Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why Narnia Is Different

Having seen the new Prince Caspian movie just released as part of the Narnia series, we pondered just how clearly the Christian message was portrayed. Anybody "in the know" will realise that the movie remains faithful to C.S. Lewis' intention of illustrating the Christian message through stories. However, much of the general public will remain clueless to the real thread behind the Narnia series and its "rival", the Golden Compass, which was of course written by arch-athiest Phillip Pullman.

For a moment, I reluctantly admitted: without understanding, this movie could simply be regarded as another of those good versus evil stories, a vague grasp at this intangible current of good will that moves us all. Then the difference struck me...

At the moment of the movie's greatest crisis, a true-blue Hollywood blockbuster would have the heroes and heroins look inside themselves, discover their inner strength, decide to do what they owe to the world, and go and save it. In Prince Caspian, however, at the point of greatest crisis, the heroes realise that their own abilities and good intentions have failed. As the opposing troops march forward in ominous power, Aslan the lion comes to the rescue.

This is no coincidence. In fact, these two different resolutions present the fundamental difference between Christianity and humanism and between Christianity and most other religions. Christianity portrays man as fallen and in need of a saviour. Most other religions portray man as inherently good and capable of finding sufficient inner ability to resolve a problem. In fact, secular humanism, in its own way, holds man up as a god unto himself. The bill of human rights, drawn up by man himself, becomes the new commandment. Each to his own is the new absolute relative.

That Disney could have put their name behind such a courageous statement of support for Christianity is intriguing. And in retrospect, while Christians would have loved the two Narnia movies to be even more literal in their metaphors, I'll happily put my stamp of approval on Prince Caspian.

ps. For all the complaints of the movie being "dark" - I'm unconvinced. More violent and tense, yes, but in a "darkly sinister" way like the Harry Potter movies, no.

No comments:

DISCLAIMER: This blog serves as a commentary and the views presented are not necessary the official views of the ACDP. For official statements and contact details, visit: www.acdp.org.za