Clive Staples Lewis was a celebrated Anglo-Irish novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian and Christian apologist whose impact and influence lives on.

Site maintained by: Dr. Bruce L. Edwards

Subscribe to the site via RSS

Follow @cslewisnews on Twitter!

Find the C.S. Lewis Review on Facebook!

Narnia’s Wild Ride Needs Deeper Magic

December 13th, 2005 | Skip to comments

I just finished taping yesterday an appearance on Frank Beckmann’s morning drive show on WJR Detroit, asking me about the movie and its reception, and suggesting I react to the local newspaper’s demurring review of the movie as “predictable” and “bloodless.” Frank is a Lewis fan, who loved the movie, and found the 67m take for the first weekend a remarkable story that Variety, among others, pooh-poohed in favor of the $500K that Brokeback Mountain took in in LA, NY, and San Francisco.

So we that’s what we’re left with presently, having moved from stories about the allegory, Lewis’s alleged racism and misogyny, and the “scandal with Mrs. Moore” to “My Movie is Bigger than Your Movie” taunts. Stories about Narnia will linger on no doubt, but the wild ride that was pre-promotional and focused on “the controversy” will diminish, and we will return to more thoughtful consideration of Lewis’s continuing legacy and the role he may play in reinvigorating conversation about the reality of Heaven and the necessity of resisting Screwtape and his kin.

I have been struck by the early and consistent reactions of Christian bloggers and reviewers both at how respectful they have been, yet how measured and profound is their disappointment in how the three key issues I identified in my review on December 8th were handled–basically, the portrayal of Aslan, before, during, and after his first appearance in the last 3rd of the movie. Preparation is everything. This is the muted criticism resonating with sympathetic viewers everywhere, namely, how the filmmakers failed to trust Lewis’s narrative at a crucial point, and embrace a theme I belabored in both of my Narnia books: The centrality of Aslan, his majesty and transcendence, and the essentiality of the Deeper Magic.

Magic, ah yes, that’s what this world “knows” well; it’s the deeper magic the movie needed to, well, “deepen.” If only Aslan had been allowed to explain the difference. Now that can happen in the conversations that follow, of course, and maybe that is the hidden blessing. But it did not occur in the movie.

Our attention now can turn speculatively to Prince Caspian, and what will be done with its script, which is certainly unlikely to spin the same kinds of debates, since it lacks even the hint of allegory that LWW evokes, except from the residue of Aslan and Lucy’s relationship. Caspian is very episodic–so maybe it plays well into Adamson’s enigmatic cinematic canvas better than LWW. The cards have been played and we now know the dealers, the movers, and the shakers.


As I reflect on the past three months, I am astonished at how many reporters and newscasters made contact and included me in their canvassing of opinion, fact-seeking, and fact-checking. Here is a partial list:

Omaha World-Herald; Akron Beacon-Journal; LA Daily New; Sarasota Sun; Evansville Courier-Journal; Cleveland Plain Dealer; Tampa Tribune; Lakeland Ledger; Cincinnati Enquirer; Columbus Dispatch; Religon News Service; National Geographic; Christianity Today; Colorado Gazette; Findlay Courier; Toledo City Paper; Denver Post; Washington Post; Toledo Blade; Channels 11 and 13, Toledo; Channels 8 and 44, Tampa; Channels 3 and 5, Cleveland; as well as earlier TV reports in Fresno; radio in Cleveland, Fresno, Norfolk, and Tampa.

This coming week’s radio interviews with me include:

Here were some more over the weekend mentions:


No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Back to top