“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is everything the critics are saying that it is—a first class work of cinematography. Even more, this film is a wonderfully presented fantasy adventure depicting the individual and world-changing truth of Christ and the Gospel. “Narnia” opens nationally today.
The film, produced by Walt Disney Company and Walden Media, brings to the big screen C. S. Lewis’ beloved “children’s” classic in all its beauty and complexity. Mixing live actors and computer-generated talking animals, dwarfs, witches, and other strange creatures, the film makes the story easy to understand, entertaining, and moving. It’s about children’s make-believe, and it’s about good triumphing over evil. In short, it’s “magical.”
My three grandchildren are under four years of age. If they were five years old and up, I’d take them to this film. I recommend this film to anyone, regardless of age or religious persuasion, and I suggest you see it more than once. You’ll grasp more of the nuances of the story the second time around.
Christians, conservatives, and conservative Christians have all verbally assaulted Hollywood for years, decrying gratuitous sex, language, and violence in films and lamenting movies and television that appeal to baser morality. Whether this “anti” strategy really accomplished much is subject to debate. How much better it would be to praise Hollywood for good productions, and how much better still it would be to place Christian professionals in the industry. Christians “separated” themselves from “Hollywood movies” as they used to be called, and we have paid too great a price.
This is one reason Cornerstone University initiated a new “Media Studies” program this year. This coursework will prepare students to work with emergent media in Hollywood, the theatre, video gaming, story-telling, radio and sound design, high definition video, and more. It’s a way of preparing students to pursue their interests and God’s calling so they can be “salt and light” influencers of the media productions of the future. Pollsters like George Barna say media are the predominant form of cultural influence, while the church is exercising virtually no influence at all. If Barna is even half right, the way to the hearts and minds of Twenty-First Century citizens is clearly through media—consequently, that’s exactly where Christians need to be.
If “Narnia” is successful, and by all accounts it appears it will be, plans are in the works for a sequel each year. C.S. Lewis wrote seven “Narnia” tales. Let’s hope that if the others make it to the big screen they will be as compelling as the first one.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2005
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