I'm a recently new subscriber to Touchstone magazine. Their latest issue has a feature article on Narnia, which is quite critical of the films. It has me thinking.
Is Satan pullling a fast one on us, neutering one of the most potent weapons for good produced by the church in recent generations?
Mainstream Christians think it is a great thing that Narnia is getting so much wider publicity, and that is good. But the article points out that the most important things in Lewis' Narnia that our culture needs to hear are removed from the movies. "When one refers to The Chronicles of Narnia, most people already think of the films, not of Lewis's own stories."
What if, in trying to bring Lewis' message to the culture, that message is distorted, and the movies instead proclaims the culture's own messed up values?
Could this be? Consider.
- The center of the first movie was Peter growing to learn that disobedience is a sign of maturity. Aslan helps, but is not the center.
- The second movie assumes that Peter can't adjust from king to kid and gets spoiled. But Lewis' whole point was that Narnia transforms the children to be virtuous in our world.
- Caspian and Peter blame each other and fight for prominence in the movie, but in the book they respect each other's positions.
- Susan and Lucy don't fight in the books, but do in the movies.
To sum up the Touchstone article, the movies remove the one value from the books that our culture most needs to hear: a respect for authority.
To the extent the movies get people to read the books and they are influenced by the books, I am thankful. But I'm not holding my breath.
Please. Read the book 5 times for every once you watch the movie.