It’s taken me a while to put my finger on what it was that I felt after seeing the LWW movie—it was a very odd feeling. When I left the theater, I had a smirk on my face and a sated sense of self-satisfaction. I felt as if I had just insulted an asshole to his face without him realizing it or had just been let in on a private joke.
I went to see Narnia with some friends this past Sunday. As a child, I read the entire series over and over and loved every page (Voyage of the Dawn Treader was always my favorite, The Magician’s Nephew was a close second). When I heard a movie was in the works, I bought the books again and read them all in less than a month. Even as a child, I recognized the religious undertones but interpreted them in my own agnostic way. I was far more intrigued by the diverse, untainted natural otherworlds and the themes of escapism that pervaded these books. (Okay, I also used to spin around in front of my mirror hoping, like Wonder Woman did, to turn into someone else—but that’s a separate therapy session. Keep your snide comments to yourself; it’s just too easy…)
I’ve read some journals on here that bemoan the religious tone of the film as a not-so-subtle attempt by the intrusive religious right to use the media as a tool to indoctrinate and recruit. Oddly enough, some of these same people are arguing from the other side when it comes to Brokeback Mountain without realizing their own hypocrisy. According to the Department of the Obvious, pots and kettles are both black.
I didn’t see this film as an evangelical tool AT ALL (nor do I expect Brokeback Mountain to be an endorsement of anal sex for the masses). In fact, I see the exact opposite of a religious diatribe in this movie. On the surface, the obvious religious iconology was unmistakable, but there are deeper layers to this movie that the average viewer wouldn’t notice. This, I believe, shows the genius of Disney. Others might have noticed this on a subliminal level, or maybe not at all. Maybe I’m just hallucinating, but here goes…
The movie was not an endorsement of religion; it was a complex and subtle illustration of the ridiculous cultural/religious memes and norms of western civilization. Looking through the lenses of Ishmael, readers of Daniel Quinn will likely understand what I mean here. What I saw splayed across the movie screen was a much deeper elaboration of the cultural story that we tell ourselves. Narnia shows us just how dysfunctional our ingrained attitudes actually are by putting them on the big screen for us to ponder for two hours.
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