Friday, April 24, 2009

Prince Caspian

When I was about eleven my mother was a junior school teacher of the kind who used to read stories to her classes. The kids always used to enjoy the Narnia books by C. S. Lewis and, when I read them, I enjoyed them too. Now these books are being turned into films and as with many other recent films, like the ones based on the Marvel characters, since as a child I used to read the comics, or The Lord of the Rings, I looked forward to seeing this stuff from my formative years up there on the screen. I enjoyed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, enjoyed seeing the images I’d once seen in my mind translated into the ersatz reality of the big screen, but with some reservations about how the story was told. And yesterday, when we sat down to watch Prince Caspian, I began to enjoy that, until the very end, when Aslan appeared.

Wonderful special effects here, and excellent translation (as far as I can remember) of the book to the screen. The centaurs, minataurs and all the other creatures of Narnia were done superbly, nothing wrong with the acting too, though the children made me feel rather uncomfortable and I was thoroughly aware that this was definitely a children’s book. So what pissed me off? Well Mr Lewis was very definitely a believer, as his many Christian books will attest, and his religion came up through the story telling to smack me in the forehead like a mallet made from the true cross.

I guess the film producers really went with this because Aslan couldn’t have been more Christlike if he’d worn a crown of thorns and been bleeding from the paws. He came in at the end and sorted it all out – a deus ex machina Greek god lowered on his platform to sort out all the squabbles, an ending almost completely severed from the story that went before, moral message delivered: all you had to do was believe in me. Very disappointing, but then one should not try to revisit childhood. And, I guess, the original book was a piece of religious propaganda, and attempt at indoctrinating children, that just didn’t work with me.


vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

you'd better read it again ya filthy pagan. shoulda gotten the message the first time at age 11.

joshua said...

The Narnia movies are most definately a current christian propaganda. No use in making subtle stories anymore.
The movies are too overt.

Kirby Uber said...

when i went to see it i was actually punched with a bible. required for entry. 8(

next time i wait for the Dvd. unless then they'll just send some missionaries over to bible-punch me in my own home.

Chris said...

I don't understand this idea of CS Lewis being a Christian propagandist. Admittedly, it's been awhile since I've read the Narnia books, and I haven't watched the films, but I just remember the stories being extremely entertaining, which at the end of the day is all that matters.

By moaning about any inherent Christian propaganda, it is no different than Christians moaning about Pullman breeding a generation of atheists or Rowling instilling a belief in dark magic within impressionable young children.

Children's books were made to be read by children - not by adults, who should really be reading something more grown-up.

Thud said...

chris, obviously don't know much about CS Lewis.

Colin Meier said...

Yeah, Chris, CS Lewis himself said they were Christian apologia for kids. I don't remember J K Rowling saying anything about the intent behind Harry Potter being to teach black magic.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I couldn't have stated it better myself.

However, even thought I'm not in the same category as Lewis, I have used his works as fodder for my own (sometimes flipped).

I enjoyed the Caspian film too ... until the end. The religious overtones were quite heavy.