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2005-12-19 18:25:09.312785+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Before I left for Oregon last Wednesday, we went to see Narnia[Wiki]. I'm not sure how to review the movie since I think a lot of the appeal is for people who loved the books, and it's been a looong time for me since I read the books. Short version: It wasn't the effects that constantly pulled me out of the illusion, it was the screenplay and the direction. The Christianity metaphors were applied with a sledge-hammer, The charm of the original books, which Charlene and I both remembered as things like the relationships with the talking animals, got lost in the later big battle scenes.

A watchable movie, not a bad one, but... well... while I don't want to offer up any spoilers there's a scene where Aslan the lion is in peril, and it was all I could do to keep from whistling "In the jungle, the mighty jungle...".

[ related topics: Religion Books Movies ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 01:04:22.12375+00 by: meuon

I enjoyed the CGI in the movie, but there were some continuity gaps that even I noticed... and funny, the "Christianity with a Sledgehammer" was lost on me.. I just don't recognize it well enough. The friends and Nancy that I saw it with had to explain it. Some things hit me weird: The human children have no special talents, yet end up in dominion over the animals and the world because of prophecy. Yeah, I guess that's a Christian/Human thing. I also thought about "the Lion sleeps tonight..." Laughing.

In the end, it was just one of I would have called "a little girls fairy tale", and to me it still is.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 14:24:51.782338+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

I much prefer Tolkein's fantasy to Lewis's. Tolkein's writing is better and his world is more believable, more complete. Haven't seen the Narnia movie, yet, though.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 15:54:30.062593+00 by: meuon

Agreed. In Tolkein's world, Carnivores eat meat.. In Narnia, it appears everything is sentient, a badger might have a fox over for tea. What does the fox eat?

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 18:04:58.026236+00 by: Dan Lyke

I guess I should also clarify that it wasn't that the metaphors were in the story that bothered me, it's that they were deus ex machina to the story. Up until the... uh... how do I do this without spoilers... rolling of the rock away from the cave entrance... I felt like there wasn't enough about what greater framework Aslan and the witch were operating under. It was a "oh, by the way, I'm back, and here's a short monologue on why".

Which, come to think of it, may have been part of why I don't remember a whole bunch about the books; everyone kneels down to Aslan but when it comes right down to it he's just another participant, and his and the humans' order in the hierarchy isn't give much thought other than "that's the way it is".

Might have to see if someone I know has the books so I can re-read 'em.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-21 14:06:23.24748+00 by: meuon

humans' order in the hierarchy isn't give much thought other than "that's the way it is".

Defines a lot of mainstream Christians/Christianity, doesn't it.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-11 15:03:57.746261+00 by: Dan Lyke

Mark Morford re-read the books (so that I don't have to):

But what I realized afterward, sadly, was that, aside from brutal abridgment, the movie wasn't all that different from the books. I've since re-read a first few of Lewis' magical tales, and they are, in fact, exactly what I don't remember them being: startlingly simple, spare, linear narratives with surprisingly unsophisticated dialogue, with nothing really explained at any length and every scene sort of matter-of-fact only barely fleshed out, and the children, indeed, unlikable and annoying as only snooty little British kids can be.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-11 16:04:36.950627+00 by: Larry Burton

Of CS Lewis' works I enjoyed the Screwtape Letters most.

I saw Narnia the other night at the behest of several people from my Church. I was disappointed.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-11 18:47:12.691456+00 by: Diane Reese

All this makes me just as glad I never got sucked into reading the books in the first place.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-01-11 18:54:47.426238+00 by: Dan Lyke

From http://sensibleerection.com/entry.php/53819 , about a video of a human in a lion pen in a zoo getting "played with" by the lion cubs:

I blame the this Narnia movie, you should never deliberately confuse people about the difference between christ and a big predatory animal.
I mean sure, they both have thick manes of hair and would prefer that you came to them of your own free will, but one of them has holes in his hands, its a sure tip off.