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How close is close enough? The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I did a search, and it seems apparent that Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia aren't exactly hot subjects here, but here I go.

Let me begin by saying I read the entire series in a weekend when I was about 11 years old. I wouldn't dare to say I like it better than Lord of the Rings, because it's like comparing apples to oranges. I love them both.

So I went to the opening of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Thursday with some trepidation. Needless to say, there are some significant deviations from the book, particularly a high tension chase from wolves that culminates in a hair raising escape on a chunk of ice down a thawing river. Nothing like that in the book.

As a movie on it's own, its really good, but the book is still better.

Why can't Hollywood make a movie that is really (really) true to the book--and in the end, does it matter? Is this movie "close enough"?
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post #2 of 80
Although I love the sci-fi genre in literature, I've still not seen any of Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.

CS Lewis was one of those writers who I never gelled with either; I'm sure he had something interesting to say, although GK Chesterton always seemed to have more epiphany moments in childrens literature than CS.

I endured the 'Shadowlands' remake film of CS Lewis' life one year, and the rigor mortis still grips me when I think about it. Peter Hoeg's 'Miss Smilla's feeling for snow' was a similar disaster remake; as was Cormac McCarthy's 'All the Pretty Horses'. I loved the novels but couldn't get into the books. There are other examples, although I can't say I hold out much hope for the Chronicles of Narnia if its made in Hollywood.

Virtually everything I watch nowadays comes out of obscure art houses in Europe or elsewhere.

All I need then is a little munchkin to bring to see the Chronicles of Narnia to make me feel better about going to see it if I'm sober...
post #3 of 80
What? Are you trying to say that if you created a new fancy CGI effect, you wouldn't want to show it off even though it really didn't fit into the original story? In America land of freedom, because you have that god given right, it means you have to exercise it, and artistic freedom makes difference.
post #4 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Fangorn
I did a search, and it seems apparent that Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia aren't exactly hot subjects here, but here I go.

Let me begin by saying I read the entire series in a weekend when I was about 11 years old. I wouldn't dare to say I like it better than Lord of the Rings, because it's like comparing apples to oranges. I love them both.

So I went to the opening of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Thursday with some trepidation. Needless to say, there are some significant deviations from the book, particularly a high tension chase from wolves that culminates in a hair raising escape on a chunk of ice down a thawing river. Nothing like that in the book.

As a movie on it's own, its really good, but the book is still better.

Why can't Hollywood make a movie that is really (really) true to the book--and in the end, does it matter? Is this movie "close enough"?

I am just starting to read the book right now, and the beginning of the story is way different from the movie trailer.
Typical Disney aseptisation
post #5 of 80
I liked the books. They are pretty good fantasy stuff. Lewis is a marvelous writer.

However, the movie is garbage. It gets a pass because it's a children's movie based off a very popular children's series, but it is terrible. I think its good reviews are based on nothing more than the film's association with a far superior film series; The Lord of the Rings.


"Hey guys look at me swing this sword! You'll totally believe I'm a bad-ass warrior instead of an irritating poser!"

What's amazing is that the filmmakers took talking lions, wolves, a supremely evil witch and made a boring movie. The chase scene discussed earlier in the thread is irritating and anticlimactic. The whole film is anticlimactic, it is a bunch of nothing that leads to nothing.

There is no character development. Aslan is nothing more than a talking lion that everyone seems to respect/fear for some reason. They do nothing to make him feel or look majestic.


See how good he looks in this picture? His movement is like gelatin covered in fur.

The kids are atrocious. Child actors are rarely good, but these kids are abysmal. The only interesting one is Edmund, who you hate, perhaps even more after he is redeemed.


If you don't want these kids to die just looking at the picture, you sure will after you watch this scene!

The moral lessons of the film are what disturbed me most.
- Run away with strangers.
- Fighting solves your problems. If you fail, you redeem yourself with violence.
- You deserve to be king no matter what you do.


Hey little girls... run away with half-naked men!

I left the theater baffled at what I just witnessed. It had to be one of the laziest screen adaptations from any book ever.

After the movie I saw that 4 different screenwriters kludged this together. You feel it. Absolute hack-work.

What I liked about it:
- The White Witch was awesome. She was evil and hardcore and extremely alluring as a character. Tilda Swinton stole this film (not that there was much to steal).
- Narnia itself is kind of pretty. Not spectacular or memorable, just kind of pretty.


"Do I have to carry this entire film MYSELF!?"

That's the entire list.

This movie sucked and the people who wasted this opportunity should be ashamed of themselves.
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post #6 of 80
Thanks Groverat : you totally convice me to avoid this movie.
post #7 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Powerdoc
Thanks Groverat : you totally convice me to avoid this movie.

Kids will like it. But the bad moral lessons I mentioned might make one wary from a parental standpoint.

But I doubt a viewing or two would turn well-raised children into little psychotics.
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post #8 of 80
JR Tolkien and CS Lewis were friends - Tolkien converted CS lewis to Christianity.

And Tolkien hated the book.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...657756,00.html
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post #9 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
JR Tolkien and CS Lewis were friends - Tolkien converted CS lewis to Christianity.

And Tolkien hated the book.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...657756,00.html

Tolkien didn't have much use for allegory.

I would be skeptical watching anything that came from the director of Shrek, and the Disney company -- a match made in integrity hell. Read the books, especially the last one in the series.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #10 of 80
There is no real purpose in calling for people to read the books. They are pretty good fantasy, and there is a lot of wonderful fantasy out there.

If it's about converting people to Christianity, choose some Lewis work that isn't boring and mediocre, send them a copy of Mere Christianity.
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post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
There is no real purpose in calling for people to read the books. They are pretty good fantasy, and there is a lot of wonderful fantasy out there.

If it's about converting people to Christianity, choose some Lewis work that isn't boring and mediocre, send them a copy of Mere Christianity.

I think you meant to type Abolition of Man or The Four Loves. My point was that the last book in the Narnia series has a theme of universal salvation that is pretty interesting -- particularly coming from Lewis.

Don't forget -- the average reading level of your 'typical' evangelical aside -- these were children's books; my 11-year-old daughter is on the last book in the series, and my 9-year-old is on the fourth.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #12 of 80
According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.
Quote:
It is possible to extract from the Narnia stories a system of theology very like the Christian. Thus the theological content of The Magicians Nephew is the story of the creation. Aslan sings it into being. The temptation in the Garden of Eden and the Fall are there. In the story he wrote next we have death, judgment, Hell, and Heaven. But the author almost certainly did not want his readers to notice the resemblance of the Narnian theology to the Christian story. His idea, as he once explained to me, was to make it easier for children to accept Christianity when they met it later in life. He hoped that they would be vaguely reminded of the somewhat similar stories that they had read and enjoyed years before. I am aiming at a sort of pre-baptism of the childs imagination.
post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.

I thought that it was commonly understood that the Narnia series was something along the lines of "Christian myth". Each book has at least one very stong thread that deals with redemption, repentance, etc.

I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love -- it would have secured it an automatic trip to the Oscars, but, C'est la Vie

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #14 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love -- it would have secured it an automatic trip to the Oscars, but, C'est la Vie

Yep. The only reason people didn't like the movie is because they hate Jesus.

Your social commentary is gripping!
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post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Yep. The only reason people didn't like the movie is because they hate Jesus.

Your social commentary is gripping!

laugh, dammit

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #16 of 80
Quote:
If you don't want these kids to die just looking at the picture, you sure will after you watch this scene!

Wow! That's a very strong reaction! Very identified with the wicked witch are we?


Quote:
I'm kinda sorry the director didn't have the two boys fall in love --

Wow. That's some fantasy. You know it's too good to be true. *snigger*

Quote:
According to this,, Lewis wanted to subtly indoctrinate children into Christianity with his stories.

I wonder if the article is overtly simplistic. Authorial intent rarely ever gets kudos in any analysis of literature. It would of course,only be appropriate for partisans in society to seize on literature for their own needs (and gain).
post #17 of 80
Thread Starter 
I think the words "unduly hostile" come to mind, Groverat.

My original question had little, if anything, to do with the quality of the movie. In fact, my question could be answered without any direct reference to LWW; it just happens to be the catalyst for the question. Obviously in your case, accuracy with the original text is not an issue. You wouldn't like it if it was. So why muddy the waters?

What about Little Women, or a River Runs Through It, or a plethora of other books made into movies, all inferior to the original book?

Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?
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post #18 of 80
Trainspotting. The movie was better than the book, but I say that mainly because I had an impossible time understanding Irvine Welsh.
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post #19 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Fangorn
Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?

Blade runner: directors cut?
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post #20 of 80
I have to agree. 2X

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #21 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Fangorn
Or, to make it simple, has anyone seen a movie that actually did credit to the book?

Not really, but it's not a fair fight. A typical book is probably 10 times longer than a movie. And even if they were the same length, the visual medium is just so much dumber than the verbal.
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Not really, but it's not a fair fight. A typical book is probably 10 times longer than a movie. And even if they were the same length, the visual medium is just so much dumber than the verbal.

The other problem I have with the book-to-movie thing is that it "steals your imagination" from you. When I read a book, I mentally craft a picture of the settings, characters and action. The movie version takes this away and it almost never matches my own imagination. And it isn't even that I have a great imagination (whatever that means)...but it is mine. With the movie that ceases.

Still, I do like to see movie adaptations from time-to-time. I'm not a nut about having my "imagination stolen" thing...it is just an aspect that could spoil things for me.
post #23 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
The other problem I have with the book-to-movie thing is that it "steals your imagination" from you. When I read a book, I mentally craft a picture of the settings, characters and action. The movie version takes this away and it almost never matches my own imagination. And it isn't even that I have a great imagination (whatever that means)...but it is mine. With the movie that ceases.

Still, I do like to see movie adaptations from time-to-time. I'm not a nut about having my "imagination stolen" thing...it is just an aspect that could spoil things for me.

In some respects I would agree with you. But I know I never fully appreciated Tolkiens' descriptions of Middle Earth, which is the main reason I cut the movies so much slack. I love dialogue and action, but long descriptive passages tend to lose me, probably because I read too fast. So I love adaptations to see all the things I haven't filled in. Okay, maybe I'm lazy.

I watched Trainspotting once and that was all I could do. The woman finding her baby dead was just too much for me. (thread cross reference?) I have not read the short story for Bladerunner, although I would like to. But that leads to another theory of mine--that short stories make better movies. The short story and the movie seem to be more akin in the style of story telling. There is no room for rambling in a short story; every word must matter. So it is with a movie.
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post #24 of 80
100 M dollars in Christian money can't be wrong?
"In a republic, voters may vote for the leaders they want, but they get the leaders they deserve."
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"In a republic, voters may vote for the leaders they want, but they get the leaders they deserve."
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post #25 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
The other problem I have with the book-to-movie thing is that it "steals your imagination" from you.

I agree - the first Dune movie really did this to me. My vision of Paul Atrides was much better than the movie, but whatever it was has been erased and replaced by that blank stared bufoon.
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post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
I liked the books. They are pretty good fantasy stuff. Lewis is a marvelous writer.

However, the movie is garbage. It gets a pass because it's a children's movie based off a very popular children's series, but it is terrible.

What's amazing is that the filmmakers took talking lions, wolves, a supremely evil witch and made a boring movie. The chase scene discussed earlier in the thread is irritating and anticlimactic. The whole film is anticlimactic, it is a bunch of nothing that leads to nothing.

There is no character development. Aslan is nothing more than a talking lion that everyone seems to respect/fear for some reason. They do nothing to make him feel or look majestic.

The kids are atrocious. Child actors are rarely good, but these kids are abysmal. The only interesting one is Edmund, who you hate, perhaps even more after he is redeemed.

The moral lessons of the film are what disturbed me most.
- Run away with strangers.
- Fighting solves your problems. If you fail, you redeem yourself with violence.
- You deserve to be king no matter what you do.

I left the theater baffled at what I just witnessed. It had to be one of the laziest screen adaptations from any book ever.

This movie sucked and the people who wasted this opportunity should be ashamed of themselves.

Sorry for the excessive snippage, feel free to edit. Oh boy, I don't know where to start, really, having neither seen the film, nor read the books; my only vague recollections are now of having had them read to me a long long time ago...

However, I'm not entirely convinced that those are the moral lessons, given that this is an allegory -- though I'm not informed enough about the tales now to really break down the allegory and present it fairly. If they are the moral lessons, well, they may not be so bad, as moral lessons go -- problematic American-Christian readings aside.

Running away with strangers can be a very enlightening -- it often does good things for the narrative arc of a fantasy.

Violence is at this point in history much too celebrated for anyone to generalize it as good or bad. I tend to think of it as dangerous and volatile, but not esentially moral/immoral -- that depends on the reasons and the ends.

On Kingship, I'm not sure, being basically ignorant of the material, but allegories are sometimes surprising. There's one world view where the right to kingship is absolutely not determined by ones other virtues, the right is a virtue unto itself -- and I think that a great number of people believe this on a deep pschological level, always have, likely always will, though the costumes change...

edit: I had wanted to add, that the only truly unforgivable sin for any artistic product would be to fail to entertain, either to make bad work, or as you suggest, to waste good material. I think children are more damaged by that than the moral messages contained...
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post #27 of 80
Just because I like writing about things that make me angry, let me throw the premise out for you.

These kids leave their mom in London during WWII for safety from bombs. But I guess the mom was bomb-proof so she didn't go with them... or something. (Woman abandons children while dad fights evil.)

They shack up with this bitch woman and the nutty professor she serves. (Woman is a hag, man is cool.)

Blah blah blah, they all end up in Narnia and the White Witch is after them. Aslan is the good guy. (Woman bad. Man good.)

Now, there's a prophecy that says 4 humans (children of Adam and Eve!) will come out of nowhere and rule the land. Ability? Worthiness? Efficacy? NO! A prophecy says it! (Peter is HIGH KING! The high queen (never actually called that but one would hope) is called "the gentle").)

So Aslan sacrifices himself for the shitty younger brother who betrays them over and over again. And the sacrificial alter breaks like the temple. (Woman kills man.)

Aslan comes back during the big good/evil battle and bites the White Witch's face off. (YAY!)

Now what purpose did the children serve? None. Aslan kills the White Witch. The kids run around and do nothing. They are pointless. Lucy heals Edward, Peter kills a wolf on accident and I don't think the oldest girl ever shoots anything with her bow. Aslan kills the witch. (Muscular Jesus.)

Leading up to the big battle scene Peter looks over at this hero centaur guy and asks, "Are you with me?". I actually laughed loudly in the theater at this point. This shitnose kid comes out of nowhere and asks this warrior if he's got the nuts to fight. And we're supposed to believe it because he's a beautiful blonde boy who transformed himself from ineffectual big brother to mighty warrior king in 10 seconds. (Women? They are either evil or they serve male characters.)

So these varied races who have existed for who-knows-how-long are now ruled by these human kids who have no knowledge about the world at all... because of a prophecy... man's inherent right to rule and dominate. Dominion.

So the movie ends with them chasing this white stag through the forest... why are they chasing a stag? Are they going to kill it? Catch it? Is the stag a willing participant in this game?

The whole women thing kept striking me during the movie and it reminded me of the Passion (Satan was a woman, Jesus was a man). We are living in a time that is highly evocative of the muscular, masculine Christian mindset of ass-kicking Jesus and the violent dominion of His followers.
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post #28 of 80
Here's a problem. You start off with "Lewis is a marvelous writer" but the film sucks. However, it sounds like a lot of the thematic problems are pretty fundamental stuff, not so much wasted material as they are issues with the source. And if so, you have to qualify your opening remarks a bit: maybe, 'Lewis is a marvelous writer, but a bit of a shit'?

However, I wouldn't know if Lewis' writing was more delicate and more successful, was it?

I guess my question is, does this movie suck because they failed to realize Lewis' book, or because they succeeded?
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post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Just because I like writing about things that make me angry, let me throw the premise out for you.

These kids leave their mom in London during WWII for safety from bombs. But I guess the mom was bomb-proof so she didn't go with them... or something. (Woman abandons children while dad fights evil.)

They shack up with this bitch woman and the nutty professor she serves. (Woman is a hag, man is cool.)

Blah blah blah, they all end up in Narnia and the White Witch is after them. Aslan is the good guy. (Woman bad. Man good.)

Now, there's a prophecy that says 4 humans (children of Adam and Eve!) will come out of nowhere and rule the land. Ability? Worthiness? Efficacy? NO! A prophecy says it! (Peter is HIGH KING! The high queen (never actually called that but one would hope) is called "the gentle").)

So Aslan sacrifices himself for the shitty younger brother who betrays them over and over again. And the sacrificial alter breaks like the temple. (Woman kills man.)

Aslan comes back during the big good/evil battle and bites the White Witch's face off. (YAY!)

Now what purpose did the children serve? None. Aslan kills the White Witch. The kids run around and do nothing. They are pointless. Lucy heals Edward, Peter kills a wolf on accident and I don't think the oldest girl ever shoots anything with her bow. Aslan kills the witch. (Muscular Jesus.)

Leading up to the big battle scene Peter looks over at this hero centaur guy and asks, "Are you with me?". I actually laughed loudly in the theater at this point. This shitnose kid comes out of nowhere and asks this warrior if he's got the nuts to fight. And we're supposed to believe it because he's a beautiful blonde boy who transformed himself from ineffectual big brother to mighty warrior king in 10 seconds. (Women? They are either evil or they serve male characters.)

So these varied races who have existed for who-knows-how-long are now ruled by these human kids who have no knowledge about the world at all... because of a prophecy... man's inherent right to rule and dominate. Dominion.

So the movie ends with them chasing this white stag through the forest... why are they chasing a stag? Are they going to kill it? Catch it? Is the stag a willing participant in this game?

The whole women thing kept striking me during the movie and it reminded me of the Passion (Satan was a woman, Jesus was a man). We are living in a time that is highly evocative of the muscular, masculine Christian mindset of ass-kicking Jesus and the violent dominion of His followers.

groverat, that was really bad -- you may be approaching self-paradoy here.

A couple of notes:

Lewis wrote the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for a little girl, Lucy Barfield, the adopted daughter of Owen Barfield, a fellow member of the Inklings (along with Christians Sayers, Tolkien, etc.), in 1950; just a couple of years after the Battle of Britian, when many children were actually sent to the countryside.

The 'nutty' professor built the Wardrobe from a tree he grew -- from a seed taken from Narnia.

If they caught the white stag, IIRC, he would grant them a wish -- something along those lines.

In The Passion, Satan is the mirror image of Mary (resemblance, etc., right down to 'the child' he is holding.)

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Just because I like writing about things that make me angry, let me throw the premise out for you.

These kids leave their mom in London during WWII for safety from bombs. But I guess the mom was bomb-proof so she didn't go with them... or something. (Woman abandons children while dad fights evil.)

They shack up with this bitch woman and the nutty professor she serves. (Woman is a hag, man is cool.)

Blah blah blah, they all end up in Narnia and the White Witch is after them. Aslan is the good guy. (Woman bad. Man good.)

Now, there's a prophecy that says 4 humans (children of Adam and Eve!) will come out of nowhere and rule the land. Ability? Worthiness? Efficacy? NO! A prophecy says it! (Peter is HIGH KING! The high queen (never actually called that but one would hope) is called "the gentle").)

So Aslan sacrifices himself for the shitty younger brother who betrays them over and over again. And the sacrificial alter breaks like the temple. (Woman kills man.)

Aslan comes back during the big good/evil battle and bites the White Witch's face off. (YAY!)

Now what purpose did the children serve? None. Aslan kills the White Witch. The kids run around and do nothing. They are pointless. Lucy heals Edward, Peter kills a wolf on accident and I don't think the oldest girl ever shoots anything with her bow. Aslan kills the witch. (Muscular Jesus.)

Leading up to the big battle scene Peter looks over at this hero centaur guy and asks, "Are you with me?". I actually laughed loudly in the theater at this point. This shitnose kid comes out of nowhere and asks this warrior if he's got the nuts to fight. And we're supposed to believe it because he's a beautiful blonde boy who transformed himself from ineffectual big brother to mighty warrior king in 10 seconds. (Women? They are either evil or they serve male characters.)

So these varied races who have existed for who-knows-how-long are now ruled by these human kids who have no knowledge about the world at all... because of a prophecy... man's inherent right to rule and dominate. Dominion.

So the movie ends with them chasing this white stag through the forest... why are they chasing a stag? Are they going to kill it? Catch it? Is the stag a willing participant in this game?

The whole women thing kept striking me during the movie and it reminded me of the Passion (Satan was a woman, Jesus was a man). We are living in a time that is highly evocative of the muscular, masculine Christian mindset of ass-kicking Jesus and the violent dominion of His followers.

So, more succintly...

You didn't like the story.

post #31 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
You didn't like the story.

I think you meant to type "...didn't 'get' the story" ...there's nothing like seeing a children's classic treated as cheap agitprop. (Except maybe seeing kittens killed with an axe.)

for groverat -->

... CC what's up with your PM? I tried to ring you back....

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #32 of 80
If you look at the messages embedded in stories, I think that it takes a lot of joy out of the world.

Just look at star wars - the message is that genetically superior people deserve to be aristocrats that can roam the galaxy killing people at will, while at the same time supporting a beaurocracy that is too stifled to make any decisions.
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post #33 of 80
I read (and cherished) the whole series several times over as a kid. I got the religious imagery and viewed it as cheap propaganda despite, at that point, believing in god. And the enjoyment I gained from the books always outweighed their shortcomings. Now I'm a lapsed Catholic and contented atheist so C. S. Lewis failed abysmally when it came to brainwashing me.

I think Lewis is part of an era in children's literature that's has many books that are problematic for modern (adult) readers. Probably because we're not yet historically distanced enough from the social milieu that produced them. So we can have issues with a C. S. Lewis or Enid Blyton, while contentedly reading the kids Hansel and Gretel featuring children being locked in a cage prior to (intended) consumption.

I always found The Pied Piper to be one of the creepiest and most disturbing of stories I read or was told as a kid. In most kid's stories, when the characters go off with a stranger or to a strange place, they later return. The whole stealing the children away - all the children - is really spooky. Definitely not an "and they all lived happily ever after" ending.

Can't stand Tolkein - books or movie - but I will say that the Middle Earth of the movies was a very close reflection of my mental image thanks, obviously, to the detail in Tolkein's description. I think some books lend themselves to this. There was a TV series made of Gormenghast (sp?) that I thought was spot on both in terms of the "look" and faithfulness to the story. (And from the same period as Tolkein and Lewis. Hmm. Interesting.) I think LWW is one of those sort of books too and no matter how good the acting was, I'm sure I'd hate any movie that didn't fit my mental image of Narnia.

As far as the movie being as good as the book goes, I'm sure I could probably think of an example of the movie being better than the book if I thought hard enough. And while I think it's rare for a film to match up to a good book, I don't think accuracy is necessarily the key. Sometimes accuracy would ensure a bad movie. A faithful rendition of The French Lieutenant's Woman would require John Fowles to wander onto set and start talking to camera and the jarring juxtaposition of two different endings. Was the movie as good as the book? No but the solution to the book's non-filmic qualities was, IMO, pretty clever and worked well. I thought Clueless captured precisely what Austen was on about despite (or perhaps because of) the historically inaccurate setting and modern dialogue.
Tomorrow shall be love for the loveless;
And for the lover, tomorrow shall be love.
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Tomorrow shall be love for the loveless;
And for the lover, tomorrow shall be love.
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post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Matsu
However, I wouldn't know if Lewis' writing was more delicate and more successful, was it?

A great writer can write a weak story and still make it entertaining.

Quote:
I guess my question is, does this movie suck because they failed to realize Lewis' book, or because they succeeded?

Well I think there are fundamental flaws in the story that keep it from ever being great. The pointless children are the center of it and they are meaningless. They have no inherent qualities worth noting and they rule over people for no reason.
A competent screenwriter would have seen this flaw and put a ton of make-up on it, perhaps even excising it entirely for the sake of the film; perhaps just make the kids helpers in the quest, give them some kind of unique abilities. I don't know, I'm not a screenwriter.

Whatever Lewis lacked in imagination or ability to form a coherent fantasy story he made up for in his actual writing ability. Great writers can tell poor stories.


dmz:

I was explaining the movie to Matsu, not the book. I did not write the screenplay so it is not my problem if they diverge from each other or if the movie provides absolutely no explanation of anything at all.

As far as my self-parody, have you seen the movie?

The idea of Aslan killing the White Witch by biting her head off is an interesting one to me. It's muscular, masculine Christianity; violent dominion. Might as proof of right.

You can ignore it if you like, but it is there.

As far as "getting it"... the author's intended goal isn't the only thing that exists. There are reasons people do things. That "you don't get it" and e#'s "you are just being a sour-puss" argument sound like my mother trying to shoo away any discussion of human motivation or psychology.

Lewis wrote the book to soften up young minds for the message of Christianity... I ask why children should find it so inherently distasteful that they need such preparation.
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post #35 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
dmz:

I was explaining the movie to Matsu, not the book. I did not write the screenplay so it is not my problem if they diverge from each other or if the movie provides absolutely no explanation of anything at all.

As far as my self-parody, have you seen the movie?

The idea of Aslan killing the White Witch by biting her head off is an interesting one to me. It's muscular, masculine Christianity; violent dominion. Might as proof of right.

You can ignore it if you like, but it is there.

As far as "getting it"... the author's intended goal isn't the only thing that exists. There are reasons people do things. That "you don't get it" and e#'s "you are just being a sour-puss" argument sound like my mother trying to shoo away any discussion of human motivation or psychology.

Lewis wrote the book to soften up young minds for the message of Christianity... I ask why children should find it so inherently distasteful that they need such preparation.

but you are a sour-puss

Sorry groverat for giving you grief -- you just seemed perturbed that the plot [of the book] strayed into certain theological areas. It kinda/sorta came off as an indictment of Christian theology -- not just slagging off on the story.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #36 of 80
The plot didn't "stray" into Christian theology, it was designed with just that purpose.

I find it interesting that it is accepted as reasonable for Lewis to write blatant Christian propaganda designed to be appealing to children but it is not accepted as reasonable to be critical of the very motivation?

Am I being a sour-puss about it? Sure. I don't think it's cute. Every day we lose people to a new holy war fueled by the religious on both sides.

It irritates and disturbs me that while thousands of young people are dying in a crusade we have a children's movie celebrating death, violence and domination all justified by vague religious prophecies. The children's crusade of the 21st century.

In 1993 this might have been cute, when Islamic terrorism was rare and our own "counter"-terrorism was even more rare. But in 2005 it's a different animal and we live in a different time.

It's not Lewis's fault that the religious zealots on both sides have started a culture war, of course, but no man is an island.
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post #37 of 80
Quote:
Just because I like writing about things that make me angry, let me throw the premise out for you.

Well, we've been all ears

Let's look at your premises:

Quote:
I guess the mom was bomb-proof

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Woman is a hag, man is cool

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Woman bad. Man good

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Woman kills man

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Muscular Jesus.

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Women? They are either evil or they serve male characters

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.. because of a prophecy... man's inherent right to rule and dominate. Dominion

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The whole women thing kept striking me during the movie

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We are living in a time that is highly evocative of the muscular, masculine Christian mindset of ass-kicking Jesus and the violent dominion of His followers.


If there is any correspondence of your views of CS Lewis' text to the actual text, would it be unreasonable then to reference back to the text from your premises.

Can I even imagine that your series of quotes above makes me think of 'The lion, witch and the wardrobe?' The quotes are loaded with gender role argumentation, yet when looking at these premises, I find that the last thing that comes to my mind, is the work by CS Lewis. I'm wondering whether these premises are a part of your own narrative, overdetermining the text.

At times you refer to Aslan as Jesus (allegorically) and
then as man (in terms of power and role), when it suits
your views: "woman kills man" not woman kills lion". Aslan is not a man at all. Where do you get this from? Similarly, even a paradox such as 'muscular Jesus' is hard to weave sense of (for a non-American anyway: in England, I would venture that around this time of the year, most people think of 'baby Jesus' rather than your offering). In a very loose feminist critique of the text (or film), it might be plausible that both Aslan as man, and Jesus as muscular are possible, but again, and 'but' is already a sign of something wrong - dealing with either text or the film, rather than one's own presuppositions may help.

I can't say I appreciate much CS Lewis at all: this may be the only book of his I've actually ever read (I was probably 13 at the time) however I would venture that it is not unexpected that a lion in a novel or film, might bite a naughty woman, as well as growl. To bite her head off is hyperbolic and to 'bite' rather than 'serenade' a witch to death is more plausible. Why on Narnia would anyone presuppose that? Well, the qualities or essence of a lion presuppose its actions. Lions do bite - children associate this with lions, and hence the expectation of a drama. After all, we are not dealing in comedy.

Quote:
The pointless children are the center of it and they are meaningless.

If your premise is that the children are pointless then it is to no surprise that your conclusion is that they, the children, are meaningless. The conclusion is trivial, because the premise is pointless. Come on - this is really lazy logic and a lack of application of reason as a critique.....for a lowly children's story. If there is anything sensible to say in a critique of this film, it will be more than skin deep than showing contempt for children and the general role of children in most films. What would we prefer? A 'muscular Jesus' in the form of Luke Skywalker? Or perhaps as Darth Vader junior?

A lot of adults seem to enjoy sneering and condescending on childrens writers lately; also belittling the targeted audience. As such, it becomes harder to take adults seriously. Children are gripped through identifying with characters; adults may balk; I don't disagree that I find the text disinteresting.

I think I really don't like CS Lewis: his work fails to move me. But to offer one's own narrative as a critique of a piece of work isn't helping me to enjoy hating his work!

No offence intended either.

Best wishes
post #38 of 80
Quote:
The whole women thing kept striking me during the movie and it reminded me of the Passion (Satan was a woman, Jesus was a man).


err...pardon my ignorance. Was Satan a woman in Judaic literature, or Christian writings?

Anyone?
post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally posted by Justin
err...pardon my ignorance. Was Satan a woman in Judaic literature, or Christian writings?

Anyone?

She only seems that way.

Seriously, since Satan is an Angelic being, it's probably 'offically' not much more descriptive than God being 'Male'. IIRC, Satan gets the male pronoun, though.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #40 of 80
I think a movie about Lewis and Empson would likely be better. They could do a split screentwo men at their typewriters, calling one another names in scholarly journals!
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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