Narnia: Take the kids, but leave the Bible at home
Just because someone sacrifices his own life for a traitor’s, and then happens to resurrect, breaking a stone table in the process, does not mean he is Jesus Christ. Yet “Narnia” has become the latest battleground between Christians and non-Christians since Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.
Douglas Gresham, the loving step-son of C.S. Lewis, the author of the Narnia books, notes that the whole religious pandemic concerning the movie is an “American disease,” and his fellow “Brits don’t give two figs about that aspect.” People, it’s just a movie. And a good one at that.
“Narnia” adds a remarkable visual story for the cinematic holiday season.
Lewis wrote seven books in the “Narnia” series. Although “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is technically the second installation of the series, the movie hints at becoming the next “Harry Potter” sensation with special effects and lovable characters.
The unknown factor of the young actors adds leaps and bounds to the Pevensie children’s performance. The on-screen siblings ooze both understanding and annoyance with each other, enough to drive the four through the magical wardrobe in the first place. These children are well-spoken and polite, even to each other, in good old English fashion. It’s a good thing too, as American children might not give talking animals the time of day to explain themselves before trying to pop a cap in their bums.
Therefore, these cheery-o children already understand the importance of formality, and tradition. The culminating battle is even regal in its on-screen presence, allowing each character to shine, and participate, in his or her own way. Not to mention, when Aslan the lion races in and removes the witch’s face is pretty cool, too.
The booming, yet always-in-control voice of Liam Neeson, who has had ample practice in the dramatic, mentoring role, appropriately stands in for the children’s missing father figure. Aslan is sure to be a favorite for children, and will temporarily devastate them as he allows all the uglies of the film to sheer his mane for their White Witch’s battle shroud.
But, like all good family movies, good triumphs in the end. For now, at least.
While some may rave their fanatical heads off about the religious symbolism, equating the White Witch of Narnia with the devil and tempting young, misunderstood Edmund as Judas, in my humble opinion, it’s all a bit of a reach.
There is no reason for Jeb Bush to go out on a holy crusade and attempt to have all of the children of Florida read the books to better understand Christianity. They could just as well read the “Chronicles of Narnia” to understand European history.
Director Andrew Adamson also directed “Shrek” for Disney. Does that mean Shrek is God and Fiona is Mary? When did Christianity become the monopoly for interpreting books and movies? There are mythical creatures fighting talking animals to end a tyrant’s rule over their home. That is the story of any religion, any history, any fantasy-fed tale. No one prays. No one falls from Heaven. A little boy makes a mistake because his older siblings are picking on him. Does this mean any middle child could fall into the graces of the devil, making a Judas-like slip? Where does it end?
Right here, for this review anyway.
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