The Corner

Derbs in Narnia

Took family to see “Chronicles of Narnia, LWW” yesterday. All enjoyed

it. The kids remembered the book, said it was just as they imagined.

Danny wants to see a match-up movie, “Aslan vs. King Kong.” (We had

some fun with that, spinning off similar titles: “Gandalf vs. Darth

Vader,” “Spiderman vs. White Witch,” etc.) Nellie rated it a couple

of ticks above the last Harry Potter movie, whichever that was, don’t

ask me.

I managed to enjoy the thing moderately after firmly pushing aside the

mental baggage I brought with me, viz.:

(a) All those dire memories of tweedy pipe-smoking Lewis clones trying

to pound Anglicanism into my infant head.

(b) My general & instinctual aversion to religious intellectualizing,

politicizing, apologetics & allegory of any sort (as opposed to “mere

religion,” of which I strongly approve).

(c) My ditto to English child actors. I found myself wishing they’d

Americanized the whole thing. The boys’ faces, for example, were what

in my own childhood we called “public school faces.” Boys who

attended public schools (which in England means tony private boarding

schools) had a certain kind of face. You could spot them at a hundred

yards. Peter and Edmund both have public school faces–the kind I

grew up wanting to smash a fist into. And then there are the

phonetics. Why can’t English kids pronounce simple vowels and

diphthongs any more? Why do they have to turn “No” into “Noueiuw”?

Aren’t there any good American kids’ fantasy stories that could be

movie-ized? Did “Wizard of Oz exhaust the genre? Come on, my fellow

Americans, rise to the challenge here.

The reaction I was really interested in was my wife’s. She wasn’t

present when I read the books to the kids, had never read them

herself, and does not know about the Christian angle, or indeed know

anything much about Christianity. (She’s Buddhist.) Well, she liked

the movie a lot, thought it “a great story,” and teared up when Aslan

was slain. I take that as definitive. It’s a good movie, and should

do well on worldwide distribution.

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