One mean review!

I don’t think Polly liked Aslan.

But what’s this? After a long, dark night of the soul and women’s weeping, the lion is suddenly alive again. Why? How?, my children used to ask. Well, it is hard to say why. It does not make any more sense in CS Lewis’s tale than in the gospels. Ah, Aslan explains, it is the “deep magic”, where pure sacrifice alone vanquishes death.

Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to? Poor child Edmund, to blame for everything, must bear the full weight of a guilt only Christians know how to inflict, with a twisted knife to the heart. Every one of those thorns, the nuns used to tell my mother, is hammered into Jesus’s holy head every day that you don’t eat your greens or say your prayers when you are told. So the resurrected Aslan gives Edmund a long, life-changing talking-to high up on the rocks out of our earshot. When the poor boy comes back down with the sacred lion’s breath upon him he is transformed unrecognisably into a Stepford brother, well and truly purged.

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  • Drew

    calvin college is a rare Christian college which is very intentional about not promoting the false dichotomy of the “sacred” and the “secular” within the arts, especially the popular arts.
    Not to brag about my alma mater, but this past school year also featured sufjan stevens, victor wooten, dennison witmer, Jeff Tweedy, over the rhine, and we still have Jenny Lewis, Low and Nickle Creek coming. Ken Hefner-director of the student activities office, is a huge reason Calvin gets these shows, he and the school take culture and the arts seriously.

  • jasdye

    Quoting Mr. Newman:

    “Themes of racial reconciliation can make for great film. Glory Road was a good example of a movie of this type.”

    Huh? did he even see Glory Road? does he know how preachy and second-hand and cliche and NOT true-to-life that movie is?

    and we’re NOT supposed to air our dirty laundry in public? really? if we can’t be honest about a real problem (which, by the way, this film addresses very well, if not a bit preachy) that we really aren’t addressing in the church, then why should the world hear us when we come to them talking about forgiveness and grace and truth?


  • Gene Branaman

    I don’t follow this stuff all that closely but I’ve had it in the back of my mind that Pixar would break out into hand-drawn animation within 3 or so years. Now, with the Pixar/Disney merger, the don’t have to!

  • Nate

    Calvin College just stepped up a few notches in “colleges that rock”. Good for them.

  • The Scrivener

    Yes, I was just stunned by Toynbee’s article, too. I actually found her email address at the Guardian and tried to write her a letter, a nice one – really! I doubt she’ll ever write back, though. Oh well.

  • Neil E. Das

    Pullman Discussion Part II.

    It is wondrously sad how Ms. Toynbee both gets and does not get Lewis and Narnia.

    Her objections to the Gospel are based on a clear understanding and rejection of it. “Without an Aslan, there is no one here but ourselves to suffer for our sins, no one to redeem us but ourselves: we are obliged to settle our own disputes and do what we can. We need no holy guide books, only a very human moral compass. Everyone needs ghosts, spirits, marvels and poetic imaginings, but we can do well without an Aslan.”

    She also gets it that, “
    Holiness drenches the Chronicles.”

    She is very ignorant of Lewis, though, as she says, “Because here in Narnia is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America – that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right.” I think Lewis would vomit. I cannot think of an orthodox religious teacher who is more keen that religious coercion be detested and people mind their own business. Aslan repeatedly discusses no one’s story with a character but their own.

    Finally, this is not surprising commentary, but sad nonetheless, “Ask art galleries: they now have to write the story of every religious painting on the label as people no longer know what “agony in the garden”, “deposition”, “transfiguration” or “ascension” mean. This may be regrettable cultural ignorance, but it means Aslan will stay just a lion to most movie-goers.”

  • Foolish Knight

    Oh my. This is the kind of thing that I would expect from a review of The Passion of the Christ; I really thought there wouldn’t be any of this kind of discussion surrounding The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

    Could Lion be a more a more effective display of the Gospel?