It appears that the long-delayed movie version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series, has finally wrapped in Australia. And the word is that Michael Apted, who some had feared as a poor choice to direct the feature, has done nothing to prove his critics wrong. Julia Duin, writing recently in the Washington Times, says Apted seems intent on backing off the Christian theme in the book:
“Voyage” director Michael Apted, who has admitted to excising a lot of the religious connotations out of his 2007 film “Amazing Grace,” sounds double-minded.
The Narnia films, he told Rhema FM, a New Zealand Christian radio station, “present a challenge, for me to put the material out there in an evenhanded and interesting way; and not to be, in a sense, narrow-minded about it, either narrow-minded in a faith way or narrow-minded in an agnostic way. I have to open my heart to what the stories are about.”
“Narrow-minded in a faith way”? That’s going to rev up Christians to see this movie.
This truly is disappointing since many fans of C.S. Lewis’ work had been eagerly waiting to see how these literary treasures would be made into movies. When Disney bailed on the series in Decenber 2008 after The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian (which already started to drift from the series’ Christian theme), there was much doubt as to whether the series would continue. Fox picked up the series and Dawn Treader, which was scheduled for a May 2009 release, was pushed back to May 2010. Now, Druin reports, the movie will be released in December. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not that you couldn’t enjoy the movie, it’s just that knowing what the books are like and then seeing the story altered in ways that I’m sure Lewis would be displeased with would be a huge letdown.
As before, my advice would be to find the books. Read them, both for your own sake and your children’s. See exactly what Apted thinks is so “narrow-minded.”
Because I am a native Minnesotan, I am taking my son to see what ballparksofbaseball.com calls “one of the worst venues in baseball,” The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.
It may not aesthetically pleasing, but we won’t be swatting at mosquitoes as we watch the Twins take on the dreaded Chicago White Sox in all its 72-degree beauty. Ah, summer! Next year, when the Metrodome will be abandoned for the great, new outdoor Target Field, we can talk about the wonders of outdoor baseball. But, for tonight, we’ll take what we can get.
Dave Brubeck, now at 89, explains in an NPR interview the thinking behind his classic jazz hit “Take Five,” which topped the charts in 1959. I enjoyed listening to Brubeck and his music in the interview, and it reminded me of what I’ve told to my children as they’ve grown up and learned to play instruments that music is a lifelong skill. What I mean is that you can learn to play or sing and it is something you will have your entire life. Brubeck, talking about playing as much as he can and looking forward to his next gig, is an example of that. On the other hand, Brett Favre, at age 40, is nearing the end of his athletic career.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’sBrave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.— Matthew 6:19-20
Westminster Theological Seminary has put together a comprehensive Web site in response to the movie based on Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons.” Some of the questions from “Angels and Demons” it addresses are:
Other topics addressed on the site include Church & Bio-Ethics, Facts About Antimatter, Illuminati Ambigrams, Hidden Archives, The God Particle, CERN & Religion, Popular Questions and an Angels and Demons Quiz. All in all, it’s a great site for those who have questions about Christianity raised by the movie.
I am so looking forward to seeing the latest Pixar movie “Up” when it opens in theaters May 29. One of the more hilarious characters I’ve seen in the trailers is Dug the Talking Dog. Here is a Pixar featurette talking about that character along with a few more scenes from the movie.