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

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) movie poster

(2005) dir. Andrew Adamson
viewed: 04/07/06

A lot of people reacted negatively to this film because of its Christian allegory. I think that the fact that it has a Christian allegory is less problematic than the fact that a big part of the fact that this film got produced in the first place was an attempt to corner a market for the Lord of the Rings style franchise backed with a broader marketing plan at the Christian-types (or whatever one might call them). The thing is that these books were written with the allegory in them. It’s not like the film is interpreting that in any meaningful way and adding to it significantly. C.S. Lewis made these key factors in his story. It’s just simply part of it. In some ways, making this film without its key Christian themes seems more wrong-minded than the other way around.

Besides, when it comes down to it, it’s really that the character of Aslan is essentially a Christ figure with the crucifixion and resurrection thing going on. He is redeemed for the sins of another character. It’s not as pervasive as one might think given all the backlash and hoopla. I mean, it’s there. So what.

Really, the big thing to me in this film is the incredibly artificiality of the design and the characters. The whole thing looks like what it is, a big CG playground with a few human characters in it. The design is sort of literal and clean so that it’s strange. It’s not designed in a highly stylized way; it’s kind of plain and simple. It looks weird and fake. Maybe that is a type of aesthetic. I dunno.

The other thing that is fucking goofy in this film is who the good guys and who the bad guys are. Like why are Minotaurs (multiple) bad and wolves and polar bears? Why are centaurs and cheetahs the good guys? Who selected which animals and fantasy figures fell on which side? It’s like a total pastiche of elements. Santa Claus for goodness sake! Okay, you know he’s a good guy. But I would have liked to see him kicking some ogre ass. Wouldn’t it have been hilarious to see Santa stab some animals to death? Now that would have been something!

As a story, I grew up with the Bill Melendez television animation version of the story from 1979. I never read the books and it’s not that I thought that that was definitive, but that’s what I knew of it. I think that this film is really not that bad. It’s reasonable. It’s fine.

It’s weird to me that Hollywood is looking more keenly at the Christian market and looking to produce films to appeal to them on certain ideological and content directions. If this is all that they come up with then it’s not such a bad thing. I remember from one of my first film classes hearing about them watching Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy (which I have never seen) (1978) in which Kris Kristofferson is a Christ figure. If you think about it, they are everywhere.

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