December 7, 2005


Keeper of the magic
: Disney's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" stays true to C.S. Lewis' series (Carina Chocano, December 7, 2005, LA Times)

There are several things to be grateful for in Disney's adaptation of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which, considering how beloved the source, comes as a relief. Most people who read the C.S. Lewis series as kids recall it with a fierce and proprietary fondness. But aside from an added prologue that kicks off the story in London and helps to ground it in a reality against which to contrast the fantasy to come, the movie remains faithful to the book in both tone and imagery. As soon as I finish this, I'll be sending thank-you notes to whomever it was that managed to avoid conforming to nervous marketers' notions of what "the kids" are into these days. Rather unbelievably — but oh so felicitously — Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) have made it onto the screen as British children (accents and all) who haven't been remotely coolified. They're starchy, polite, dressed in boiled wool and excited at the prospect of sardines on toast.

Some evangelical groups have been promoting the movie as " 'The Passion' for kids," which makes it sound potentially like a greater source of lifelong trauma than "Bambi." But the Christian allegory embedded at its chewy center serves less as evangelical cudgel than a primer on morality and the myths we create to explain it. The magical land of Narnia is a place where Western myths and religions (classical, Christian, Celtic, Norse, you name it) are jumbled together so that we may consider their similarities and uses. If it weren't for Lewis' stated intention to write a fantastical story to make the dogma go down, it might even come across as a liberal humanist parable about myth and its function in society, especially during times of trouble.

the point being that the myths partake of the true myth.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2005 10:22 AM

What kind of research did this woman do? It's not "Disney's adaptation" -- the movie was made by Walden Media.

Disney Inc. had zilch to do with the story adaptation or even the making of the film. Disney Inc. is merely the distributor of the film; it saw a business opportunity; For that service, it will get a fat percentage.

Walden Media got the rights to Narnia from the C.S. Lewis Estate in 2001. Walden is backed by Philip F. Anschutz, a billionaire social conservative (who co-founded Qwest Communications.)

That's one of the biggest aspects of this story; an end run around the big Hollywood studios, who are just waking up and realzing that if they make movies that do not insult the values of and alienate 85 percent of their audiences, that there's money to be made in movies again. The so-called reporter thinks Disney (the people that gave you the politically correct fairy tale Pocahantus) made this movie.

Posted by: John Savage at December 7, 2005 11:31 AM

It is very strange to read the newspaper these days. They usually write as if Christianity is some bizarre foreign culture. Which I suppose it is to their shrinking readership...

Posted by: b at December 7, 2005 4:54 PM