My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

06 August 2005


In a role I rarely find myself in, I now proclaim myself a "diehard" (don't really like that word) fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, able to offended at the slightest change in cinematic form. I have seen the previews for the upcoming films and I am worried. Here's why.

These 7 short books have been great sources of grace to me in my life. From my dad reading them to us when we were little to rediscovering them in high school and reading them once a year since...I never fail to be amazed. I read Lion, Witch & Wardrobe again yesterday and, despite being a somewhat distant reader, I never fail to get goose bumps whenever they say, "Aslan is on the move." Teary eyes and the whole bit...every time Aslan is called good and terrible at the same time.

During my college years I re-read The Last Battle. Finally coming to the Narnian version of heaven ("farther up, farther in!"), joy flooded my heart. At a point in my youth, I often had trouble falling asleep because I was scared of a housefire (I think the fire in the Black Stallion got to me). Despite holding to Christ for life, I still had fear of death sticking to the back of my mind like gum under a picnic table. And, like nothing else had done, Lewis showed heaven to my heart. I wasn't scared anymore - not that I wanted to die, but the thought of heaven, of a world like this only perfect and more colorful, this beats fear any time.

So I don't think a movie will work. While it sorta did for Tolkien's vision, I deeply doubt cinema's ability to capture Narnia's heart. The sense I get from the previews is the WETA-workshop-look-how-cool-we-can-make-everything kind of movie. Unlike Middleearth, Narnia is an explicit and blatant metaphor for the kingdom of Christ. Sin and regeneration, death and resurrection, heaven and hell - more than can be accomplished by movie-makers not completely devoted to a Christ-centered vision.

I'm certainly open to the accusation of overreacting. What do you think?


Ellen Olivetti said...


I know the purpose of your comments was not to commend your dad, but I couldn't help but think of all the nights he was tired and pressed with things to do when he made the time to sit down with his boys and read the Narnia tales to you. Many, many nights. And I think I can say with some assurance that it is one of the sweetest memories of fatherhood for him. How nice to read that, even now, you remember and that it has had a lasting effect on you - and probably on your brothers.

Tamara said...

Jared, I agree with you. A movie can't capture those books. I think the main reason has to do with perception. The makers of the movie will have a perception of these books that won't capture your more personal conncection to the stories. Will this stop you from watching it?

Tamara said...

I know I just commented, but I wanted to add something. My Dad also read those books to us. I didn't know the movie was coming out till you told me. I went on the web to watch a trailer. I must admit I cried. I am not normally a sappy person. But, it made me think about Dad reading to me. I was also just in awe of C.S. Lewis's ability to write and glorify God through it. I think we should watch it as a family. :)

Justin said...

Stephen King once said, in response to the many fan comments about his good-and-bad movie adaptations of his works, that just because the movie comes out doesn't mean the book ceases to exist. It's right there, on the shelf, no different than it used to be. I think some people have a very hard time separating a movie from its book source, but I find that people who really identify strongly with a book tend not to let a movie version change their "inner movie" that they've already established. I think they have a fair shot of pulling these films off, whether they become cheesy or overwraught is the question. Lewis didn't exactly write gobs in each of these books, so there's lots of "fill in the gaps" for the filmmakers to supply. From what I've heard and read, the director is definitely pushing hard to keep the focus on the Christian aspects, but that isn't a bulletproof shield either.