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.”
‘Collision’ premiered Friday at the 2009 Desiring God National Conference. If you’re not familiar with it, “Collision” is a documentary on the series of debates between pastor/theologian Doug Wilson and atheist/author Christopher Hitchens on their book “Is Christianity Good for the World?”
After the movie was shown, Wilson sat down with pastor John Piper to answer a few questions about the film:
Christopher Hitchens said at the end of the movie that, given the chance, he wouldn’t convert the last theist. Why do you think he said that?
What is Hitchens’ best counterpoint to the claim that he is getting his morality for judging Christianity from Christians?
What is the relationship between doing apologetics and evangelizing?
In the video you speak about having “copiousness.” Describe what that is and whether you think it is important for pastors to cultivate.
What is your hope for this film?
What about the “s” word at the end of the film? Why do you allow for it here but don’t tolerate it from your children?
Why the recent upsurge in the New Atheism?
The 2009 Desiring God National Conference is going on this weekend in Minneapolis. The theme of this year’s conference is “With Calvin in the Theater of God.” You can follow along with the conference’s messages and find audio and video here.
The new documentary movie Collision, based on the series of debates by Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything) and evangelical pastor Doug Wilson will be released on DVD on Oct. 27. You can pre-order it now at Amazon.
Since today is Memorial Day, here is a movie you should consider seeing if you can find it. My brother, serving honorably in Iraq, recommended it and I’ll take his word on it. It’s called “Taking Chance” and stars Kevin Bacon. This is what reviewer Robert Davis said about the movie, which was nominated for the Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival:
Taking Chance is a very simple film about Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) who is escorting the body of a fallen PFC named Chance Phelps to his family. In under ninety minutes, the film bears witness to the respectful procedures that the USMC follows in such situations and to the reactions of ordinary Americans who Strobl meets on this particular journey. He doesn’t know the Private, and we learn only a few details about Strobl himself, but I found the film to be one of the most moving experiences I’ve had in a theater, almost indescribably so. Bacon’s solidity and restraint bind the minimal plot together, as do the tasteful decisions made by filmmaker Ross Katz, a producer-turned-director (he produced Lost in Translation and In the Bedroom) who tells the story with remarkable efficiency, never lingering past a scene’s essential moment, never overplaying the emotion. It’s the best feature film about America’s involvement in Iraq that I’ve seen. I’m not a military guy, and I’ve never had much interest in the Marines, but after the screening I needed some time to walk around.
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 don’t know when this will come out on video or theaters, but it promises to be an interesting event nonetheless. Renowned author and avowed “anti-theist” Christopher Hitchens and pastor and author Douglas Wilson are the subjects of a documentary that looks at their exchanges over the question “Is Christianity good for the world?” The documentary, called “Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson,” follows the men as they debate one another and make public appearances during their book tour for “Is Christianity Good for The World.”
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