Is Narnia Drifting From its Vision? -WashingtonTimes

Posted January 4, 2010 12:26 pm by Glumpuddle

The Washington Times has posted an interesting article primarily concerned with the filmmakers not having a clear vision for the rest of the series: “Considering some of the weird remarks uttered by directors and producers of the first two films: [LWW] in 2005 and [PC] in 2008, one wonders whether the will and determination exist to finish the seven-part Narnia series. … And ‘Voyage’ director Michael Apted, who has admitted to excising a lot of the religious connotations out of his 2007 film ‘Amazing Grace,’ sounds double-minded. “ Read it here and then post your thoughts. Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

37 Comments For This Story

  • glumPuddle says:

    There are some valid concerns raised in this article. But I totally disagree that the Christian themes were downplayed in PC. In fact, in some ways, I think they were emphasized.

    • wolfloversk says:

      I agree with you glumPuddle one of the points in the book was that the narnians didn’t believe in Aslan, but they couldn’t defeat Miraz until they looked toward him, which is exactly what happened in the movie.

    • Gymfan15 says:

      Well, I would say the themes were emphasized because they were crucial Narnian themes, not because they were Christian themes. I think the apathy or non-concern towards preserving certain themes because of their inspiration and origin was quite evident.

      That being said, as long as filmmakers keep themes in the movies because they are Narnian, and not because they are Christian, that is fine with me. I realize and understand that the people who are making these movies aren’t Christians, and can’t be expected to value everything the same way we do. As long as the NARNIAN themes are kept intact, that is okay. I think the Christian themes and similarities will show themselves without any help or interference from anyone, if the original Narnian stories and themes are kept intact.

      • glumPuddle says:

        I agree with the essence of what you’re saying. They shouldn’t be asking "how does our script line up with the Bible?" They should be asking "how does our script line up with the Narnia books?"

      • RoseRed says:

        woohoo! awesomely said gymfan! Reading that article annoyed me, it basically said to hire christians+make it a chistian movie or fail. :l not a great message, I guess we’ve gotta just keen on trusting and supporting the current filmmakers, and not think about who we’d prefer to take the reins. we have no control anyway, so let’s just hope for the best for VotDt,and for the rest of the series!

      • Rilian says:

        As long as someone really gets the themes of the book, that’s all I ask. Peter Jackson really got The Lord of the Rings for the most part. I really think he understood what the books were about. Do they have themes that correspond with the Bible? Sure! But he was going after the book, not things that corresponded with it.

      • farsight1 says:

        Agreed. Follow the book and all the rest will come with it. Regarding Baehr’s comment and some other points, I’d take everything with a ton of salt for now. I still trust Douglas Gresham.

      • Aravis and Hwin says:

        I agree with you Gymfan15!

      • NarniaFreak :) says:

        If the producers follow the Narnia books, they will follow the Bible. The books are written to follow biblical events. Let’s hope the producers stick to the books.
        For Narnia, and for Aslan! 😀

    • Hermitess of Narnia says:

      I would definitely not say PC the movie had as many Christian themes as the book. It’s just that every emotion was felt more keenly in the books because they made everything so dramatic and intense.
      Most of the meanings of Aslan’s lines were slightly changed so it would indicate more of a non omnipotent Aslan.
      Many things Aslan did were not in the movie: actually leading the children and making them see him, rescuing and healing Telmarines in Beruna, winning the battle and the door in the air were more attributed to the magic of dryads than Aslan.
      Peter says he wished Aslan had given them some sort of proof. And Lucy says they need to prove themselves to him. But that already failed with the nightraid! Peter needed to acknowledge that he COULDN’T do it alone, he needed Aslan.
      Caspian defends Aslan in the book, "Back there among the humans, people who laughed at Aslan would have laughed at talking beasts and dwarfs, yet here you are." Trufflehunter agreed with him, but in the movie the Narnians refuse to say anything about him when Caspian asks.

      A discussion about changed lines:
      http://www.thelionscall.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=1244

    • narnian1 says:

      The article I didn’t like as a whole, too much negativity in it.
      Like glumPuddle said, there are some valid points.
      But I too think Prince Caspian emphasized the Christian points thoroughly, and IMO more so than in the book.

  • Adeona says:

    I agree with the author of the article. I’m worried about the fate of those important scenes at the end of VDT, when Aslan appears first as a lamb. If it is true that for the previous films the producers only kept the Christian scenes because they were also Narnian themes, then I don’t see why they would keep that scene.

    • narnianprofessor says:

      The Aslan as a lamb scene is crucial in explaining why the Pevensies came and why they can’t stay, so they can’t take it out completely. Even though it is an explicit Christian allegory, no one watching or reading it is obligated to take it as a Christian allegory. They could just take as Narnian.
      I’m wondering: Exactly what are the "weird statements" they are referring to?

    • Lutra's Pearl says:

      That is my favorite scene and I really hope that they keep it in the movie. It explains that the only reason there is Narnia is to teach them of God in a way that they could understand and then have them go to their own world and find him there. In PC they made it sound like the only reason why Peter and Susan left was because they were to old but it was because they had learned everything that they could from Narnia. I was disappointed with that whole part. If they do keep that scene in the Dawn Treader they will probably leave out most of the things that were in the book. Keep the story of Aslan alive!!!

  • AndreyaofNarnia says:

    All we can do is pray that it’ll be true to the books, I guess. But I’m willing to wait until I see VDT before I form an opinion. 😉
    I agree GlumPuddle, to both of your comments!

    • wolfloversk says:

      I agree we should make any opinions about the movie until AFTER we see it. I think this is one of the reasons PC didn’t do as well as first expected, because people started making uneducated assuptions about the movie, and decided that they wouldn’t like it without watching it to find out. Lots of times I’ll read a book or watch a movie, that I think I wouldn’t like, but I’ll end up absolutly loving it.

  • Boke_Wyrm says:

    It sounds like they have some outreach to do with the various Christian denominations, like they did with the first film.

  • 220chrisTian says:

    Mark Sommer at Examiner.com [he also has a "Narnia Nostalgia" series at HJ Live!], commented on Duin’s article, saying it’s "rather confusing on several points" and "mak[es] certain unsubstantiated speculations." http://www.examiner.com/x-17507-Hobbits-Narnia–Spirituality-Examiner~y2010m1d1-Is-Narnia-drifting-from-its-Christian-message

  • coracle says:

    The writer has used several sources for the comments (good for him), but he has then drawn his own conclusions and evidently has leaped precipitously to some of them.
    Mr Gresham’s comment that it was ‘either accept it or not make a film’ has been quoted out of context ever since he said the words – he stood firm against a number of other script proposals in the past. It is unfair to represent him as someone who has compromised wholesale, without giving the wider picture.
    Furthermore it is dishonest journalism to get alarmist because Christian themes are not given strong emphasis in these films – it would have helped the journalist to have also read Lewis on the matter. Lewis frequently reminded people that the books were not meant to be "Christian stories" – they were not the gospel with animal characters, but good stories on their own in which the reader may be drawn to see truth – and to find it in knowing Jesus Christ.
    [As for Mr Perry, revelations on his personal life are not helpful here; when a writer gets to personal attack it usually indicates he has run out of rational argument.]
    Finally, let us remember that THIS IS NOT A NEWS STORY; it is a writer’s opinion.

    • Narniangirl says:

      Lol I’m writing coursework about where or not Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a Christian allegory, my conclusion is no it’s a story with christian allegorical traits (such as the lamb scene) but it makes for *shock* fun schoolwork, being a fan, and Lewis’s comments are purely awesome quotes to support my arguements! xD

      • Silver the Wanderer says:

        I remember doing that in school around the time when LWW came out – we did this huge thing where we read the book and did several projects, including a list all the characters and who/what they stood for…great fun 😛

        But coracle brings up some really good points, especially regarding Lewis’s intentions while writing the Chronicles. He wanted them to be children’s stories that "draw the reader to truth". As someone who does a lot of writing/reading, the author’s intentions are very important to me. It’s not fair to Lewis to try and turn his stories into something they’re not.

  • coraggio93 says:

    – Firstly, I have to kvetch about the Washington Times. That paper is owned by Sun Myung Moon, who says that when Jesus died, He failed in His mission. Moon considers himself the Messiah. Not happy about that.
    – I have heard Ms. Duin in a couple of speaking engagements she had in town, and appreciate the fact that she can be a religion writer in a paper.
    – About the concerns, I do worry that the film VDT might tweak book VDT things (like the PC Susan-Caspian relationship). But, as someone said back before LWW was released: "We have all heard Aslan roar…" If Douglass Gresham keeps a firm hand in things, and fans of the book make their feelings known,I feel assured that the remaning films will not go too far off the track.

  • Narniadude says:

    Even though a lot of positive comments are made here, there is one quote from the article that really, really concerns me:

    –Ted Baehr, publisher of Movie Guide and president of the Christian Film and TV Commission, read one of the earlier scripts for "The Lion, the Witch" and told me the movie would have veered in a bizarre direction had then-Disney President Dick Cook not "held the line."

    As for "Voyage," Mr. Baehr is in touch with a script adviser who left the project a year ago.

    "He said it was drifting from its Christian vision," Mr. Baehr said. "It was not expressing the intent of C.S. Lewis nor the true story of the Dawn Treader." —

    Not expressing the intent… Nor the true story….

    Now that’s enough to make me uneasy for a very long time.

    Perhaps he could have been reading the so-called "leaked" script, but still, just that comment alone makes me extremely nervous about it.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, one thing that I don’t think they should do is try to make the series like a kid-friendly Pirates of the Carribean-esque film. They (filmmakers) should really try to make it as unique and adventurous as they can. PC, in my opinion, seemed like it was trying to hard to be something of a kid-friendly war movie, which the book was not.

    Crossing my fingers for December 10th,
    Narniadude

  • Narniadude says:

    Even if the article really is just a writer’s opinion, that quote, (saying the script wasn’t reflecting Lewis’ vision), along with some things that Doug Gresham said, makes me wonder if I should be optimistic about the film. Of course I’m going to watch it, and of course we still know almost next to nothing about the story of the film besides the fact that it will "include elements from the other books", but I’m starting to get a little jaded about the direction the Narnia series is taking.

  • Narniadude says:

    Oops! My bad! 🙁 I actually just checked the site 10 seconds ago!

    Thanks anyway. (and btw, Paul’s article was very enlightening to someone like myself)

  • rilian4evr says:

    Didn’t know Perry Moore was a gay activist???

    • ChristProclamer says:

      Didn’t know! Though an attack on Perry Moore like that seems rather cheap and backhanded, it is rather concerning to discover. (Though I am confident that this won’t affect the films!)

  • adamie says:

    They keep talking about a narrow minded christian faith way or agnostic way, but that does not really matter to me. They should stick to the book, and if they do well, people who are religious will be able to see what they want, they will interpret things the way they want, and so will the non-religious or non-christian folk. That way everybody is happy.

    If you don’t know what to do, just keep true to the book, that’s all I’ saying.

  • Narnia_lover says:

    Great link. The article perfectly expresses my views and concerns.

    PC was a debacle. HATED it. HOPING that DT resurrects true Narnia. If not, I’ll not watch another unless there is a serious NARNIA fan at the helm.

    • Jewel says:

      My sentiments exactly. I want to see Lewis’ work brought to life, period. It’s a shame that Mr. Gresham’s involvement hasn’t guaranteed that. I think Lewis would be devastated at the turn PC took. I certainly was. I agree, if VDT sails too far off course, that’s it for me too until they hire a dedicated bookworm to take over.