I just watched the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the other night. It was Easter so what better TV watching then a kiddie version of Christ’s crucifixion?
Yeah, everybody knows about the obvious parallel between Aslan and Jesus. Even as a kid I figured that out when I read the books for the first time. And they definitely play it in this movie. Not surprising considering a Christian zealot (and Denver billionaire) by the name of Phillip Anschutz was behind the production of the film.
But I must digress for a moment. I liked the movie. And when I heard it was coming out, I started re-reading my copies of the Chronicles of Narnia as a refresher. The books aren’t great. C S Lewis was a poor man’s Tolkien. Lewis is Skeet Ulrich to Tolkien’s Johnny Depp. You get the picture. Lewis’ books were made for kids and I understand that. Re-reading them it’s obvious. But the film translated well and they did a good job of moving the story along….except for the fact that they left in the part about Santa Claus showing up. My god, is that not the worst turd in the punchbowl plot stopper? I mean fucking Santa Claus shows up in Narnia! I always felt that was just utterly stupid in the book and to use it in the movie was laughable. I mean, you can’t really put the Christ back in Christmas when you’ve got Santa hanging around right? Geez.
Tilda Swinton as the white witch seemed to be one of the weaker parts. She’s a fine actress and looked great as the witch, but her role was reduced to one liners and making faces for the camera. But she got what was coming to her in the end from a vengeful god. Just what the slack jawed, Christian movie going public wants to see. The other part that bothered me was Mr. Tumnus the fawn. Tumnus befriends Lucy and helps her escape. Their relationship is touching but the whole time I kept thinking, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to have this guy’s nipples showing when he’s talking to this little girl.” Well, as long as Jesus is involved, the dummies watching it probably don’t mind a little man nip…but I did.
But do you think these dullards would have really understood this symbolism had it not been hammered into their heads? I remember when the film came out and there were big rallies for it at churches across the country. I was watching CNN and it showed a youth minister talking to a group of young kids, Hitler Youth style:
He was yelling, “AND WHO IS THE LION SUPPOSED TO BE???”
And the kids all screamed in unison, “JESUS!!!!”
I mean you can’t get force fed any more directly than that. It’s literally punched right down their throats.
For myself, I like it when something unfolds in front of me. I can remember realizing the parallel to Jesus and really thinking that was cool. I figured it out for myself and it made it all the more mysterious and sweet. I mean, it was the first time I actually gave the idea of Jesus any consideration because it was hidden (not very well) in a story about a magic lion. Don’t you think the kids who were being led by the hand to understand that Aslan is Jesus would like the same thing?
Naw, because if you didn’t explain it to them, they would never get it, just like they don’t really understand what the fuck they’re doing sitting listening to this guy in the first place.
Christ is a symbolic device used in tons of fiction. This one just happens to be a kid’s story and a pretty cool one. Anschutz and his cronies wanted to make sure no one missed this point in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so they hammered it home even before the movie was out. That’s cool, it’s their dime. I don’t think it affected the movie adversely but that guy’s nipples sure did.