Monday, December 05, 2005

Grrrrrrr

Bookslut has a link to the Guardian's review of the movie version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Unfortunately, the reviewer is an idiot (and more unfortunately, Bookslut fails to point this out). To wit:

Narnia is a strange blend of magic, myth and Christianity, some of it brilliantly fantastical and richly imaginative, some (the clunking allegory) toe-curlingly, cringingly awful. . . .

. . . from its opening scenes of the bombing of their Finchley home in the blitz and the tear-jerking evacuation from their mother in a (spotlessly clean) steam train, there is an emotional undertow to this film that tugs on the heart-strings from the first frames. By the end, it feels profoundly manipulative, as Disney usually does. But then, that is also deeply faithful to the book's own arm-twisting emotional call to believers. . . .

Because here in Narnia is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America - that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right. . . . This appears to be CS Lewis's view, too. In the battle at the end of the film, visually a great epic treat, the child crusaders are crowned kings and queens for no particular reason. Intellectually, the poor do not inherit Lewis's earth.

I have no doubt that Disney plays up the more heroic scenes, but the reviewer obviously has read neither the book nor any of C. S. Lewis's own commentary on the book (or the first book in the series, The Magician's Nephew, which is essential to understanding why the four human children were crowned). Otherwise, she would have known that the book was never intended as an allegory; it's meant to be a hypothetical (What if we weren't the only world created? What if God created another world? What if, instead of humans, He created speaking and unspeaking animals? What if, in that world, He came in the form of a lion instead of the form of a human?). She would also have known that the book contains not only great battles, but also wonderful moments of forgiveness, humility, sacrifice, and personal courage. And she'd have known that Lewis isn't nearly the fundamentalist Christian that the reviewer and others (particularly the Christian Right) make him out to be.

If anyone actually cares to understand the Chronicles of Narnia as Lewis intended them, read his collected letters or Walter Hooper's biography/reader's guide C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide.

I was looking forward to the movie, but now, reading about how much Disney is selling this as a fundamentalist Christian movie, I kind of want to boycott it as a reaction to the marketing strategy and the co-opting of Christianity by the extremists.

7 Comments:

At 11:42 AM , Blogger LostInTX said...

The previews looked great but then again, they were only previews. I'll be dissapointed too if it falls true to the review. If you change your mind and want to see it let me know b/c my bf won't go w/me to see it.

 
At 9:25 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Hehe...I know what that's like. My husband won't see anything with Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton or Jennifer Aniston, so I usually see them with my friends.

 
At 10:51 PM , Blogger Liz said...

Bearette-- LOL! We rent movies more often than we go out to the theater, but once he allowed me to get Girls Just Wanna Have Fun... and watched it with me. Of course, I am now breaking my promise to never tell anyone about that night...

 
At 7:10 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Hehe...he'll never know ;) I have never seen that one! I'll have to check it out..

 
At 7:13 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

OMG...I just looked that up at Amazon. It had a big Recommended lightbulb on it. (I wonder why ;) It's so going on my wish list :)

 
At 10:06 AM , Blogger Frema said...

I am in the middle of reading the Chronicles and absolutely love them. I hope the movie hasn't spoiled them.

Also, I read The Magician's Nephew and loved that one, too, but I can't remember its significance in why the Pevensie children are crowned.

 
At 7:24 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Warning: Spoiler for those who haven't read The Magician's Nephew.


At the end of TMN, the coachman and his wife are "crowned" as the king and queen of Narnia, which sets up the idea of humans ruling over Narnia. Plus the children are the nieces and nephews of the Magician's nephew, the boy who "discovered" Narnia. And, I think I'm remembering this correctly, the wardrobe was built from the wood of the tree that grew from the seed of the apple that the boy brought back from Narnia. So basically, TMN sets up that humans will rule Narnia and why these four children were picked to sit in the four thrones.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home