My take on ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’

The Chronicles of Narnia The first time I heard about Narnia was during the first days of my arrival in the US, almost six months ago. I vividly remember the day the husband and I were talking a walk through the quaint streets of Harrisonburg, VA when we came across what looked like a college student house with a sign on its entrance that had but a single word upon it: Narnia.

Being the curious "immigrant" then, I asked the husband about the significance of this word. He was more than happy to answer my query, as, to my utter surprise, he turned out to be an ardent Narnia fan. A few months later, the movie Narnia made it to the big screen. So this weekend we had to watch the film, primarily for me to fulfill my curiosity about Narnia and for Jeff to re-live his childhood reading memories.

I loved it. I enjoyed the plot, the scenery, the storyline, and the acting. I regard the film as a mesh between The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, combining the elements of children’s escapades similar to those in the Harry Potter series with the scenes of war found in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Watching the movie, which I understand is the first of many more Narnia movies to come, made me very interested in reading the whole series of books. And speaking of books, it’s worth noting that a Jordanian publisher has already translated the Chronicles into Arabic. Here is an excerpt from an AP article published in The Jordan Times last week:

A Jordanian publishing house on Wednesday introduced Arabic translations of the first three books in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, timed to coincide with the release of the film version of one of the books in US and European cinemas.

"I thought, if the American and European children enjoy such fairy tales, why not our Arab children," Sinan Sweis, director of Ophir Publishing, said after a launch ceremony attended by the publishers, British embassy officials and about 70 students.

I’m also wondering if anyone besides me has noticed the insertion of Turkish elements in the movie. The lion in the film is referred to as "Aslan," which, as I understand it, is Turkish for "lion." Also, the younger brother in the movie, Ed, is so enamored with Turkish delights that he asks the white witch to give him some and it becomes a bit of the reason for his treachery.

All in all, I would say the movie is worth your time and money whether you’re a fantasy fan or not. Score: 4/5.

21 thoughts on “My take on ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’”

  1. I thought you would notice the christianity allusions in the story, the sacrafice of aslan, the resurrection, the good vs evil, the betrayal of a brother et cetera.
    Anyways, it’s a series of books I havn’t read since I was a kid and hopefully they’ll make the rest of them.
    It was filmed in New Zeland which is becoming now the fantasy movie hub of the world after Lord of the Rings and Narnia. But I dont blame them. They have beautiful landscape.

  2. Dear Nas,
    Frankly, I think the existence of the Christian elements in the movie was over-exaggerated by the media. I did not think they were that visible. Maybe the only obvious element was the resurrection, but issues like sacrifice, good VS evil are not restricted to Christianity.

  3. I’m glad you are a new fan!I hope you’ll read the books in English and in Arabic, and I’m sure Jeff will tell you all about Lewis and Tolkien’s relationship and the correlations between LotR and Narnia. And how Tolkien led Lewis to become a Christian.
    THEN, you’ll get to read all of Lewis’ other great works! And, no dark stretches like LotR.
    I’m so excited these books will be available in Arabic – it will be interesting to see how it turns out, as the translators were careful to translate idiomatically and not necessarily word for word.. Most of the private schools have the books as reading in their English programs for some time.

  4. actually natasha, it has nothing to do with the media. C.S. Lewis didnt intend on writing something alegorical but he said that Christian elements found themselves into the story unexpectedly. this was back in the 50’s or 60’s i think.
    anyways, still 6 more movies to go

  5. Dear Nas,
    Thanks for the info. I have not read the books so I can’t really comment on that. I just thought the film itself was not that laden with Christian elements as the reviews said. I guess I was expecting more visible Christian-centric elements. If I have not read the reviews, I would not have even noticed the resurrection bit;) I guess I need to dig deeper;-)

  6. natasha, i think the media was focusing a lot on the ‘cashing in’ of narnia by the christian communities in north american mostly. it’s been labeled out to be the thing since the passion of the christ. technically it is but their of course galaxies apart.

  7. hey all,
    just to add some more,
    there is also a connection between Tolkein and Led Zepplin, if you listen well to some songs you hear the connections, the songs with the greatest connection is ‘ramble on’ and there is also ‘battle of evermore’ its pretty cool,
    Kinzi: is there a website or somerthing i can read about CS Lewis and Tolkein , thanks
    cheers
    faris

  8. I really couldn’t care less about any metaphysical allegories from the scriptures or otherwise. A very enjoyable movie. I remember the books vaguely, I don’t remember reading them per se but I remember the storyline for some reason, I’ll have to ask the ‘3eileh’ if I was ever privy to the series as a youngster.
    I def enjoyed your review Natasha, as I do all your other writings. 🙂
    Malhas

  9. Faris, I am a total technosaur, don’t even know how to google properly, but I’m sure if you do you will find hundreds of websites. I’m not surprised about Led Zep!
    Nas, I wonder if we read the same media!Much of what I read was scare-mongering/contempt of the media against the Christian imagery, much like your recent post about Christmas. I’m sure they are targeting the N. American Christian audience, but any religious allegory seems to make American media very nervous no matter how much they want to cash in on it.

  10. I’m a fan of Lewis but have not seen the movie yet.Just waiting for the crowds to die down a bit.I wonder if it will be shown in Jordan or other countries around the world? I heard “The Passion” was seen in some Arab nations,but can’t remember which ones.
    Lewis was a student of language and mythology,and didn’t want to be known as a “Christian writer,”but as a writer who happened to be a Christian.Hence his penchant for telling a great story that subtely explained the need for redemption,and revealed the One who provided it.
    My favorite is “Perelandra,” from the Space Trilogy…three books that highlight the struggle between good and evil in an imaginative way.

  11. Dan,
    I saw the passion in Doha, Qatar. The movie theatre was packed! As for Narnia, I read somewhere that it will open in Jordan next month.

  12. Kinzi, quite the opposite about the media, the movie promoters had screenings of the movie in churches before it opened, and reports on cable news channels showed church leaders encouraging people to see the film. All part of what Nas mentioned, cashing in on Passion $$’s 🙂
    I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, from the trailers it looks to be very well made and the imagery amazing.

  13. Natasha, try and read the books. If you loved the movie, you’ll love this series. I remember reading them as a kid but found the last book very sad 🙂

  14. I was the one i posted not amal… why it appears amal , maybe its my mistake but iam sure i know my name !!!
    angel = amal

  15. Natasha,
    What did you think of the Passion?Did you cry?Did it change your life? I’m one of the few people who has not seen it yet (just some short clips),and probably never will.I know it’s a true story but prefer not to see the gory details.
    When you saw it in Doha,was it dubbed in Arabic or was it in English? I understand some muslims wanted to see it because they heard it was anti-semitic,and I wonder if it made a spiritual impact on them?

  16. I have just finished watching the movie; it is full of symbols and meanings that you would absolutely agree that those are pure biblical symbols. The sword, the shield, the arrows, lion, the return of Aslan, redemption …etc.

  17. I have seen the movie and Loved it. The pictures of Christ sin redemption satan appearing as an angel of light (white which)The stone broken is the open tomb. It is remarkable. For some one who is familier with Scripture the medifores just stand out.

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