09 December 2005

Everyone has something to say about Narnia

Roger Ebert gave it three stars.
If you live in the same little corner of the blogosphere that I do, you have already read and commented on Polly Toynbee's wild-eyed, spittle-spraying, God-hating rant.
The Pontificator is very excited about the movie and has posted a link to this article by Frederica Matthewes-Green.

At one point Matthewes-Green writes,
Aslan's heroic act [of self-sacrafice] is aimed at the Witch, not the Emperor, and he defeats her by using information she does not have. This sounds like the understanding of salvation that held sway for the thousand years before Anselm, still preserved in the Christian East, which echoed the earlier story of the Exodus. According to this understanding, God does not require any payment for our sins, but forgives us freely, just like we're supposed to forgive each other. We are helpless in the grip of evil forces, like the Hebrews in Egypt and the beasts in Narnia. God rescues us by a mighty act, by his power alone.

And of course, MM has asked us to find ways to use the movies as a tool for evangelization.

Frankly, I am a little trepidatious about going to see this movie. The Chronicles of Narnia are among my favoritestestest books of all time. I hate it when they turn these books into movies because they have a tendency to kill the book. This doesn't happen because they do a bad job. No a bad job--like the BBC miniseries rendition--is so bad that can have no purchase in one's imagination. You forget about it quickly. But when it is well done, like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, it has a tendency to supplant the source in one's imagination, even when you reread them. I grant that in thirty years people will probably have forgotten all about the Lord of the Rings movies and the Chronicles of Narnia and that the books will regain their independent life (at least I hope this is what happens).

I don't want to use the movie as an evangelization tool. I think that most Christians don't because we have such few explicitly Christian imaginative outlets these days. I am glad that this movie is going to be popular. I am glad that many people will see it and be edified by Lewis' thoughts and his faith. I hope that people who have not read the book do so after this movie. For me it was one step from the Chronicles to Lewis' theological writings (and I have yet, I admit, to break into his writings on Renaissance literature), so perhaps it will be the same for these other people. And thus, the movie, whether people intend it or no, will be a means of spreading the Gospel.

I'm just still annoyed that they made it. That they have successfully mediated every part of my childhood. Anyway, the movie opens today.

1 comment:

MM said...

T, go tonight and be with us in spirit. As we will be watching too, you neednt be scared....