Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia

It was inevitable that after the huge success of "The Lord of The Rings Trilogy" the oeuvre (I've always wanted to use that word) of C. S. Lewis would be mined for more pg rated family movies. I liked the LOTR films a great deal and think they will stand up over time a hell of a lot better than any of the "Star Wars" films. If you haven't seen the first "Star Wars" movie since you were a kid you should watch it again just to hear the jilted dialogue, it makes "Log Jamming" seem like "Uncle Vanya".
The tough thing about making a movie from a well loved book is that your core audience stands to be the most disappointed in the film because film can rarely equal the saturation of depiction that literature can. In this regard "The Chronicles of Narnia" suffers from the fate of every other adaptation, it's character seem a little flat and not as deeply motivated as the ones you know from the book. That's not really fair because as a movie "The Chronicles of Narnia" is an very good film. The Christian viewer will see all sorts of Christian themes in allegory: Peter the rock on whom Christ built His church, doubting Tumnus and Edmund the confessor. For every person acquainted with Christianity it's hard not to view the White Witch played by Tilda Swinton and Aslan voiced by Liam Neeson as representing Satan and Christ respectively. Everyone else will see a clever fantasy movie and may wonder why some people rave about this film.
Having wasted every opportunity a classical Roman Catholic education provides, I was surprised to have learned something about my faith. Specifically I never quite understood what the big deal was about the forgiveness of sin, why did God have to go through all that trouble when He could just let it slide, He is God after all. This films depicts quite well in allegory, how and why sin separates us from God and how and why we are reconciled to Him. For that reason alone, if no other, "The Chronicles of Narnia" is a film well worth seeing.

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