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Author Comment
Mirjana1
Registered User
(12/13/05 1:02 pm)
After seeing Narnia
I read the old posting from this forum on Narnia, about writing more books, making movies and merchandise etc. The posting was from 2001. I couldn't find any recent postings with a feedback on the movie. The old postings discussed the issue of de-christianizing of the original work.
I saw the movie on the weekend, but I never read the book, so I can't tell you how much of the religious content was removed. Of course, the very act of the lion coming back is a pure depiction of resurrection, but there is never an actual mention of God (at one point, the lion tells about "a force that is guiding us" - again, no mention of faith or God).
For someone like me, who never read the original, removing this religious aspect did not present an issue - I enjoyed the movie just as well. Actually, had I though it has strong religions references, I'd probably skip on watching it. However, it probably would bother me have I first read the book, regardless of my personal belief - you grow up with something and you donít want that changed now.
I liked the way mythical creatures were used in the movie - I felt that to be much smoother than Harry Potter, where, at least to me, it felt a bit forced.
Animation was superb, and the little girl was an amazing little actress. There are moments in the movie resembling Lord of the Rings, which is to be expected, given the nature of the story telling in movies.

Overall, I liked the movie, but now I think I should read the book too.
Has anyone else seen the movie? What were your impressions?

Chris Peltier
Registered User
(12/13/05 1:29 pm)
Re: After seeing Narnia
Arrrgh! - not at you, Mirjana, but arrgh at the American preoccupation with the Christian subtext of Narnia!

Now me, I was raised by Bah'ais, so I wasn't traumatized by a Christian upbringing (like some of my friends). Bah'ais recognise Jesus, along with Abraham and Mohammad, as being prophets. Christianity was just one more, equally valid, myth system.

The Narnian Chronicles have always been one of my favorite series, probably due in part to its sense of magic, but also because of the way that it resonated with deeper meaning.

But further readings about C. S. Lewis led me to understand that he never wanted the books to be presented to children as Christian allegory! Lewis always wanted kids to puzzle it out themselves, not have it shoved down their throats! If Lewis saw how The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is being presented by the media, he'd have a cow!

I never felt preached to in those books, any more than Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series was anything more than a tale of Good vs. Evil.

Sigh. Thanks for letting me rant. I'm saving the movie for Xmas Day.

~Chandra~

Mirjana1
Registered User
(12/13/05 2:00 pm)
Re: After seeing Narnia
I guess, if I was to have an issue with that, it would be more about changing the original, and how far should film makers go. As I haven't read the book, I can't tell you was the original meaning changed or distorted. It could be that the media is blowing this out of proportion to have something to write about.
Good save for the Christmas day, it is very enjoyable. I am not sure would I like little kids to watch it (stabbing and killing and some violence and stuff - I have no kids, I donít know how much they can take).

Colleen
Unregistered User
(12/14/05 11:35 am)
Lewis's Take
I don't recall God ever being specifically mentioned in the Chronicles of Narnia and Jesus certainly wasn't.

There were parallels in all of the books with Christianity - see at <www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/...lewis.htm> the question "Is Narnia an Allegory" in which there's a brief discussion of allegory and Lewis's intent. One of the quotations there is from a letter Lewis wrote to a 5th grade class in Maryland in which he said, "I did not say to myself 'Let us represent Jesus as he really is in our world by a lion in Narnia'; I said 'Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as he became a man in our world, became a lion there, and then imagine what would happen.'"

I haven't seen the movie yet - am greatly looking forward to it - but I suspect they didn't have to change anything because the allegory was never in your face, blatant, "you will see Aslan as Jesus Christ no matter what" in the books. It was always very subtle and one could completely ignore it, if one wished (not that I wished to!), and just read the books as good adventures.

DividedSelf
Registered User
(12/14/05 2:20 pm)
Re: Stories
I was read this book when I was quite small and loved it. Later, I learned that "it's all supposed to be about Christ really". But I didn't care what anyone said, I was damned if it was all about Christ really - It was about a lion and some kids and fantastic adventure.

A story belongs to the reader, even more than the writer. If anyone, writer included, tries to tell you what it's all about, it's a kind of attempted theft. (Same goes for all those books about fairy tales and what the symbols really mean.) It's of interest to know that the parallels between Aslan and Christ aren't accidental, but that's all. Death and rebirth are not just Christian themes.

For what it's worth, if it were a Christian parable, I don't think it would work, or be consistent. One of the imperatives of Christianity is faith in Christ's return. But no one on the battlefield has any such expectation of Aslan. It comes as a complete surprise to everybody.

The film... Had no expectations, but really enjoyed it. A few very dodgy cgi moments, but the story survived those. For me, it didn't capture the magic of discovering fir trees in the back of a wardrobe, or of riding the back of a lion. But it fleshed out a lot of detail of the battle and the stone table scenes that the book hurries through so quickly.

Veronica Schanoes
Registered User
(12/14/05 3:25 pm)
Re: Stories
But when you speak of the importance of faith in Christ's return as opposed to the surprise of Aslan's reappearence, aren't those two different returns? I was under the impression that the resurrection of Christ 3 days after his crucifixion was a surprise to his followers, and that it's the second coming in which Christians are supposed to have faith. Thus Aslan's surprise return from the dead is related to Christ's resurrection, not his return.

DividedSelf
Registered User
(12/15/05 5:23 am)
Re: Stories
Okay, fair enough. I'm afraid for me that story's far more of a fairy tale than any fairy tale.

I guess I always looked at it the other way around because of the triumph and final judgement/liberation feel of his return - as opposed to all that sneaking around as a gardener stuff. Probably makes a bit more sense your way. But even more sense just as a made up story ...

Chris Peltier
Registered User
(12/15/05 2:19 pm)
Re: Stories
I'm confused - who was sneaking around as a gardener?

DividedSelf
Registered User
(12/15/05 2:42 pm)
Re: Stories
Mary Magdalen mistook Christ for a gardener.

Chris Peltier
Registered User
(12/15/05 4:00 pm)
Re: Stories
What do I know - I was raised by peacenik Bah'ais in the wilds of North Carolina!

Van45us
Registered User
(12/16/05 6:21 pm)
Re: Stories
I loved the books as a kid, dimly aware they were using Christianity as a background, more so later as I learned about it, and it never bothered me, as I feel Lewis has as much right to use that as pagans or jews or buddhists have to use those ideas in their fantasy novels. What did bother me were some of Lewis's old world ideas, but if you're going to attack that, let's get to work on Tolkien as well. Lewis's somewhat ignorant stand on progressive education REALLY irritated me, as I was a student in an American version of Summerhill, which his commentary targeted. His views on education were medieval in that respect, and I had a hard time figuring it out, since he also hated English boarding schools and the trauma involved in that. One would think he would have been a natural advocate of democratic education. But his hatred of everything "modern" colored his view of it, added to the fact he really knew nothing about it. From what I understand, his views on both education and women changed considerably after he married Joy and adopted her two stepsons. Funny how that works...

I also loved the film, found it as faithful as any of the Harry Potter movies (well, the first three, anyway!), and was overwhelmed by it the same way I was Lord Of The Rings - it was tremendously satisfying watching them get it right. Whatever "sins" they committed were those of omission, and very few, and with a modern audience, completely necessary, in my opinion. Telling girls that battles are uglier when they are involved, or a couple of the more heavy-handed lectures by Aslan, just wouldn't go over well. What does shine through is some of Lewis's more brave attempts at creating a world where everyone fits in, including mythic creatures that fundamentalists would call "Satanic" and talking animals, and human children. Ultimately, the characters are what carry the day, and that you care about them.

Lastly, I was glad to see Doug Gresham's (his stepson) name as a associate producer, as while I knew he had considerable input, it's nice to see he made something out of it as well.

Van45us
Registered User
(12/16/05 6:23 pm)
Re: Stories
Sorry, I meant he adopted Joy's sons. They were his stepsons. ;)

bielie
Unregistered User
(12/17/05 5:20 am)
Narnia.
I can remember one specific reference in Narnia to Jesus (There may be more, it is many years since I read the books) At the end ot Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan appears to the children as a Lamb. Hard to be more specific than that!
God is always referred to as "The Emperor Beyond the Sea"
As far as Lewis' critic of certain educational models go: If I remember there are a few references in the Narnia books to these 'bad' schools. (There are interesting parallel descriptions of something similar in JK Rowling: the school Dudley goes to).
His big critique of the school system is found in "The Abolition of Man", and is heavily influenced by his worlview. I found his argument very convincing. Obviously, if you have a different worldview then you will not agree with him. Someone one this thread believes Christian education traumatises children. I believe Humanist education traumatises children even more. To disagree is a basic human right.
My wife and I will go and see the movie before taking the young ones (Two and Five) to see if it is suitable. We don't want a repeat of the trauma of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

Mirjana1
Registered User
(12/17/05 11:44 am)
IS it suitable for young children?
I wouldN'T be taking such young children. There are very scary scenes with some evil charcaters, particularly in the scene of Aslan being executed. I wouldn't take a child younger than 7 to see this movie for sure. It is very dramatic. The ultimate battle scene also has violence and I find it unsuitable for such youngsters.

dlee10
Registered User
(12/17/05 7:47 pm)
Re: IS it suitable for young children?
I took my daughters, 13 and 7. It was rated PG not PG13 so I thought the violence would be more implied than in your face. Mistake. It was too much for my 7 year old. She grabbed my hand and covered her eyes. The battle was graphic to say the least.

Eien
Unregistered User
(12/18/05 4:13 pm)
The Christmas Party
I've yet to see the movie, though I really want to. However, I was wondering about it's portrayle of one scene from the book...

The scene in question is when the White Witch crashes a Christmas Party and turns everyone attending to stone.

My problem is that they're never adressed again. They never said the White Witch took them to her castle, and they referenced them being returned to normal. They were just...forgotten. I don't know why, but even though you can simply assume they were returned to normal, it never really sat well with me.

On a side note, has anyone noticed that the White Witch seems to more closely resemble he illustrations of Jadis from The Magician's Nephew? A rather nice touch, seeing how most dipictions of her more resemble the Snow Queen.

Mirjana1
Registered User
(12/19/05 4:47 pm)
Re: The Christmas Party
Totaly agreed with you, there were some disjointed parts, which is the directing weakness. You can tell how imporant is to be a good director, even when you have such great book to begin with. I noticed few such moments when the scene stops and new one begins without much connection.
I enjoyed it never the less, it is a good movie. I loved the appereance of the phoenix and chimeraes - so clever. Subtle yet effective - like cyclops. Mythical creatures are not easy to get incoporated.

darklingthrush
Registered User
(12/20/05 10:03 am)
subtext
I work at a bookstore where I get to see the marketing blitz that is Narnia everyday. I can't help but shrug over all the books that ride on the coattails of the success of the movie, books or children's wonder like the many Christian devotionals etc. That I think is the true sadness, instead of just letting the books speak to themselves to the kids, the media and the Church's use it to reiterate their messages to the children.

But then again, when the LOTR movies came out similar titles abounded such as Walking with Frodo, which was a Christian devotional as well. I always complain sorely about it because the money from those books disseminating these children's and adult fantasy works is certainly not going into a Christian charity...no it's going into some guy's pocket who is using the success of the films and books to line their wallet and push their agenda.


At any rate, I read the books as a child too. I ignored the subtext and instead enjoyed the adventures, the maturation of the children, and the braveness and wonder of characters like Lucy. Lewis and Tolkien liked to point to other myths as indicators, signs and symbols pointing to Christianity. And in some ways can't their use of these symbols point back not only at Christianity but also to more universal symbols and myths. As stated before, Christianity is certainly not the only system of beliefs centralized around sacrifice and resurrection.

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