Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gonna See Narnia? Read It?

I read The Chronicles of Narnia years ago (about fourty!) to my kids, but am reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe now and plan to read the whole thing in January. There's a good bit of discussion about it. Anyone planning or wanting to do anything with it, here or elsewhere?


Blogger Gene Kleppinger said...

I saw the movie on Sunday and it is excellent. The cinematic liberties and inventions do not intrude on the clear exposition of the plot, and Lucy gets an extra-special closing spot that highlights her triumphant character portrayal. Aslan-after-the-Stone-Table is not quite large enough, and the battle gets far too much screen time, but the Witch is played to perfection (if that's possible).

Wednesday, 14 December, 2005  
Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

Gene, you may have already read "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" an article published in CT (see the link in the sidebar); but if not, Jeffrey Overstreet agrees that the movie is really good. However, he sees some problems with the adaptation. Overstreet complains that director Adamson "sacrifices far too much of Lewis's most essential dialogue," "replaces the joys of [the] long, memorable sequences like the melting of the witch's dominion," managed to remove the "unsafeness" [my quotation marks] of Aslan, and makes far too much of the battle scenes. I haven't seen the movie yet, but (thanks to your loaning my your copy of the book), I'm reading it again carefully. Btw, we're discussing it this Sunday in our "between the services" class. In case I don't get to see the movie before then (still calculating final grades), stop by.

Wednesday, 14 December, 2005  
Blogger Mason Smith said...

My oldest son, now 14, read it two years ago--just a story as a story--and didn't find Narnia too exciting. In fact, he was quite negative about it.
But we saw the movie recently, after having a discussion about the symbolism in the novel: Aslan is a Jesus figure, etc., and he came away with a very different view. He was able to pick out other parallels after watching the movie, and is now reading the novel again with enjoyment.
I think looking for that extra dimension in the text added a lot of fun for him, and perhaps for all of us. It was like a puzzle.
On a related note, I saw a short news biref on the internet about some California parents, part of an atheist organization, who were calling for a boycott of the movie on the grounds that their children were being exposed to "Christian propaganda." They apparently feared the movie alone would stimulate interest in Christian through on the part of their kids.
I'm not sure what to think about this claim, but I'd be intersted in your reactions.

Friday, 16 December, 2005  
Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, 16 December, 2005  
Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

Mason, here’s what Tom Heinen, referring to Douglas Gresham--Lewis’s step-son, who was deeply involved with the production of the movie--says about the movie’s implied Christian theme-work:

One would think that the parallels with Christ are beyond obvious.

But Gresham, who also is author of a new memoir, "Jack's Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis," contends otherwise.

"That's only because you come from a Judaic-Christian background," said Gresham, a non-denominational Christian who sees the Jesus story as a myth that is true. "If you came from a Hindu background, you would find the name of that particular god to be something very different. The myth of a dying god who dies for his people and comes back is to be found in ancient Hindu mythology, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Norse mythology, and so on."

"So, while Jack (as Lewis was known) used all of the mythologies of man in creating this mythological soup called Narnia, I'm sure he wasn't trying to directly write a Christian book. We know that from what he said himself. But his use of all his beloved mythologies resulted in this great myth coming to the fore in a new and modern way in 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.' "

I would suppose that our California friends shouldn't be offended--unless they're against the use of all myth in storytelling. If so, that would indeed be sad!

PS: Read the Heinen's "Narnia laced with Christianity, but not in overt way" at http://www.jsonline.com/onwisconsin/movies/dec05/375988

Friday, 16 December, 2005  
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Wednesday, 08 February, 2006  

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