So this is the weekend that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is being released. I think I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD. (Hate those multiplexes, hives overrun with drones selling fries, pizza, pricey popcorn and supersizeme kegs of watery pop and the actual reason for being there is reduced to a distraction what with self-serve ticket kiosks and unholy lineups and everybody yelling and running around like this is the most important thing they could be doing when what they’re actually doing is playing some video game in the hallway or talking on cellphone to nobody in particular while they wait in the second lineup to get into the stupid theatre where some acne-faced Project People reject regales you with lukewarm humour using all the bravado he or she can muster and then proceeds to make sure you know he/she has all the glutinous sugary treats you could possibly want at exorbitant rates as if it was the Movie Mafia you were visiting…OK, I’m done…)
Really, I wanna talk about LWW. This morning, the CBC1 program The Currant (is that a description of the size of its audience?) spent an entire half hour discussing LWW, Disney’s marketing scheme, and the supposed controversy being generated over LWW’s Christian content.
Here’s what I wanna say about this first: IT’S AN ESSENTIALLY CHRISTIAN ALLEGORY FER CHRISSAKE! Of course it has Christian content. And who really cares? The success of CS Lewis and his little Narnia Chronicles has very little to do with the Christian themes. It was because he told a pretty good story and captured the interest of kids. And the film will stand or fall by the same criteria. If the story ain’t any good, and they don’t tell it well, who gives a good god damn whether god approves. It’ll still bomb.
I’m pissed off at the media (CBC & others too) for trying to make an issue of it. It’s a commercial enterprise. If Disney wants to make Winnie the Pooh Goes to a Rave and Chills Out on E let em go ahead for all I care. This is not the same thing as Mel Gibson promoting The Passion of the Christ. For that matter, I don’t understand what all the fuss was about there, either. Lemme tell ya, if they get to the point where they’re telling me I can’t watch Ben Hur because it has Christian content and one of the extras died during the chariot race, there’ll be hell to pay, know what I mean Vern?
Now, I just reread the entire Narnia series this past spring. I can’t remember the first time I read LWW. I do remember that the series was introduced to us kids in class by a visiting librarian from the Lunchbucket Library. I don’t know about the other kids, but I ate them stories up. I bought the box set many many moons ago and I’ve read the whole series about ten times over the years.
This last time I was less impressed than I remember. Narnia doesn’t hold up as well as Middle Earth. But the stories carry some home truths like telling the truth, apologizing when you’re wrong or have been a nasty blighter, having faith, being brave, not letting pride overwhelm you, not eating too much Turkish Delight. What’s objectionable about all that? Even if Christ did say stuff like that?
I also don’t remember whether as a child I made any particularly Christian connections. Later on, you see them quite clearly, but mostly what I remember was the romance of kids becoming great kings and queens and getting to wear armour and talk like silly kniggits.
There is one interesting thing that I took more notice of in my last reading, though. In one of the books, The Horse and His Boy, the bad guys are clearly modelled after Muslims. They come from the south, wear pointy turbans like some sultan, brandish scimitars and have a bloodthirsty deity. Hmmm…some things never change I guess.