Friday, December 10, 2010

Escape to the Movies: "Chronicles of Narnia - Voyage of The Dawn Treader"

FUN FACT: Most real lions are not secretly Jesus.

"Intermission" corresponds.


RarestRX said...


Not as snarky and douchey as I thought it'd be.


Arman said...

Indeed. I was half expecting Bob to go on some kind of tirade against the film for daring to be a Christian allegory. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Great review.

Lucas Neumann said...

Hummm no, I don't think I'm goona stick with you this time Bob.

Haven't seem the movie yet, but judging from the other two, Narnia just isn't fun. I couldn't care less about Lion Jesus, and all the bible references.

But in a fantasy and adventure movie, you need to care about the characters, the heroes, to see them grow, showing charisma, to make you need to see how the jorney ends.

And those siblings they just don't cut it. Ok, they are played by mediocre actors, put their roles weren't that great to begin with. C.S Lewis' fantasy world was never particulary intersting, like Tolkien's middle earth for an example. And yeah, Caspian sucks.

I dunno, if Disney dropped this series it's a good indicator that Narnia isn't just a story worth of telling in the cinemas. And that it doesn't make money ;P

Adam said...

Seeing as I am a Narnia fanboy (I've read all the books several times), I was very curious to see your take on this. I thought both your review and your Intermission were great looks at the author and his work.

I've always found the arguments against the Narnia tales really interesting. I'm not saying they're perfect books or there aren't some old fashioned problems with them (see Narnia's version of Muslims), but I've always found negative reactions to them interesting. I know one person who loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe up until she found out about the Christian themes. Afterwards she just didn't like it anymore. I think that speaks to the value of the book as she as well as many others I've met read the book and didn't even notice the allagory in it until it was pointed out to them. Her reactions were formed completely on her own views of religion rather than anything the book did.

But controversary will dog the books regardless. I recently mentioned how excited I was to see the Dawn Treader and one of my roommates, who is a woman, immediately blurted out "Oh those books are so bad to women", which is a commonly said thing about the stories. Normally I would have been interested in discussing this with her but there's no way I could have taken her seriously as this same person who complains that Narnia isn't fair to girls REALLY likes the Twilight series. Go figure.

Jon Ericson said...

Nicely done! It might surprise you to know, but in the Evangelical Christian conservative circles I move in, the statement "A man who disbelieved the Christian story as fact but continually fed on it as myth would, perhaps, be more spiritually alive than one who assented and did not think much about it," isn't terribly controversial. Stereotypes don't always hold, you know.

A criticism of the movies I recently ran across noticed that they completely ditch the concept of hierarchy (and Romanticism) which Lewis held dear. Prince Caspian may be a solid action film, but it wanders far afield from the action of the book. In particular, it steals the dignity of High King Peter both in Narnia and in this world. Perhaps it's ok since that was just a quirk of Uncle Jack which is safe to toss out the window.

A team of horses couldn't keep me away from Dawn Treader. It's always seemed to be the book most easily adapted to film with the possible exception of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My hope is that it will capture a fraction of the wonder of the book.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Even as a Christian, I found the LEft Behind books terrible. The subject material had great potential, but the writer behind it was startlingly mediocre--like James Patterson.

Good episode and glad the movie didn't bring out Bob snarky side. (No one likes watching a movie they don't WANT to watch)

john said...

Ah, C.S. Lewis. The inspiring one-man proof that you can be a Christian without turning your brain off.

Dustin said...

A few comments about your intermission article.

1. It's a pretty broad generalization to say that "few who make serious study of "traditional" religious belief would venture into the modern realm of "genre fiction." I know several practicing Christians who love sci-fi/fantasy.

2. I have to disagree with your interpretation of the scene in The Last Battle. The soldier makes a point to ask "Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?" Aslan immediately responds that it's false. I think you've misunderstood what he was saying. I'll pull a quote from Mere Christianity to explain better...

“Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in Him? But the truth is God has not told us what His arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.”

In The Last Battle, what Aslan was saying was that the soldier couldn't love, or be kind, or do any good deed in the name of something that was the antithesis to all good things. Therefore, though he thought he was doing them in the name of Tash, he was really following Aslan the whole time.

Jesus actually said something along the same lines (though on the other side of the coin) in Matthew 7

15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Christ seems to be saying that those who do evil, even in his name, aren't really following him and therefore he doesn't know them.

Chris Cesarano said...

I haven't read the entirety of Narnia since I was younger, but reading through A Horse and His Boy, LWW and Magician's Nephew again as an adult, I started to come under the impression that the Narnia books were written to help youths comprehend a lot of philosophical questions that may come up about Christianity. With this knowledge that it was him dealing with his own thoughts on it, that would make even more sense.

The way I see it, there are films out there with blatant Leftist leanings, and there are films with blatant Right-wing leanings. Yet The Chronicles of Narnia seem to me to be entertainment that CAN be secular OR Christian based on what you want out of it.

And that's what I'd like my entertainment to be. If you are going to try and have meaning, make it more open. Wall-E and Astro Boy both have environmentalist and stereotypically left-wing ideas behind them, for example, but watching Astro Boy I felt like the script writers were taking juvenile cheap shots at the Right-Wing (to the point that I'm not sure the blue energy being the "good" energy and red energy being the "bad" energy is merely used due to how blue=cool color and red=hot aggressive color).

Wall-E, on the other hand, is environmentalist and also seems anti-Wal-Mart, but in the end the ideas are kept in a manner that EVERYONE can understand and enjoy. No message is being beaten over the head, and therefore it is good entertainment.

Some of the Narnia books beat the reader over the head, but for the most part you have to know the Christian allegory is there to even recognize it. I like that, and wish more entertainment would be like that, but I know far more people that want religion out of their ANYTHING and thus stuff like Narnia in the modern age becomes less likely. It's either going to be like Left Behind (augh), or it is going to be completely secular.

tyra menendez said...

I thought the first movie was terrible and I've avoided it, ever since. While I consider myself to be a "devout" atheist (see what I did there?), it has nothing to do with the Christian allegory, I just thought it was a shitty movie with insipid characters and stupid plot devices.

vlademir1 said...

Part of the problem for me with these movies is that I can't see the seven Narnia books working as movies for the massmarket. The first bore that out for me.

For my money if Disney wanted to do it right they'd go revisit Lloyd Alexander's best known series, which doesn't need action augmentation, and not make with all the stupid like they did in 1985, which is still enough to make me sound like James Rolfe if I discuss it.