Thursday, December 9, 2010

When Is Narnia Not Narnia? 2

Well, more controversy over the upcoming Narnia movie (opening tonight).  Following on Liam Neeson's remarks, the producer of the movies Mark Johnson, responding to Neeson, said: “resurrection exists in so many different religions in one form or another, so it’s hardly exclusively Christian...We don’t want to favor one group over another … whether these books are Christian, I don’t know”.  One would have thought he would have looked to the author of the Narnia books to see if they are Christian or not: even the quickest of glances would have confirmed they are.  Sad to hear this because not only does this poor approach affect the movies and their interpretation of the books and their meaning, but also reveals that those involved seem not to have "got" Lewis at all, and if they have not "got" Lewis, then how can they understand the language of the books?

The Narnia books serve two purposes. One - they are good children's stories, entertaining, but also edifying.  The other purpose, which is the main one given Lewis' interests and his life's work, is catechetical.  He is exploring the faith through the genre of children's fiction, and using that medium to speak to children about Christ and the history of salvation which is presented in an ingenious way in the novels.  This was not unique for Lewis, he wrote other fictional works, science fiction included, in which he explored the depths of the Christian message. Lewis (an Irishman I am proud to say!!) was one of the 20th century's great apologists and popular theologians, and one of the greatest Christian writers of all time, it is strange that those working on the film adaption of his works should be so ignorant....or are they?  Is it simply a case of their not wanting to be seen to be "christian" since to be so is not cool in Hollywood?

Perhaps, anyway, all that said, they are still good movies and they can still be used to draw people's attention to what Lewis is teaching - that's our job, and I think we have the ability to do that.

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