"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I'm always apprehensive when movie versions of books I love are announced. They are never entirely faithful to the original and often substitute a degenerate sensibility. So I was pleasantly surprised upon viewing The Lord of the Ring trilogy on the big screen. The imagery was almost exactly what my mind envisioned when I read the books in the 1970s and re-read them a dozen times over the subsequent decades. True, some important things were omitted and undue liberty was taken with the subplot about the love of Arwen and Aragon. But the true spirit of "the Tolkien thing" remained mostly intact. For that reason, I kept my mind open when the upcoming Disney film version of C.S. Lewis' best-known Narnia story was first publicized. I'm glad I did.

Willy-nilly, Catholic filmscript maven Barbara Nicolosi has provided us with the best possible review of the pre-screening she was privileged to view:

...this movie may have a little of The Passion problem. Madeleine L'Engle says in her book on writing, Walking on Water, that we Christians should live in such a way that our lives wouldn't make sense if our Faith wasn't true. We tell our Act One students that they should write that way too. Their stories shouldn't make sense unless they begin from Christian presuppositions. C.S. Lewis' Narnia books are very much like that.

So, this adaptation of his books on the big screen - in being true to their source material - will be tremendously, heart-fillingly comprehensible to those of us who love Jesus. And probably a bit strange to those who don't. But whereas The Passion was disturbingly incomprehensible to non-believers, this film will be fascinatingly so. I want to be clear: there is plenty of stuff to love and enjoy here for non-Christians. But they aren't going to get why we Christians are going to be in ecstasy here , any more than the pagans got why we cried copious tears at The Passion. What I am saying is, be prepared for this new Narnia film to be foolishness to the New York Times, and a stumbling block to Daily Variety.

What a stirring line: "foolishness to the New York Times, a stumbing block to Daily Variety"! If somebody like Nicolosi says that, I believe it and happily prepare as she advises. I suggest my readers do the same. It will heighten your pleasure all the more.
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