Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Lion Stays in the Picture

Yesterday my father and I went and saw the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe based on the book of the same name by the Christian apologetic C.S. Lewis. I enjoyed it, but it did make me feel uncomfortable at times-- particularly the scene in which the White Witch meets Edmund and she gets him in her sleigh. In the book I had the feeling that the Witch was trying to be a mother figure to Edmund and get him into her "web" that way, but in the movie it had an entirely different feel to me. It felt smarmy and dirty. It felt like she was trying to seduce Edmund in a sick sexual way. I have a feeling that I was "reading" more into the scene than was really there, it didn't necessarily ruin the film, but it colored it in a way that I had a hard time shaking. Was it a movie that made me "oh, wow, what a great movie"? No. It was better than most, but I wouldn't say it was a homerun of a movie. Maybe I'm just too jaded. I don't know, it was alright and that's about as far as I can go with it.

Now last night after I got home from the movie I read some other reviews of the movie on various blogs. One of the blogs, it was in the Lutheran blogosphere realm, had a long comment asking the question "was Aslan, a lion, an appropriate symbol for Christ." The writer, and I really don't remember which one it was, came down on the side of no. The reason behind his thinking was that scripture tends to give Christ a more subdued imagery (that of a sheep). I found myself thinking about that today at work in between customers and I came to the conclusion that in this case a lion is a perfect symbol for Christ. Here is why I think so: we have to remember that the book series was written for kids, not adults who tend to think too much about things and let that get in the way (I'm just as quilty on that regard, believe you me. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is not a retelling of the Gospel story, uses aspects and mirrors it at times, but it is not an out and out retelling. The use of a lion to represent the Christ figure is important. To a kid the lion is one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful and strong animal there is. Let's not forget the lion is the "king of the jungle" therefore he is the king of all animals. I seriously don't think that a sheep, or a goat, or a donkey or even elephant would have the same effect. I found it very powerful that a lion would let itself be tormented and killed willingly, it is hard to put my brain around a lion being so docile and mallable. Aslan, let himself be killed in place of Edmund. By rights, Aslan could have ripped everyone to bits without breaking a sweat. I tried to put myself in the mindset of a ten year old, or maybe an eight year old. The fact that Aslan didn't do anything to protect himself and allowed the evil White Witch to have her way with him was incredible and intense. C.S. Lewis was not stupid, he got it, he understood how a child might view it. I think it was a very wise and good choice to make the lion the symbol for the Christ figure.

*edit* Here is the post that got it all started, thanks to Old School Confessional for planting the "seed" as it were.


Emily said...

I completely agree with you in regards to your comment about Edmund and the White Witch. I felt the same way watching that scene.

loofrin said...

That scene pretty much ruined the film for me. I haven't been able to get that feeling out of my head. Yuck, yuck...