Having read the Narnia books long ago in childhood days, I never appreciated the allegorical messages within, perhaps not obvious to someone not conversant in Biblical story. After exposure to C S Lewis’ other writing, whether theological, fantasy or science fiction, which are rife with similar basic questions, it all seems very clear now – the resurrection, the betrayal by Judas, sacrifice for the sins of Man.
The film comes off far more saccharine than the author’s original work. Even so, we need more of this kind of wonder and mythology in our theological stories. Or it’s missing for me in Christianity. Frankly, I dig a Lion-Jesus who kicks a little ass, and a Santa Claus that hands out righteous weapons. How can that be bad? And that Mr. Tumnus has got to be a stoner in rehab.
The philosophic and moral questions that Lewis posed back when he wrote resonate now; in fact, maybe more than some current popular debate. It doesn’t seem old-fashioned at all. This is not to say that both Lewis and Tolkien didn’t live in their respective ages and the work never reflects the common myth of the culture in which both men lived; like with Tolkien’s universe, it is interesting to see how the line between good guys and bad guys is drawn; that is, racially and geographically, as per the in the movie depiction. In Middle Earth, baddies are from the asiatic south, pitted against the pale Europeans striving to save civilization. I think I saw tiny huns in the White Witch’s army. To be fair, the film directors are going further than the writers in this tendency.
Pacing. Takes a little while to get rolling, I was surprised more than half of the story even fit after the time invested in the establishing scenes.
Visuals. Lion: superb. Beavers: best characters. Bluescreen: atrocious.
For more C S Lewis, see Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, Mere Christianity.