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"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I'm frustrated with Hollywood. Yeah, nothing new here... And I'm tempted to give the third and latest adaptation of CS Lewis' Narnia tale a thumbs down. Well, almost.

Not because of Liam Neeson's comments, mind you. Call it bad timing, call it weasley diplomacy or mere unadulterated ignorance. I grant that the man's no theologian nor Christian apologist and he's one of the more likeable actors coming out of Tinseltown. Like most well-meaning public figures, he has bought into the postmodern relativist nonsense that Jesus Christ and Mohammed can be talked of in the same vein. It's becoming patently obvious why there's a growing number of commentators who are calling for actors to stick to their craft and refrain from offering opinions outside their limited area of expertise.

No it isn't about Neeson but I think his comments do reflect a certain attitude that Hollywood has about faith-based films.
It used to be that Hollywood was keen to make films that made money but I don't think that adage applies any longer. I lament the passing of an era of biblical epics such as Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments and The Robe. Still, the success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, or The Blind Side or even minor successes like Fireproof  should have penetrated the psyche of those who run the film making enterprises that there is a market for inspiring, Christian themed films.

It begs the question (at least for me) as to why Hollywood even bothered with the Narnia stories in the first place. Sure, they're great stories with fantastical elements... about age old themes of good vs evil... but I submit that these stories are good because they are driven by a strong Christian narrative. If the Christian bits, which is pretty much almost all of it, give the secular types in Hollywood the queasies, they should leave well alone.

I did say I was tempted to pan the film soundly but I won't because despite my misgivings about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it has one important redeeming quality. It doesn't skirt the issue of evil and sin... although it uses other words like "darkness", "temptation" and has to invent some ridiculous Doctor Who-like gassy villain to symbolize evil all throughout the film.

I came to this conclusion while I was listening to Christian apologist Os Guinness talk about evil on a podcast and it occurred to me that somebody making the film at least understands that much about the Christian view of evil. That evil is borne inside of us and it is something we have to do battle with and we can't overcome it without the help of our Saviour.

On the bright side, the film can be used as a resource to talk to our children about evil. Not the very young children obviously. Some parts of the film are meant to terrify, according to the adult lady friends that I was with. I, on the other hand, am probably not a great person to judge how scary a film is on the Scare-O-Meter considering that I thought that the monsters were the best thing on Clash of the Titans.

But whatever the film lacks in dialogue, cohesion and acting, it makes up for it in computer wizardry and action sequences. For those who know the book well, that will probably not be enough but considering that it's a film made within the secular auspices of Hollywood, it could have been a lot worse.

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