January 11, 2006


Does 'Narnia' Actually Suck?: Sure the movie is hollow, lukewarm pap. But are the books really not all that fabulous, either? (Mark Morford, January 11, 2006, SF Gate)

I was wrong. Sort of. Hollywood didn't actually ruin "Narnia." Hollywood didn't cheapen it all that much, or reduce it down or remove much of the original majesty by injecting it with too much CGI and not enough heart. Rather, Hollywood has done something even more depressing: It's revealed "The Chronicles of Narnia" books to be what they actually are: a rather lean slice of delightfully wrought but fairly simpleminded, largely hobbled fantasy for the imagination-deprived single-digit set. [...]

[T]he books lack exactly that element which the trained adult mind requires as a defining element of exceptional, timeless lit -- which is, of course, layers of meaning.

It's got to be painful for the Left to look at box office results year after year and see all the PC pabulum sink like stones while inherently conservative comedies and heroic tales of good vs. evil dominate. And Mr. Morford has, quite unintentionally, put his finger on the wherefore of that phenomenon: guys like Tolkien and Lewis understood that there's just One Story and meaning, while the Left finds the story so unsettling that they have to look for and propose alternate meanings, none of which resonate with Americans.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2006 12:10 PM

Having Mr. Morford speak of a "trained adult mind" is another example of fantasy fiction.

Posted by: Mikey at January 11, 2006 1:42 PM

Timeless books don't have layers of meaning - they have an arrow, pointing one way.

I suppose this fellow would have liked the story more if the White Queen had seduced Edmund with something other than candy, or if she had used her wand like a proctoscope on the Lion.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 11, 2006 2:51 PM

Mark is going to have even more bad news to explain.

Libertas - a conservative blog on movies - says that Variety newspaper is reporting that a Chronicles of Narnia sequel entitled "Price Caspian" (actually book number 4 of the Narnia series) has been approved and will begin filming later this year.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at January 11, 2006 4:31 PM

morford is one of those people who i know will never write anything worth reading (going by the first paragraph, this was one of his milder and more coherent efforts) and so i never read any articles with his name on them.

Posted by: toe at January 11, 2006 5:29 PM

"Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is the SECOND book of the series. All those who claim it is the fourth should be beaten.

Posted by: Just John at January 11, 2006 6:35 PM

I despise Morford, an infantile moron. But he's right in that the Narnia books are kid's books.

So what? It's a kids movie, the problem here is people looking at it as something for them, it isn't.

Posted by: Amos at January 11, 2006 7:26 PM

There are so many things wrong there. "Imagination deprived single digit set" is the one that strikes me, having to deal with three of that ilk daily. Apparently Moford believes that the proper sort of literature for the imagination deprived is one that leaves nothing to the imagination.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 11, 2006 9:30 PM

And, yes, it eventually came to pass that even Hollywood entertainment became an ideological bludgeon. Next came household furniture and toenail clippers.

Posted by: Al Cornpone at January 11, 2006 9:39 PM

Just John: '"Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is the SECOND book of the series. All those who claim it is the fourth should be beaten.'

Nitpick: Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia is the 2nd book; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the 3rd.

But your basic point is correct.

Posted by: Bill Woods at January 12, 2006 12:44 AM