I hesitate to post this because I think the Narnia film very, very good. The film captured the major ideas of the book, which is all you can ask for. The second time I saw it, I liked it far better than the first time because I had more perspective as far as evaluating the film in its own medium.

But the one thing I haven’t heard anyone talk about yet that truly bothered me both times I saw it was the constant sarcasm amongst the children as well as the desire to go home. My guess is Andrew Adamson, director of Shrek, has a sense of humor and a framework that is prone to sarcasm. Also, I’m sure at some point in the making of the script someone suggested Lewis made his characters too good and they needed to make them more “realistic.” That is why in the film we have Peter being condescending to Edmond even towards the end, we have the sweetest of little girls, Lucy, making a sarcastic comments to Susan when they all get into Narnia and when she calls her older sister “boring.”

The beauty of the characters of the children in Lewis’ books is that they conjure a deep desire in you to be good. The books show that morality is the truest adventure: one does not have to be “edgy” to find fulfillment. Lewis accomplishes this in his books in a completely believable way – it wouldn’t be so inspiriting otherwise. I missed this theme in the film, but they have plenty of chance to make it up in subsequent films in the chronicles.

Posted by Andrew Selby

  • Andrew,
    I agree. I think the movie completely missed the point that the air of Narnia matures you, which is what made Lewis’ kids so nice.

    Adamson’s children never really matured. I said so here.

    I think it was also a result of the film being made by non-believers. The kids in the movie were pagan kids. In the books, even the parents wind up in heaven. Can we assume then that these kids were raised to believe and therefore would have had a bit more decorum?

  • pastorshaun,

    Of course the kids were believers! How about the kneeling when they first meet the Lion? How about Lucy and Susan in the posture of the Marian mourners at the tomb of Jesus? How about Lucy’s tears when Aslan leaves? What would make you thing that they were unbelievers? That they didn’t always have the best behavior? I’m a believer, and I don’t always have the best behavior.

    You say the air of Narnia matures you. Adamson knew this at least as well as you: witness the shot of Peter the High King just before he leads the Narnian army bravely into battle.

    How in the world can you conclude that the kids in the movie were pagan? Because of Edmund’s betrayal? It’s in the book. Because of Susan’s hesitance and overbearance? It’s in the book. Because of Peter’s peevishness to Edmund? It’s in the book. Lewis knew that decorum does not equal faith. So does Adamson. Apparently pastorshaun does not.

    The religious right wants the gospel to be proclaimed through the movie. But if a narrative must be more immaculate than the Bible in order to pass muster in American evangelicalism, then nothing will be a good enough evangelistic tool–not even Lewis’s book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

  • Peregrine,

    I am confused and disturbed by your hostility toward my comment (as well as your use of ad hominem).

    I am not suggesting the children needed to be perfect by any means. I, like Andrew, was upset by the constant bickering of the children. While some of that was in the book, it was not to that degree. I still think the reason was because the main creators of this film had only a non-Christian worldview from which to work.

    I think the best example of this worldview coming through is when Edmund returns from his “talk” with Aslan. In the book, Edmund apologizes to his siblings and they forgive him. He never repents in the movie. Rather, they did the typical non-Christian take on forgiveness: “yeh, whatever, don’t worry about it.”

    However much the religious right wants it to be, this movie was not made to be an evangelistic tool. I would more easily agree with your comment that it was simply “a narrative”. What a Christian chooses to do with this narrative will require corrective if it is to be used as an evangelistic talking point.

    And perhaps even a bit of decorum.

  • pastorshaun,

    I re-read my original post, and I agree that it was too harsh and uncivilized. I am going to continue to disagree with your take on the film, but I wanted to apologize first.

    In responding to your points, 1) I don’t think the kids’ bickering in the film reveals its pagan production. If we look at Prince Caspian, Susan is intolerable. Granted, she has aged, and come closer to the point where she is no longer fit for Narnia (see Last Battle), but nevertheless it develops her character. I think it may have seem more pronounced in the movie, as there was real flesh and blood whining rather than what an adult reader might project into the characters.

    2) In the book, Aslan presents Edmund to the kids and says “there is no need to talk about what is past.” They’re interaction is then very awkward. Edmund says “sorry” (not “forgive me”) and his siblings say “That’s all right.” I would use “that’s all right” in a manner similar to “don’t worry about it.” I think the point of this interaction was to portray a) Edmund’s shame, b) the other siblings’ embarrassment at not knowing what to say, and c) that they are reconciled. Lewis writes, “Then everyone wanted very hard to say something which would make it quote clear that they were all friends with him again–something ordinary and natural–and of course no one could think of anything in the world to say. But before they had time to feel really awkward, one of the leopards…” Given that Lewis left out a formal apology, I think the film can get away with leaving the quick “I’m sorry” out. I personally wish they would have done it, but again, I don’t think it betrays latent paganism.

    Maybe it’s good that it is not quite what the religious right hoped it would be. It’s one thing for art to aid in the baptism of one’s mind and imagination before one comes to Christ; it is quite another thing for a church to set up the local Edwards as the venue for a Christmas Crusade.

  • Forgiven. I feel a bit better debating these issues knowing we’re playing as friends.

    1. I know kids bicker. I’ve got four girls who’ve been doing it since words began to flow. But I also notice a difference in their bickering and that of children raised outside the church. I found the movie to be more the latter. I agree that it is a part of them having “character” (unholy as it is). I just wish they’d developed a little bit more nobility and integrity as time passed. Edmunds added line “he’s not king yet” sat like a bad enchildada in the pit of my stomach.

    2. Fine. I’ll concede the point. Like you, though, I really wanted to see something at least intimating forgiveness verbally. Given Edmund’s line I quoted in (1), it almost gives the sense that Edmund did not repent at all. I’ll just chalk that up to progressive sanctification, though. ;O)