Friday, December 23, 2005

They Got It Right

I saw The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe yesterday. It’s been over forty years since I read the book in Mrs. Cahill’s Grade 5, but I remember it vividly. Ever since I heard that a big-budget version of the story was in the making I was worried that this slim (meaning that it is not a 500-pager) and craftily-told story would be turned into a huge overblown Hollywood blockbuster. But the producers and director were faithful to the book and the film version didn’t disappoint. The amazing special effects didn’t interfere with the story, and the actors playing the children were not too Disneyfied; they weren’t all perfect liitle moppets that made you want to just slap them for being utterly charming.

When we read the book, Mrs. Cahill did not raise the issue of the religious connection between this story and the passion of Christ. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in high school that it was even brought up; we were having a discussion about allegory and the teacher off-handedly made the connection. In this film version, there is no overt connection either with the story of Christ; certainly no more than there is in E.T. I believe that is in keeping with the intent of the author, C.S. Lewis, who wrote his story with a deft and gentle hand. If you’re going to preach the gospel in a children’s story, that’s the way to do it; not with the thudding anvil of the “Left Behind” tomes.

I wish Mrs. Cahill was still around to see it; she’d have liked it.