Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Aslan's other name is Jesus

Yesterday we headed off to Salisbury for a bit of Christmas shopping and to see the latest Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I think the White Witch must have cast an evil spell over the cinema as it was almost as cold inside as out. Hopefully it won't be a case of 'Always winter, but never Christmas'.

The film was well done and was a more faithful adaptation of C. S. Lewis' book than Prince Caspian. We opted for the 3D version, but I'm not sure that the format added much to the film. When the 3D effect is obvious it looks unreal and when stuff doesn't seem to protrude from the screen, you think, "What's the point in paying extra for this?" It worked best during the storm at sea scenes when water appeared to spray the audience.

The film was acted well and beautifully realised, with some good special effects. The sea serpent looked suitably terrifying. The story's Christian message was not downplayed. At one point Lucy asks, "Without faith, what do we have?" Lucy and Edmund have to battle against temptation in different forms. In a kind of conversion event, their cousin, the obnoxious Eustace's life is transformed  on encountering Aslan.

Towards the end of the film, Aslan informs Edmund and Lucy that they will return to Narnia no more. Lucy asks him if he is present in her world back home. The lion replies,

"I am ... but there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."

The line is a reminder of Lewis' intention in bringing his readers into the imaginary world of Narnia, that through the Aslan figure, they might get to know the One who died for undeserving sinners. Liam Neeson, the actor who provides Aslan's majestic voice recently said, "Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me."

However, those who knew C. S. Lewis best flatly deny that, saying the author could not have been clearer. He wrote that the "whole Narnian story is about Christ”. Jesus Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah is Aslan's "other name", Matthew 1:21, Revelation 5:5-7.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Aslan only died for his friends. Jesus died for his enemies (all of us). Aslan died because of the wrong doing of one person, a traitor. Jesus died for all as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The traitor Aslan died for was redeemed. Jesus died for Judas but Judas was not redeemed since was the son of perdition and never repented and put true faith in Jesus. There are so many differences between Jesus and Aslan on key aspect of who the Bible describes Jesus as. I can't give you a reference but I do recall reading somewhere that C S Lewis never intended Narnia to be a Christian analogy. The preceding reasons may be why. Lewis was a clever man, if he wanted to make Aslan Jesus, then he could easily have done so.