Prince Caspian and the absence of God

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I watched Prince Caspian over the weekend - the latest installment in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia - and am a bit hard pressed as to why this would be considered a movie that has Christian themes. Yes there is the theme of theodicy expressed in everyone's (except Lucy of course) ability to see Aslan which seems like a pertinent one to cover in our time. But I must say I found it rather disturbing that in the absence of God's (Aslan's) presence the main activity of the film is all the children running of to kill the bad people shouting enthusiastically "for Aslan!". What kind of message is that? So I have to ask: How is Prince Caspian any more Christian than a movie about the Crusades? The film was allegedly adapted for the mores of today's audiences, but rather than possibly being a wee bit sensitive to the themes of glorifying killing in God's name, the only adaptation (other than increasing the amount of battle scenes) was to let the girls kill people now too along with the boys. Yippie!

What seems to be lacking here is the complexity and seduction of evil that was present in the first film in the betrayal of Edmond, or the counter cultural "deeper magic" of Aslan sacrificing his life in order to overcome evil (an element that was underplayed by the way in the film adaptation of LW&W to make room for more CG war scenes). What we have here is a Narnia without "deeper magic" without the struggles of character, without the complexity of evil as something that runs through all of us, without overcoming evil with grace and self-sacrificing love. What we are left with, as one reviewer puts it is "a movie about kids who go into another world and dimension and spend the whole time killing people."

I would have loved to see a film that dealt seriously with the consequences of a world where God is absent. There was real potential here to draw out some profound themes. But what we get instead is your typical shallow popcorn action film made just a little bit more crass by having children doing the killing and doing it "for Aslan!"



At 7:08 AM, Blogger Zack Allen said...

I completely agree with your critique of the film. It is difficult to call such a film "Christian" when we see such violence "in the name of the Lord" (although many Christians live with that view of God).

However, I think we might be trying to judge this film (or even the books) as something they are not nor ever claimed to be. There is a great deal of speculation that "The Chronicles of Narnia" is some sort of Christian allegory when in fact (from what I can tell) that was not the intent.


At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I left the cinema wondering why on earth any Christian leaders were encouraging their flocks to see this (for me at least) Christianity-light film. Is it just the C.S. Lewis name? Or are we still in an era of thinking where "Onward, Christian soldiers," and visions on the church triumphant led by an all-conquering Christ truly represent the Christian hope?


Post a Comment

<< Home

This website and its contents are copyright © 2000 Derek Flood, All Rights Reserved.
Permission to use and share its contents is granted for non-commercial purposes, provided that credit to the author and this url are clearly given.