It was magnificent. From a fan’s perspective, it was as faithful to the book as you can expect a movie to be. From a technical perspective, it should say something that I found a beaver in chain mail utterly convincing.
They even made Turkish Delight look appealing, which is truly nasty candy. If that was the most tempting snack available to Brits during the war I’m amazed they were able to hold out against the Luftwaffe. I mean, really. Turkish Delight? The stuff tastes like congealed fat.
I was destined to love the movie as long as it was even close to the book. I was more interested in the reactions of my neighbors: he an atheistic Jewish postdoctoral biology researcher at Stanford and she a not-really-practicing Hindu who works as a business consultant.
They loved it, too.
As we were talking about it afterwards, he commented “The reviews I’ve read are right–it’s definitely got Christian imagery but you have to look for it.”
While I think he downplayed the obviousness of the Christian message (it’s always winter without CHRISTmas–hello?), I think he was on to something.
The movie did dilute some key dialog, but even if the dialog had been unaltered his point would still have merit. The story doesn’t so much tell the Christian message as it prepares one for it. It creates categories and understandings in your mind which serve as placeholders for the gospel. It’s like an extended parable that highlights a few truths:
- This world is more fantastic than we dare believe.
- Evil is seductive.
- Evil need not prevail, either in our lives or in our world.
- Evil must be fought.
- We can’t win the fight against evil alone.
- The one we need help from is our rightful King.
- Our rightful King is not tame but he is good.
And given Phillp Pullman’s claim that the story was loveless I couldn’t help but marvel as the formerly fear-stricken Edmund—Edmund, who knew well the horrible extent of the Witch’s power—hurled himself at her to prevent the slaughter of Peter and incurred a life-threatening wound as a result. And I could talk of the love of the mother for her children, of the children for their father, of the children for each other, of the children for Aslan, of Aslan for his people, of the professor for his haplessly unloveable housekeeper, and of the children (especially Lucy) for Mr. Tumnus.
No love indeed. Pullman just has it in for Lewis.
Anyway, it’s an outstanding movie. I’ve been to precious few movies which caused the audience to burst into applause at the end. This was one.