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Idol Chatter

After waiting for months to see “The Chronicles of Narnia” (and feeling tortured by the fact that some of my fellow Idol Chatterers have already seen it), I finally had my chance last night to walk through the wardrobe for myself. I was surprised by my journey, but certainly not disappointed. (Note to those who haven’t seen the movie yet: There are spoilers ahead).

While I agree that the special effects were impressive, and the performances were amazing (Georgie Henley as Lucy needs to be nominated for an Oscar), I was surprised by the amount of humor director Andrew Adamson brought to the film to balance the scarier elements of the story (which I think are not as violent as some may expect), particularlarly for younger viewers whom he knew would see this movie. The families sitting around me with children of all ages burst out laughing over and over again at the many great one-liners. Particularly funny were the beaver family’s squabbles and the scene where Edmund commands a horse to gallop–and the horse shocks him by replying, “My name is Philip.”

More surprisingly, the children in the audience–some as young as four or five–did not seem to be bothered by the more intense moments of the film, but seemed to have been prepared in advance by their parents for what was coming.

Adamson made another smart production choice by taking considerable time exploring the strong sibling relationship between the four children and establishing the mystery and beauty of the magical wardrobe (though I heard some around me complain that the beginning of the movie was too slow). If he hadn’t done that, newcomers to Narnia might have found it difficult to make the leap of faith into those snowy woods with talking animals.

I also believe the test of any great movie is whether there are haunting moments in the story, moments that will be remembered for years to come. There are several of those moments in this movie. Personally, I was moved by three specific scenes in particular. I found the conversations between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus–when he tells her he is kidnapping her–deeply affecting. These scenes mirrored my own spiritual life, in which I try to do the right thing but so often feel crippled by the shadow of evil that lurks nearby.

Next, I savored the scene with the most explicit Christian allegory, in which Lucy and Susan walk in the woods with Aslan before he dies. It clearly mirrors Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsmane before going to the cross.

And the final heart-rending moment for me is the lingering image of Aslan striding down the beach at the end of the movie. The brave, powerful, yet still loving Aslan is once again on the move, but we will see him again. It is a comforting image for those of us who do see and welcome the Christian symbols in this story.

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