Brace Yourself for Narnia!

I’ve written so much about the upcoming film version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe for GalleyCat that I felt like it might be time to spread the story around a bit. And as you can imagine, with the film coming out this Friday, the coverage is heating up. Claudia Eller of the Los Angeles Times has a look at producer Philip Anschutz, centered around his efforts to make a “wholesome” blockbuster film “that doesn’t rely on sex, foul language or violence to sell tickets.” (The article also gives a sad indication of how little is apparently expected from LAT readers: “He’s considered a contrarian, meaning he likes to operate counter to conventional wisdom.” Time was the average adult might be expected to know the definition of ‘contrarian.’)

Meanwhile, Seattle Times film critic Moira Macdonald provides readers with an introduction to the Narnia series, which she describes as “a sum of the various influences in [C. S.] Lewis’ life.” Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee might agree, but she doesn’t much like what it says about Lewis, then. She’s upset about the religious hardsell and how it may alienate Britons: “Most of the fairy story works as well as any Norse saga, pagan legend or modern fantasy, so only the minority who are familiar with Christian iconography will see Jesus in the lion.” Astonishing if true statistic: “43% of people in Britain in a recent poll couldn’t say what Easter celebrated.” And this is a nation with an official state church, for crying out loud!

Of course, it’s entirely possible that this indifference is entirely Toynbee’s, rather than England’s, as she’s clearly got some religious issues which lead to statements like this: “Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?” And talk about your harsh assessments: Aslan is for this critic “an emblem for everything an atheist objects to in religion.”

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5 December 2005 | watch this |