reviews, thoughts

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

I just finished watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe on DVD which I got through my subscription to Blockbuster’s “online movie rental service”:http://www.blockbuster.com/. It’s a lot like Netflix, although I’ve tried both and actually like Blockbuster’s service a little better; but more on that later.

I liked the movie a lot, and would definitely recommend it. I thought the special effects were great; they did an especially good job with all the animated animals. If not for the fact that most of the animals talked there’s no way I would’ve been able to tell that they were animated. Also, contrary to some opinions I’ve seen online I thought the child actors actually did a really good job. One caveat, though: in my opinion LWW(The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) falls short in any (admittedly unfair) comparison to the _Lord of the Rings_ trilogy, both in terms of its scope and the scale of the action. Although the similarity of genre practically begs for the comparison any other adventure film I know of will inevitably come off the worse when compared with the epic LOTR. However, _The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe_ is a fine film in its own right, so enjoy it for what it is and you’ll be glad you did.

Below are some more thoughts regarding theological and thematic content, for those interested:

Inexplicably I’ve never actually read the books, although I was already somewhat familiar with the story. One thing I’ve heard from a number of sources is that C.S. Lewis, particularly in LWW, advocated/illustrated the unorthodox “‘Ransom Theory’ of the atonement”:http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5951/ths506a.html. However, the movie, at least, doesn’t seem to me to support that view for two reasons: 1) the story is clearly allegorical, but it’s not strictly an allegory; i.e. not every part of the story corresponds exactly to a portion of the redemptive plan. There are any number of elements to the plot (not just incidental details) that illustrate this, and any effort to reconcile the events of LWW with _anyone’s_ “eschatological”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschatology timeline is doomed from the start. 2) Although it _is_ the White Witch who demands that blood be shed in retribution for the transgression, even the witch herself stakes her claim on the fact that the _law_ demands it; i.e. it’s clear that the ransom Aslan pays is done to meet the requirements of the law, and only incidentally the demands of the Enemy. This is arguably compatible with historic christian theology regarding substitutionary atonement and Satan’s role as “The Accuser of the Brethren”:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Re%2012:10;&version=9. Granted, the story’s analogy is still far from complete, but as I noted previously LWW is not strict allegory.

The two questions I’m left with then are these: 1) Since I’ve not read the book itself I have no way of knowing for sure if the movie accurately reflects its content. I’d like to read the book sometime and judge for myself. Oh well, yet another thing to add to my reading list. 🙂 2) It’s still possible that Lewis believed and taught the Ransom Theory elsewhere. I’m not familiar enough with his works to know that for sure. If anyone reading this is knowledgeable enough to fill me in on that detail I would appreciate it.

Anyway, a fine movie complete with a great story and some food for thought. Enjoy!

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