‘Narnia’ drifts from its vision? Really?


We’ve been asked to comment on an article that appeared in the Washington Times last week. I didn’t really know quite what to say, as every single paragraph in the article begs an entire article on its’ own. There’s a lot to be said about it, and it is a very manipulative article, leading you to believe certain things that the article says without giving the context for when quotes were said. People have a tendency to use quotes from authors and things how they want, and based on needs to prove things. I have a specific example regarding Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, but we’ll get to that later.

First, if you’d like to read the article in the Washington Times, you can find it here. I’m going to comment on three main parts of the article with my own thoughts on what was said. That way, it’s more digestible.

1. Prince Caspian’s Christian Message Downplayed?

“The Lion, the Witch” grossed $745 million worldwide but “Prince Caspian,” which veered substantially from the plot and downplayed the film’s Christian message, grossed $420 million.

The author of the article clearly missed something when she watched Prince Caspian, a film which not only kept the Christian message, but enhanced it in many ways. The film had the same plot as the book: Shakespeare’s Hamlet shares the same plot as well, for the most part. The Christian message is strengthened in the struggles of the Pevensie children to see Aslan, and more.

2. Narrow-minded in a faith way?

The Narnia films, [director Michael Apted] told Rhema FM, a New Zealand Christian radio station, “present a challenge, for me to put the material out there in an evenhanded and interesting way; and not to be, in a sense, narrow-minded about it, either narrow-minded in a faith way or narrow-minded in an agnostic way. I have to open my heart to what the stories are about.”

There are a couple of things to make note of about this interview. First is that the interview happened in 2007, about a year or so before filming started, and well before Disney dropped the project and Fox picked it up and the script was re-written twice.

Secondly, trying not to be “narrow-minded in a faith way” isn’t quite as negative as it sounds. It merely amounts to accessibility. Will the film be accessible to all people, including those that aren’t faith-based? If the film is too narrow in scope, then it’ll have a hard time connecting with those people.

The more important part of the statement is that he wants to make it in an “evenhanded and interesting way.” This means that it will include Christian elements. It may even enhance them, which is something that has happened in other films that folks wouldn’t claim to be Christian. Sometimes the thing that you try to downplay ends up shining through more than you had intended. This happened with the C.S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia documentary, though they originally downplayed it, and were asked to put more in.

3. Script Advisor leaves project

Ted Baehr, publisher of Movie Guide and president of the Christian Film and TV Commission, read one of the earlier scripts for “The Lion, the Witch” and told me the movie would have veered in a bizarre direction had then-Disney President Dick Cook not “held the line.”

As for “Voyage,” Mr. Baehr is in touch with a script adviser who left the project a year ago.

“He said it was drifting from its Christian vision,” Mr. Baehr said. “It was not expressing the intent of C.S. Lewis nor the true story of the Dawn Treader.”

Dick Cook may have held the line for LWW, but one has to wonder if Dawn Treader might have been on course to be Pirates of the Caribbean 4 (which is actually going to film this summer, called On Stranger Tides). Another thing to note, like the interview with Michael Apted, the script adviser left the project a year ago. This was also prior to the move to Fox. The script was re-written two times since this adviser has likely seen it last. From what I have heard, personally, it has many very important scenes from the book intact. I’m not the biggest stickler for a film to be an exact replica of a book, but I do look for the film capture the essence of the book. Hopefully this has changed since the film was dropped by Disney in 2008.

Back to Tolkien

As for the Tolkien quote about The Lord of the Rings that I was referring to. He was once quoted as saying, of the Lord of the Rings, that it has “no allegorical intentions …, moral, religious, or political.” In an interview on BBC 4, he responded to a similar question: “No. I dislike allegory whenever I smell it.”

However, a 1953 letter in which Tolkien argues that Lord of the Rings is “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” Tolkien concludes that the book’s religious aspects are thoroughly “absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”

Which is it though? Well, I’ll point out that the interview on the BBC 4 happened in 1971. Nearly 20 years after the letter was written. Tolkien may have later changed his mind regarding symbolism, or allegory, within the Lord of the Rings. One thing he didn’t want to have happen, is people to see it as a World War II allegory.

See what I did there? I manipulated time by not stating it, to point out how things might have changed so that the alarmist mentality doesn’t help anyone. I do not know the intentions of the article’s author, but I hope that they were not malicious.

For those that wish to know what Tolkien actually thought, however, read the following. It’ll explain more what he was talking about. In the end, the 1953 letter, combined with the foreword are the intent for the Lord of the Rings.

From the Foreword to the Lord of the Rings: “As for any inner meaning or ‘message’, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. [...] The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. [...] Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse ‘applicability’ with ‘allegory’; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.”

Is Narnia drifting from its vision?

I’m going to say no, and there’s no reason to panic. The film is about eleven months away, and the only thing we can do is wait and see.

One last thing, from NarniaFans columnist Michael Thom:

It struck me as odd that the author references Perry Moore’s sexual orientation but doesn’t make clear that he was also a major force (as I understand it) in getting LWW from page to screen – without any complains from Christian audiences.

Any comments?

You can also read Mark Sommer’s fantastic article on Hollywood Jesus


44 Responses to “‘Narnia’ drifts from its vision? Really?”

  1. AravisKenobi says:

    Interesting, but the author must be a book fan, because it seems to be the book fans who hate the films before they are even released. Some people, like me, try to look at it objectively and wait until we see it. I will find it awesome if MIchael Apted keeps many of the Christian elements in the story; because in my opinion, those are part of the story regardless of whether you see religious overtones or not. Many people don’t see Christianity within the books, and many do. It’s a matter of perspective, and I think that even with the films, you can see Christianity, or you don’t see it. But you don’t want to make a film so narrow minded that you can’t appeal to either side of the aisle.

  2. Brad Ryden says:

    This is an interesting article. My antennae went up as soon as I saw where the original article came from, The Washington Times. This paper is owned by the Moon organization and they do have their own agenda, far from that of CS Lewis’ motivations and objectives for writing the Narnia Chronicles. I don’t see how anything coming from the Washington Times could have any validity or be given any credence as it relates to critiquing any of the films so far. In juggling all the elements; the books, the audience, the commercial demands and maintaining a foundational consistency faithful to Lewis’ intent I think the handlers so far have done an excellent job. I am excited about the release coming in December. The one I am really looking forward to seeing is The Horse and His Boy. Of all the books this one is the best read and I hope will be the best of the movie series.

    • Paul Martin says:

      Awesome, Brad! Thanks for the comments about the Washington Times. I was unaware of their agenda, and am glad that I now know more about them. This was a very helpful comment, and I really appreciate it! I think you’ve just summed up my entire article in a mere paragraph (something that I was hoping to do, but I get long-winded).

  3. Mark Sommer says:

    Hey, thanks for the plug!
    About the Washington Times: I occasionally come across articles from the Times and would say that they do not necessarily “tow the line” of the Unification Church.

  4. Jonathon says:

    In regards to the activism of Perry Moore or Michael Apted’s agnosticism that Duin mentions in the article, well, I think it just goes to show the power that the Narnia stories have insomuch that they attract people from all walks of life and not just “good Evengelical Christians.”

  5. Jewel the Unicorn says:

    Question for Paul Martin…

    Are you a Christian?

  6. Narniamiss says:

    Ditto, Jonathan! I have found often that a good story regardless of any religion mixed in usually will draw people. That is what I love about the Chronicles; for the most part you can’t help but love it.

  7. Narniamiss says:

    “Why couldn’t Disney and now Fox hire them?” [referring to Christian filmakers.] As much as I would love to see that, I’m not sure that would work. I mean, I think there are talented Christian filmakers out there, but I don’t know if the films would be as great as a success if it were known that “Christians” were making the Narnia movies. I think that a lot of non-christians would make a big hype over it. Then again, take “Fireproof.” It made $33,456,317 in the box office, surprising everyone.

  8. Battle Maiden says:

    I think that the Narnia books are one of those things where no matter what you do, you can’t take the Christian message out of them. You can downplay it, discourage it, and supress it, but the intent of the author was to get a message across, and that message is going to shine through one way or another. It’s interwoven into the plot — it’s part of the story itself, and you can’t just discard it and say “oh, we don’t want that part of the book in here.” The meaning of the book is more than just isolated scenes that pop up here and there. It’s the core of the story, and it’s going to show up in the movie in some form or fashion, no matter what.

    That’s my two cent’s worth. ;)

  9. Mike says:

    Excellent quote, Paul. Just brilliant. :-)

  10. Brad Ryden says:

    And a good two cents they are. There is a word for the kind of power that the books have, it is called anointed. If you read the books honestly they will draw you to Christ not a doubt. How many times does Lewis use the phrase that Aslan drew them to himself with his eyes; or when he tells Trumpkin – dare not to dare, when he tells him to approach him. Time after time it is always about a decision. You know what? It’s just wonderful.

  11. Prince Caspifan says:

    Just have to chime in on all this. I’m not a Christian. Love C.S. Lewis. Love the Narnia books. Love the films. It’s just a beautiful world and wonderful fantasy that deals with faith(something I DO value), friendship, and honor. I really don’t think you need to be a Christian to appreciate Narnia or Jesus for that matter(Gandhi wasn’t a Christian, and look what Jesus’ teachings did for getting the British out of India peacefully).

    I think the religious angle as applied to Narnia by the press, is an attempt to convince the public that you can’t enjoy Narnia if you aren’t a Christian. It’s just not true.

    I agree with Douglas Gresham. A poor release date and poor marketing killed “Prince Caspian”.

    • Battle Maiden says:

      Prince Caspifan,

      I hope I didn’t make it sound like you HAD to be a Christian to enjoy Narnia. The Chronicles (like other truly good literature), at face value, have so much worth simply for being good stories that they are bound to be loved by Christians and non-Christians alike. My point was that the Christian message found in the books is going to remain no matter what. You don’t have to agree with it or accept it — there are plenty of reasons to love Narnia besides the Christian themes — but those themes are going to be there none-the-less.

      Hope this makes sense! :)

      • Prince Caspifan says:

        Battle Maiden,

        Absolutely! :) I’d also like to add, that I think the presence of those themes strengthen the work and make it more compelling as an artistic work. It helps an informs my appreciation of Narnia to know that the convictions and beliefs of the man are reflected in his work. I appreciate Lewis’ sincerity.

  12. April says:

    Thank you Battle Maiden! While I do agree that you don’t HAVE to see the Christian morals and background stuff woven into the plot of the Narnian Chronicles (as my best friend has pointed out numerous times), they are there no matter what. Everytime I start to talk about how pretty the connection between Narnia and Christianity is, my best friend never says ‘I don’t see it’ she always says, ‘Well… I don’t read the books/watch the movies for that, I read/watch them because they are good entertainment.’
    Which they are. The stories are great entertainment, but I could never see anyone blatantly missing the Christian messages from these stories. Choosing to bypass them, maybe, but not missing them.
    Bleh, that was MY two cents :P.
    Amazing article, Paul, as usual you have put my trivial fears aside =D!

    • Battle Maiden says:

      DITTO!!! :) You hit the nail right on the head. You said everything I wanted to say but decided I’d already taken up enough space… :)

  13. Tarwe, the Narnian Elf says:

    Great articles, Paul Martin and Mark Sommer!

    I read Julie Duin’s article, and… it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. It didn’t accuratly anylise facts or even presents a satisfying argument. All it does is hint and step around the particulars surrounding the films. One little thing that I wonder at is why the Washington Times is so concerned that the Narnia films are ‘drifting’ from the Christian theme? It almost seems to me that this article is just to upset people. Maybe I’m reading more into this than there really is, but this was my first impression of the article.

  14. It’s not the gospel, it’s Narnia. I see the Christian symbolism in the books and movies and that’s good. But it’s not the gospel.

  15. Jonathon says:

    @Narniamiss, Agreed on the Christian filmakers comment. Actually film producer Ralph Winter who is a Christian and worked not only on several Christian films, but also on films like Star Trek, the X-men films, and Fantastic Four, and is working on Screwtape Letters, said that in his own experience he felt that the none-evenglical film makers were better at not only telling a story but creating visuals. He said that many Evengelicals tend to focus solely on the message and getting the Word across and don’t always bother with the story as much as they should. This is someone who has worked on films for years so he knows what he is talking about.

    After all, look at the Evengelical “Jesus Movie” and Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ. I think that every one can say that Mel’s movie had the far more powerful and huanting images and was a much better done film. It actually made me both “think” and “feel” about the death of Christ as I should.

    Also in regards to Fireproof’s Box Office revenue, it only made durring it’s durration at the theater the same ammount that the first Spider-Man film made on it’s opening day. It also was released in Early November and faced minimal competition. I have the feeling if it went up against say a Lord of the Rings film, a Narnia film or some other major blockbsuter, it may not have made as much. Afterall as it has been pointed out, Prince Caspin had some very strong competion from iron Man and Indy IV. Not that it still isn’t an impressive feat for a modest budge Christian film, but looking at where Christian films are and where they need to go there is still a lot of work to be done.

    I’ve also read an interview with one of the writers of Fireproof who when asked about the nearly “heavy-handed” message in his film versus the subtlty of the message in the tales of Lewis and Tolkien, said that while Narnia and LOTR are wonderful stories and very well told, that no one he personaly knew had ever been led to Christ because of them. Perhaps that sums up why many Evenglcial Christians don’t want to throw their hat in the ring for making Narnia as a film. Imagine: if you where an Evanglical Christian filmmaker which would you rather make as a movie, something like Fireproof or Left Behind, or Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Well, I would take CON and LOTR but I think most Evangelicals would go with the former.

    • Battle Maiden says:

      Jonathon,

      I think one of the reasons why most Christian film-makers tend to make more hard-core, gospel-presentation sort of movies is because their goal is to share Jesus with a secular world. But honestly, you can give good Christian messages without the “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof” type plots. Narnia is a prime example of this. Lewis didn’t force his religion on his readers, but he did present an image of Jesus that shows how wonderful a relationship with Him can be.

      Please don’t get me wrong. I think movies like “Fireproof”, with their straight-forward evangelical messages, are great. But most non-Christians will probably opt to see a superhero or fantasy film versus a strictly “Christian” one. See what I mean?

      So I guess my point is, that Christian writers and film-makers can give good Christian messages and morals without having to devote the whole script to sermons. There are amazing possibilities for movies with great plots, that don’t focus specifically around Christianity, but are clean, free from offensive language and material, and packed with good solid Christian principles.

      Sorry that this is my third essay of the day. I’ve just got so many thoughts to share. :)

  16. lionesslucy :) says:

    wow, thanks paul! that was great! and i’m also very happy to find out you’re a christian!! i had a feeling you were but wasn’t sure!! thanks again for all your great work!

  17. glumPuddle says:

    My concern is the filmmakers trying to make “neutral” films that will appeal to everyone. That’s a problem Hollywood blockbusters very often have. They try so hard to say everything that they end up saying nothing at all.

  18. jediash1 says:

    thanks for your analysis, and putting things in perspective! :)

  19. Lily of Archenland says:

    AravisKenobi: Give us book-fans the benefit of the doubt, will you? ;) I’ve found my pet peeves with the movies, but that doesn’t mean that I lack all enjoyment for them, or that I’m dead set against enjoying what’s coming!

    Jonathan: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I remember hearing that Gibson is Catholic. So, mainline Evangelical or not, that’s still technically a Christian making a good movie…

  20. CEP Paul T says:

    Nice piece here Paul! I can certainly count on you for a different perspective.

  21. AlSand says:

    Sorry Paul, but I must respectfully disagree…

    “The author of the article clearly missed something when she watched Prince Caspian, a film which not only kept the Christian message, but enhanced it in many ways.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    IMHO, I thought Prince Caspian vivisected the story as told by Lewis, including the Christian/faith content. One reviewer said it best: “I went to see Lewis, I got a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ knock-off.”

    I took three church groups to see LWW, over 100 people. After I saw PC, I told my congregation not to bother to go see it. It wasn’t the story Lewis wrote and it did not contain his wisdom or message. I’ve never even thought of buying the DVD.

    I suspect Iron Man had more effect on PC’s gross that my critique, but I think that alienating the core group of Narnia enthusiasts – most of whom happen to be Christian – will hurt future movie badly. And if VDT fails at the box office, I wouldn’t expect any of the other books to be made into movies anytime soon.

    Lewis was a great thinker and writer. He put simple ideas into fairly simple children’s stories that have drawn loyal readers, many of whom are devoted Christians, for over two generations. If a director makes these stories into good films they will not be epics, but will have good ‘legs’ and make money, because the Christian community will support them. LWW proved that.

    If they want to tell some other story, that’s fine. Just don’t co-opt that Narnia name and go off in your own direction. That’s what PC did and it failed miserably.

    • Paul Martin says:

      I have a lot of things that I would like to say to this, but I fear I would write about 10 pages worth. Quite frankly, I could write a novel about the faith and spiritual aspects of the Prince Caspian film. In fact, I think it would be fun to write, and I think I could find a number of Lewis scholars that I know who would be willing to collaborate, or to provide their own analysis of different spiritual aspects. I’m e-mailing you separately, but from where I stand, I think you have some facts in here, but overall I’m disappointed.

  22. Defender of the King says:

    Paul, I agree with you, but I want to make one comment. I, also, don’t know what the author’s intent was, but I do know that her mistake is easy to make. At first glance (in fact, after several viewings of the movie), you could get the idea that Disney was veering away from Christianity. One of my favorite things about the Chronicles (movies and books) is thinking them out. I mean, figuring out the message and all that behind them. There’s a few points I’d like to make about “Prince Caspian”:
    1. Many of the ideas have their roots in the book (or another Chronicle). The night raid, Peter’s attitude, Aslan’s part to play, the trees, the river-god (who was fortunately not mentioned by name in the movie!), etc. Okay, I know I sound like I’ve never read the book, but i think I have a lot of voice in this because, next to HHB, LB, and VDT, PC is my favorite book in the series. The idea of a night raid was suggested at the Dancing Lawn. In the movie, for time, money, and viewer’s sakes, the night raid made a whole lot more sense than a whole bunch of little battles at the How’s front door. Peter’s attitude was different from in the book. I was going to say “very different”, but I decided against it because Peter was a bit obnoxious even in the book. Well, where did they come up with this idea? Think of every single other book in the series. What is one idea present in all of them? Conversion! In MN, Uncle Andrew. In LWW, Edmund. In HHB, Bree and Aravis. In VDT, Eustace. In SC, Experiment House. In LB, well, isn’t that the whole idea of that book? They just wove that all-important idea into the story of PC. Whether on purpose or not, I don’t know, but an important idea not in the book is in the movie.
    Point #2: Look at all the things they kept in the book. Down to the exact same lines. “Certainly, Lu. Whatever you like.” “That’s the problem with girls, they don’t carry a map in their heads.”, and various others. The island, the rescue of Trumpkin, the bear attack, the gorge, the were-wolf and hag (slightly different, but this is a cool scene with huge impact. It’s Peter’s and Caspian’s turning point, and it goes to show Edmund’s new character), the duel, the battle, Reepicheep’s tail, etc. etc. etc. Wow. It would be a greater feat than any other to have all this stuff in a movie as completely different as people would like to make PC out as.
    Oh, I’m afraid I’ve made an essay. Sorry. I guess every essay must have a concluding statement, so I’ll make one. I am and always will be eternally grateful to Disney and Walden. Through their help, two fantastic movies have been made, that help to spread the Truth. Though this was not their intention, they have opened the eyes of blind book-fans like me, who never saw the real meaning between PC or any other books besides LWW, until I watched the movie. In my humble opinion, that’s what happens when you make a controversial movie. Some people dislike it, some people love it. Those caught in the middle (like me) get to thinking, and often come out best of all. Finally, like Ben Barnes said in an interview (I can’t quote the exact words), if you want symbolism and meaning, it’s there in PC, but if you don’t, you can watch [or read] it for the cool battle scenes.
    Thank-you for your time,
    ~Defender of the King

    • lionesslucy :) says:

      thank you, defender! that was great, and i very much agree. although there are some things that bug me about PC (susan/caspian romance thing for 1) i agree that it’s very well done. thanks for saving me the time of a long comment!!!!!!

    • Defender of the King says:

      I probably shouldn’t write more, because I’ve already written a very long comment, but I just can’t resist it since I’ve started thinking some more about Narnia. I recall talking to a girl whom I slightly know a few years back. She asked me if I’d read any good books lately. I replied, “Well, I just read the same old books, like Narnia and…” Then she said something to the affect that Disney had made the movie exactly like the book (this was before PC). I sort of got the impression that she didn’t like this. How can that be? The Narnia books are some of the greatest works of literature out there. What’s wrong with a movie exactly like them? Well, I think that the answer is this. Throughout the years there have been three movies/mini-series made of LWW. In the years to come, there will likely be more, but there will always be one book. The movies are not the fulfillment of the book, but rather the other way around. It’s like that with every movie made from a book. If a movie takes all the material from the book, makes it into a fantastic movie (in some cases, better than the original book), people will only be disappointed. Not with the movie, but with the book for those who read it because of the movie. Really, a movie like PC is the way to make a movie. It’s great entertainment for those who don’t want symbolism, and great entertainment for those who do. It doesn’t fulfill the book, but rather lets the book fulfill it. People who watched PC and then read the book might be like “Wow, that’s a great book. I want to read more of the Chronicles.”, while a person who read LWW after watching the movie might be like “Oh, Disney made a movie exactly like this book. Okay, I’ll just wait for the other movies to come out, so I can be surprised. The only surprise here was that it was so identical to the movie.” So really, for the books’ sakes, the movie PC probably did more good than LWW. Just a thought. Maybe I’m wrong. If it weren’t for the fact that I’d read “The Magician’s Nephew” before LWW came out, the Chronicles might have been some of those books that I say “I’ll read those after I read this and this and this and this…” about and never really get to reading them. Would have been a mistake for me.

  23. ICQB says:

    I never read the Narnia books growing up. I tried to watch an animated TV special when I was young but was put off immediately the behavior of the fawn and turned it off. The only thing I knew about LWW was that some kids found a magical land inside a wardrobe.

    When I got older I heard about the Christian aspects of the books and I still never read them (but not becuase of that).

    Today I am an atheist, but I haven’t always been so. My first real exposure to the Chronicles was the first Narnia movie and, frankly, I think this movie is a masterpiece. I think this for many reasons, but not because the movie has a Christian message. I think the director’s vision was spot on. I think the soundtrack is brilliant. I think the casting (with the possible exception of Peter) was perfect. And I think that the book was brought skillfully from the page to the screen, which, I think, is not an easy task. There is magic in this movie. Even though a few little things about it bother me I think this is movie-making at its best.

    The Prince Caspian movie DID tamper with the message of the book. I have since read several of the books (not all, yet) and I think that the movie would have been much better if it had tampered less. It tried to maintain some sort of Christian theme, but in doing so it ruined the message contained in the book. It was more like a fan fiction departure from the true story using only the characters and a smattering of the original, but not the original story at all. And it was poorly done. It could have been so much better.

    Prince Caspian is a terrible movie which I happen to love. I love the return to Narnia and the exit again from Narnia scenes the most, and this has to do with how my imagination interacts with the movie at these points and, in the case of the exit scene, the wonderful song that plays along with it. Most of the rest of the movie I watch half-heartedly, or fast forward through altogether. And, yes, I own both movies.

    I wasn’t aware that Dawn Treader was being made. I am VERY curious to know how this movie will be put together.

    I’m an atheist who happens to love the Narnia movies (and in the case of Prince Caspian, hate, too. It was a bad movie with a couple of really nice scenes). Christian themes aside, the imagination is brought to life by these movies and for children especially, that’s a wonderful thing.

  24. Hannah says:

    I agree with you AlSand on a lot of points. Some people have said that the Christian message was enhanced and whatnot,but I am deeply disappointed in Prince Caspian. I hadn’t even read the books before I saw The LWW,but seeing it made me want to read them,which I did. The LWW kept with the spirit of Narnia,and even though it was more kid-oriented,I loved it. Prince Caspian,on the other hand, totally veered from the book in a lot of ways:for one,I didn’t like the little romance thing between Susan and Caspian(the Penvensies and Caspian were supposed to be really good friends,nothing further). The whole tone of the book for me was almost lost,and although the Christian message was still there,it wasn’t presented like it was in the book(which was absolutely awesome,and could have been done with film). Another problem I have with the movie is that Susan’s dresses could have been a little higher in the neckline.
    It may sound like I don’t like the movie at all;don’t get me wrong,I really liked it. But,I have mixed feelings about it,and it does not compare at all with the first movie. Some things that I really liked about PC are the fact that they used vital scenes from the book which have spiritual meanings,and they did a great job with it just as a movie(great soundtrack,cool action scenes,same actors,good special effects,etc.,etc.)
    I’ve said some good and some bad about Prince Caspian,but over all I still love it(mainly for the sake of the books/story). You will find me in a theater at midnight when it comes out,but I am a little apprehensive about it. My main point though,is that I think it’s clear that the reason PC didn’t do as well as the first,was due to the fact that they gave it a more modern twist,and a lot of Christians(including me!)were disappointed in the allegorical aspect of it. It doesn’t matter whether or not people consider you “narrow-minded” for making a film with strong spiritual truths.And,it’s not bad if your film appeals only to a mainly Christian audience;as much as the world needs to hear the gospel,another need is for Christians to have good,uplifting entertainment that they can even grow from.
    Well,I probably won’t get any points for conciseness or composition,but those are my thoughts,as muddled as they may seem:)

  25. Battle Maiden says:

    Hello again. I told myself I wasn’t going to post anything else today, but these comments are so interesting, I have to give my opinion…

    AlSand,
    You used some pretty strong words. Vivisected? Failed miserably? A Pirates of the Caribbean knockoff? I think most of us will agree that the PC movie departed from the book in some ways, but to say that it contains NONE of Lewis’ wisdom or message is a little severe, don’t you think? The scenes with Lucy and Aslan come to mind, as well as her “don’t you think we should prove ourselves to him?” type quotes, the hag and werewolf scene, and the part at the end of the movie where Trumpkin and Aslan meet. All these scenes contain Lewis’ Christian message, and they’re all filled with allegory and wisdom.

    Defender of the King,
    WOW! I love your comments on the conversion theme, the night raid, and all the wonderful things they kept in the movie. Personally, I thought Peter’s personal struggle was one of the best aspects of the movie. It gave you a glimpse of how hard it was for him to adjust from being a king to a kid again. I thought it was pure genius!

    Hannah,
    While I think we hold different opinions on the PC movie (I LOVE IT!), I do agree that Susan and Caspian’s romance could have been left out. It was definitely NOT one of my favorite parts. I think, though, that no matter your feelings about the movie, we can all appreciate the great effort the film-makers took to bring the book to life.

    Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for listening to the many things I have to say! :D

  26. Lily of Archenland says:

    They played mix-and-match with the plotline, and dumped a couple of my favorite moments, and Caspian’s whole attitude was more of the arrogant king and less of the childlike wonder of the Old Days than I would have wised, BUT: they kept the faith intact! During LWW, I was deeply disapointed in spite of the visual beauty and the childlike awe of it all in their portrayal of Alsan Himself. The emphasis was so heavily on how the PEVENSIES were saving the day, the PEVENSIES were the ones who brought the hope that broke the winter in Narnia, that it was almost as if the death of Aslan didn’t matter… oh, boo hoo. The resistance lost a leader, but hey, these marvelous children of prophecy can still do it, they had it all under control! But then we hit PC, and however much they changed around, their ultimate binding together of the story was beautiful. You go from the Pevensies seemingly being the focal point of hope in #1, to Aslan and Aslan only being the one who can save the land in #2… I can pardon everything else they did with the movie in favor of that.

  27. Mark Sommer says:

    Lily of Archenland: I couldn’t agree with you more! I got involved writing about the series shortly after the second movie had finished filming, and hadn’t followed LWW anywhere nearly as close.
    This past weekend I watched LWW again all the way through and was surprised by just what you are saying. The emphasis in on how the Pevensies are going to rescue Narnia. And I agree; they did a much better job in PC showing the importance of Aslan.
    Well, Paul. It looks like the Washington Times article at least served as a catalyst for people to express themselves here. My, how the floodgates have opened!

  28. Reepicheep, Knight of Narnia says:

    Interesting… Julia Duin’s article seemed kind of strange to me. If the Washington Times are a secular news source, why are they so worried about the Christian theme of the movies? The article seemed to be trying to make people not go to the movie. I think that Fox shouldn’t stand for it. That remark at the end of the article about the Christian directors would have gotten me upset if it was directed against me. If the author of this article is so worried about the franchise, she’d do better to wait for VDT to come out and then pick it apart. Maybe I’m reading more into this than there is, but it seemed the purpose of this article was to lose the loyal (or maybe not-so-loyal) book-fans attendance of the movie, which will only hurt it.

    Brad Ryden,
    That’s interesting about the Washington Times. That makes this whole thing sound even more incredible.

  29. Narniamiss says:

    @Glumpuddle: I coulnd’t have said it better! I especially worry about Christian filmmakers worrying too much about how much “Christianity” to put in a film. Why downplay God’s message? What Lewis does is enhance it; by putting it in a new and wonderful light. I wish more authors/filmmakers did the same thing.

  30. Shasta and Bree Fan says:

    Can’t read all the comments…but glad to see a different opinion than the article in the Washington Times. My first reaction to reading it was, “wait, writing about a movie that doesn’t have a trailer out yet, and won’t come out until December?” It seemed fishy. Who knows, I’ll be watching the next Narnia on opening night if I can, and I will make my judgment then and not beforehand.
    Random-I hope they make it through all seven! The Horse and His Boy is amazing, as well as The Last Battle! I was depressed for days after I read The Last Battle. So touching. Full of meaning. :D

  31. Prince Caspifan says:

    Shasta and Bree Fan,

    I have to agree with you and add, I need them to AT LEAST make The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. It may sound morbid to be hoping that they make The Last Battle, but I really view the boldness of that story to be a real artistic flourish by C.S. Lewis. It could be such a tour de force if the film is done right.

  32. Lily of Archenland says:

    Prince Caspifian–No, I don’t think it sounds morbid at all. I’m somewhat worried how well they would do on it, but The Last Battle is, after all, the end of the story. If one wants to see the whole story filmed, it’s only fair to film the end, right?

  33. A Horse's Boy says:

    I have just rewatched LWW with my 12-yr old son. I have been an atheist since teenagehood and a pagan too. I have read LWW and a couple of the other books to my son when he was younger and he has read some on his own too. As we were watching, I mentioned to him that C.S. Lewis meant us to think of Alsan as Jesus, and pointed out the similarities to the Crucifiction in the mockery on the way to the Stone Chair and the Resurection, but most importantly in the sacrifice for Edmund’s treachery. I am far from Christian, but the message of the book (and the film) is as powerful to me and to my son as to any Evangelical, and knowing the subtext which he wasn’t aware of (and which the author intended) will make him appreciate this film and the the other books and films more deeply.

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