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Movie ReviewsThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia stories have previously been adapted for the screen, most notably in the late 1980s and early 1990s TV version.  But the recent screen adaptation arrived amidst great anticipation because of the prominent marketing that preceded it, thanks to its mogul producer Walt Disney Pictures.  For many, it seems the film version did not live up to the magic of Lewis' beloved classic.  Personally, I enjoyed the film immensely and found it to be true to the spirit and story of its source.

 

Whether or not they are familiar with the adventures of the four British children who happen upon an enchanted world, Christians should be able to relate to the allegorical aspects of C.S. Lewis's imagination.  The lion Aslan possesses many of Christ's most characteristic but sometimes overlooked traits: he is a powerful king who simultaneously stirs in his subjects love, fear, and awe.  Many of the interactions between Aslan and the other characters will remind viewers of their own relationship with Christ, as he teaches the children, corrects them, and bestows on them the dignity of royalty.  There are even some noticeably Catholic moments as Peter is installed as the High King of Narnia and Edmund shares his shame with Aslan privately as though in the Sacrament of Penance.

 

The scene at the Stone Table, in which we see Aslan's most clear connection to Christ, is intended to elicit an emotional reaction from the audience.  Although I did find it moving, I contend that the preceding scene, Aslan's “Agony in the Garden,” so to speak, is a far more subtle and touching moment.

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is suitable for all but very young children.  The film's level of maturity seems very appropriate to a book written for children that nevertheless deals with some difficult subjects, specifically violence in battle and personal sacrifice.  As in the book, these scenes are handled without graphic imagery and without losing the seriousness of the situations.  Overall, I do not expect this film to be as memorable or enduring Lewis's books, but it is a well-made and enjoyable adaptation of the classic stories.

 

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