kong" or "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" its limits at least at the US-Box office, The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe advances to a surprising success in the year 2005.
At the point of the DVD release Buena Vista/Disney provided the Single-Disc Edition with the cut version, while the uncut version is only available in combination with the more expensive Collector's Edition.
At the same time to the DVD release in the USA the rumors mill was working overtime that Disney was preparing an extended version, which proved true in the end.
To the cut report
For this cut report I compared the uncut theatrical Version, published by Buena Vista/Disney to the extended version, the so called Collector's Edition, also published by Buena Vista/Disney
In general the following can be said about the new version: A lot of extensions of scenes were added, which give several scenes a slightly smoother approach but sometimes are just needless. At no point in time there are important extensions, which may be crucial for the movie. So Adamson's decision to protract the flight scene at 37:23 seems hindering in my point of view because the new scenes offer no new impressions and protract the whole thing.
In return the added scenes when shooting with bow and arrows are chosen better, for it is unlikely that a girl is that good with the first shot. For many film fans the new added battle scenes seem to be important and so there are some changes in that part of the movie.
The question, which version it should be in the end: uncut theatrical version or extended version? Everybody has to choose for himself. The new battle scenes are eye-candy and the other changes are that marginal, that you should be satisfied with your theatrical version and don't have to get the twice as expensive Collector's Edition. The CE captivates with two additional bonus discs and a noble package and clearly addresses the collectors. By the way, the mentioned 15 minutes of new scenes, how it is emblazoned across the backside of the Collector's Edition, could not be found.
As long as not declared elsewise the time informations refer to the uncut theatrical version. Dialogues in square brackets are there for orientation and are contained in the theatrical version. Overall the extended version is 6:53 minutes longer than the uncut theatrical version.
In the Extended version another more complex Disney-logo was chosen.
TV (theatrical version) left, EV (extended version) right
Farewell at the station: 02:59 - 04:58
At the farewell scene it is remarkable that Adamson reinserted a lot of minimal scene extensions by what the angle not only levels at the Levensie family. Wouldn't both version be watched at the same time, this wouldn't even catch someones eye.
The camera movement from the station concourse to the platform was extended.
The scene when the mother says goodbye to the kids is framed a little bit more detailed at this point. After asking Lucy whether it is warm enough, she turns around to her youngest son Edmund immediately in the TV. In the EV Lucy also hugs her mother and there is a shot/contra shot at the mother and the eldest daughter as her only is said goodbye silently and through eye contact.
However in the EV it is missing when the mother is turning towards her son. The EV starts when the mother is already turned towards her son.
After Edmund had been observing the poster for the "sending to the childland" a short dialogue was removed in the TV:
Edmund:" It is boring in the countryside."
While continuing to fix the shield to Edmund's jacket the mother shortly looks up.
Susan: "But it is safe there, Edmund."
[Edmund: "Dad wouldn't send us away if he was here."]
After the hugging from Susan the cut change to the whistling railroad employee was removed.
A short shot of more parents, who say goodbye, were reinserted when the four are heading to the train.
A contra shot at the mother as she watched her children going away can be seen at this point in the EV.
When Lucy looks back one more time she sees a mother with a child. Her brother calls on her to walk further. The latter is also included in the TV.
A shot to a girl watching out the window was removed.
Again a short sequence is missing, in which more children enter the wagon.
At the departure of the train several more shots of the parents, who are standing at the platform and are waving for farewell, were reinserted. Once again there is a close shot of the mother, who can hardly hold her tears.
A longer scene has been re-integrated into the credits in which Lucy tries to cheer up her brother Edmund by giving him her stuffed toy bunny. Edmund is not impressed and gives it to the little boy across of him who is visibly delighted. After that the train arrives at the station which is shown in the Theatrical Version as well.
After the talk with the professor the TV switches directly to the cricket game. The EV shows a close up of the wardrobe before the camera pans over to the window and we hear Peter talking from the Off, followed by laughter and more talking about the game which provides a changeover to the game itself in both versions.
A part of Peters run has been cut for continuity.
Escape from Mrs. MacReady: 37:23 - 37:45
After Edmund has sent the ball through the window the children try to escape from Mrs. MacReady. A few shots from the TV have been removed and a longer chasing sequence has been put in in which some scenes seem to be alternating.
In the Extended the children are leaving the scene of the crime. After that we see them running up the stairs. The camera stays with their feet and the four are running into the next room, finding out that this isn't the right way. They leave the room and run across the hall and up the stairs to the next room. The camera pans across the floor and the children reach a locked door. We hear the housekeepers steps and Peter mentions that she's faster than he had expected.
The TV is different as well as shorter here. After leaving the scene of the crime the kids are running through a hallway. They enter a room where there is no other way out. After leaving the room they run through the hallway again and up the stairs until Susan stands in front of a closed door.
After this door is closed as well, the hunt continues. Down the stairs, across two hallways and a thick curtain into another room until the reach a dead end again, all the while hearing the housekeepers footsteps in the background. The dead end is reached right after running down the stairs in the TV.
More running around before they finally reach the wardrobe.
Longer shots of the kids observing the winterly Narnia. Close ups of Lucy, Susan and Edmund.
An alternative shot of Susan has been removed from the Extended.
Susan lies down in the snow, making a snow angel. After a cut to Lucy we see the four walking through the forest from a birds eye view.
In exchange, a long shot of Peter falling into the snow has been removed.
The walk to the beavers home is longer, accompanied by impressive shots of the environment.
The arrival is a lot shorer in the TV. After the slow camera pan to the "house" Mrs. Beaver appears right away in the TV. The Extended features a bit more dialogue along the way before Lucy knells down to wipe away some snow, uncovering a fish frozen inside the ice. She watches it for a moment before following the others.
Edmund walks among the sculptures a bit longer.
A shot from the TV of Edmund turning his head is split in the Extended. While he still looks to the right the movie intercuts to a shot of Edmund from farther away before it changes back to the shot of Edmund turning his head.
After he turns his head more shots of sculptures have been added.
A short shot of wolves running down the slope has been re-integrated.
The wolves search the beavers home and tear the place apart.
The scene on the stone bridge has been polished to look a little less fake. The trees in the background are different and better presented. The sky has been changed and the colors are livelier.
No time difference
After the four got out of their wet clothing, the Extended shows a longer sequence of them walking through the land.The TV shows the witch at the river right away.
The archery: 1:27:17 - 1:27:24
Remarkable here is that Adamson used various alternative shots to picture Susans archery. Apart from a longer presentation of the area the differences are marginal but make somewhat more sense in picturing a young girl with little to no experience with bow and arrow.
While the TV shows the event from between two rocks and farther away the Extended shows a higher shot of the area, followed by a shot of some archers leaving the scenery. Then follows a closer shot of the range with the archers in the foreground and Lucy and Susan in the background.
Left TV, Right EV
-1 Sec.: removed shot from the TV
Additional shot from the front of Susan straining the bow.
While the TV shows Susan from the right the Extended shows her from the left and makes visible the expression of doubt on her face.
Left TV, Right EV
no time difference
In the Extended, Susan shoots a second arrow because the first one missed the target.
Because two arrows were shot in the Extended, naturally there are two arrows sticking inside the target. In the TV there is only one arrow, despite the fact that it is the same shot.
Left TV, Right EV
no time difference
Peter and Edmund are seen a bit earlier on their horses as they come riding around the boulder.
The training fight between Peter and Edmund has been extended with numerous very short shots.
The battle: 1:44:17 - 1:55:29
Mostly air battles and flying sequences have been added. Especially the winged creatures of the witch are playing a more significant role now, but Peter and Edmund too are seen in additional fight scenes.
The witch sends in her winged creatures to stop the aerial assault.
The following scenes are in different order in both versions. No difference in running time occurs. On the left we see the screens from the TV while on the right the Extended is shown.
Here the Extended presents an air battle between the witches troops and Peters. Numerous combatants crash into each other in midair and fall to the ground. A gryphon of the Royal troops throws another boulder onto the enemy, knocking down several soldiers.
Right after the air battle both versions show the respectively missing scenes from 1:46:15. After that both versions are identical again. On the left we see the screens from the TV while on the right the Extended is shown.
A soldier of the Royal troops is knocked down by a minotaur, who himself is knocked off screen right after by a rhino that continues to rampage after that.
After the phoenix has been summoned he bursts into flames in the TV right away. The Extended, however, contains more fighting at this point. Archers are unsuccessfully trying to shoot the bird down while one more minotaur is killed with a lance. One of the witches creatures flies up to bring the phoenix down. Peter grabs a lance. Edmund witnesses what is happening while Peter brings himself into a good position to kill the flying creature. More enemies are killed on the ground and now the phoenix bursts into flames in the Extended.
A few enemies are burning to death in the Extended. In addition, the battlefield has been parted and the fire keeps the troops from advancing.
In the TV, one cannot really see what brings the rhino down that is supposed to support Oreius with his attack on the witch. A very brief close up of the one of the creatures that are attacking the rhino has been integrated into the Extended while the rhino proceeds to run in the TV (8 Frames). However, if you look hard enough, the creatures are recognizable in the TV as well.
The duel between the generals has been extended. Otmin presses Oreius against a boulder but is pulled with him and collides with a boulder himself.
Oreius draws his sword, tosses it into the air and catches it with his other hand.
During the aerial assault on the witch we can see the gryphons claws as he flies towards the witch.
Ginarrbrik, the witches servant, wants to finish off a soldier as he is attacked by Edmund with his sword. Edmund only hits the servants chain mail and cuts off a part of his beard. Ginarrbrik and his beard plummet down and the dwarf lies on the ground unconscious.