Tuesday, February 22


"Aslan is on the move."

Get Religion posts on the new Chronicles of Narnia film, set to release Dec. 9:
link via Fr. Tucker
Comments by Disney veteran Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center of the University of Southern California, cut to the heart of the matter.

Of Lewis's work, Mr. Kaplan said: "There's enough story and traditional emotion in the 'Narnia' books that they can let the Christian mysticism in it either be a subtext or not a part of it at all. I suspect you can portray resurrection in the same way that E.T. comes back to life, and that practically every fairy tale has a hero or heroine who seems to be gone forever but nevertheless manages to come back."

That sound you hear is C.S. Lewis devotees (and scholars) screaming.
I think the key word that sets me on edge here is "Disney." I read that and think, "Please, anyone but them." I mean, any company that is capable of twisting The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a children's musical with a happy ending will certainly have no compunctions about tweaking C.S. Lewis to make it more P.C., or whatever they think will make them the most money. Of course they know that if they do that, they'll have devoted fans, young and old, screaming bloody murder at them, but will that be enough? I mean, said fans will still buy tickets to see the movie either way, and money talks louder than fan forums.

Where have you gone, Pete Jackson? Lord of the Rings wasn't perfect, but it was about as good as one could expect, considering all the factors involved (the necessity of making the movies less than 20 hours long, for example). LotR sacrificed several plot elements in the interest of conciseness, but in the end I think it managed to capture the spirit of the books in a way few movies do. On the other hand, with TCoN, I can very easily see them creating a movie which keeps the plot intact, and misses the point entirely.

Another problem TCoN will face is that the spiritual elements are even more overt than in LotR. Although there are Catholic themes running throughout his works, Tolkien repeatedly insisted that they were not allegories. Rather, they spring out of his concept of the truth about human nature, condition, and telos, and as such can't help but be Catholic. Had Lewis tried to assert the same about the genre of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, however, he would have been laughed at. It is almost insulting to the reader for me to write here that LWW is an allegory for the Passion. Since this is so evident throughout the work however, it stands alot stronger chance of being axed. This can't be written off as vague 'spirituality' by a director and writers. This is, without a doubt, Christianity, and all the uncomfortable baggage that goes with it.

In our favor, of course, is The Passion. It doesn't get much more uncomfortable than that, but it certainly didn't suffer in the box office. One hopes that producers will look towards that success and be more open towards Christian elements in their films.

I still keep coming back to that word, though: "Disney." *shudder*

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