Friday, December 10, 2010

Lost in Narnia?

As Voyage of the Dawn Treader opens at your local multiplex, SWNID expects to learn that yet again, Hollywood has forced a Christian narrative onto the Procrustean bed of broad cinematic appeal.

Peripatetic commentator on religion Terry Mattingly anticipates as much noting that the movie looks set to disappoint the Lewis faithful in ways that Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy deliberately did not. Meanwhile, the Christian-right World magazine's reviewer, who has actually screened the film lauds the first third and notes that latter portions are bruised but not broken by filmmakers' accretions. At least we can be comforted that the books most lapidary episode, Eustace's redemption from dragon to boy, has made it through mostly unscathed, though one wonders what use there is in a climactic struggle with an non-Lewisian sea dragon.

Elsewhere, The Stone Water Jar argues that Lewis can never be successfully rendered cinematically. Perhaps so. For us, any film adaptations of Narnia are successful because they warmly remind us of reading the books, not because they add anything to the experience of reading.

So if Dawn Treader finally kills the enterprise, we will be satisfied to know that the books will live on, as will Tom Baker's masterfully understated rendering of Puddleglum.

No comments: