Wednesday, December 28, 2005


We saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on Monday. I've read the whole series at least 2 or 3 times and have enjoyed it. I was looking forward to seeing the film, but without burdening it the weight of having to save the world through this one film. We went. We saw it. We enoyed it. It's over. I mean where we do we get off trying to make any one film bear the weight of our lack of letting Christ live his life in and through us.
It's not a bad film... one could even say it's good. Lucy was wonderful as were the beavers. The rest of the kids I found a little flat - it's not easy to develop depth in so many characters. & I thought Aslan could have been a little more "terrifying" or intense at time, he was a little too much like a pussy cat.
Go see the film. It's worth seeing. However, it's not something that's a "let's save the world" by inviting everyone we know to see it.

Stephen Scharper, Assistant Professor, Department and Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, had an article in the 24 Dec 2005 issue of the Toronto Star entitled "The Lion, the Witch and the Trauma..." [available on the Star website until 31 Dec 2005].
He writes:
"Narnia film teaches kids that violence is an effective means of social cohesion and problem solving."

Scharper writes, the
opening scene [bombing raid over London] strikes a note of violence, militarism, and terror in the lives of children that saturates this film. Children begin as victims of airborne violence, the barbarism of indiscriminate night bombing raids on civilians.

By the end of the film, however, the children themselves are warriors, armed with gifts of weapons, rather than toys, from Father Christmas, and doing battle against the evil White Witch and her malignant forces. Peter himself calls on what might be called the Avian Air Force of Narnia, eagle-like raptors who bomb the advancing Witch's troops with exploding boulders — again, the filmmakers' fantasy, not Lewis's, and a parallel to the Nazi bombing at the film's outset.

Narnia thus takes us full circle. The children's journey from frightened victims to empowered warriors and monarchs, which Lewis unfolded through literary fairy tale, is told in this film through intense scenes of computer-enhanced violence. From the disturbing depiction of the slaying of the Lion Aslan, who sacrifices himself to save Edmund, to the up-close-and-personal skewering of Edmund by the Witch, the violence in the film is deeply troubling, aimed, as it is, at children, and involving them intimately as warriors and victims.

I'm not sure what film Scharper saw, nor what books what he read, but I think he has missed the point of C.S. Lewis' books. Fantasy is NOT a violence free world. Fantasy is a world where good triumphs over evil, where, in the case of Narnia, grace conquers law. Scharper is welcome to write his own fantasy story, but he cannot remove the violence from Narnia and still have Narnia.

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