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?