Wednesday, May 28, 2008

chronicles of narnia

More LA fun: riding the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier, and mini-golf. And:
seeing the second Chronicles of Narnia movie. Thoughts: I'm tired of CGI effects already. Movie directors seem to think they're wonderful, but I'd rather have a narrower scope with more real images. The centaurs' human torsos were disproportionately long. This movie would have been very frightening for what I think the target age of the books is, 8-12. At least I would have been scared. But then my first movie was An American Tail and I started crying when the cats attacked, so maybe I just overreact.

Also, I am somewhat miffed that the Telmarines were portrayed as being Italian/Spanish/Mediterranean. I certainly don't remember the book depicting them as such. And in The Horse and His Boy, Lewis does depict the Calmorenes as being Arab, in a most offensive way, so if he'd intended for the Telmarines to be Italian, he probably also would have depicted them so in an equally distasteful way. Not that the Telmarines are all bad, but they certainly aren't completely good. Anyway, the movie was OK. I wonder how many movies they will make. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is pretty mild, but The Silver Chair is strange. And misogynistic. The Horse and His Boy is anti-Arab. The Magician's Nephew is again, strange and misogynistic. And The Last Battle is in my opinion a horrible thing to write for children. Don't get me wrong, children love dark and scary things, try Roald Dahl or Harry Potter, but this goes beyond. It's brutal, bigoted, and again, misogynistic. And very religious, but not in a good or happy way.

I find it odd that CS Lewis could write Lucy to be such a strong, courageous little girl, and there are several other little girls along the way that are, too, yet almost all of the powerful adult women in the books are evil. The White Witch. The Green Lady in The Silver Chair. The Jinn (well, she's the origin of the White Witch, but still) in The Magician's Nephew. And, what angered me the most: in The Last Battle, Susan does not get to come to heaven with the rest of her siblings because she's into lipstick and nylons. I mean, she doesn't die, so I guess she doesn't necessarily not go to heaven later, but still. What a horrible thing to write. CS Lewis obviously had some problems with women. I read somewhere that he fell in love with his best-friend-who-died-in-the-war's mom and married her. That's weird. Anyway. Not sure I recommend the movie. Goodnight.


Patty said...

I read the books so long ago I don't remember much about them, but I did love them. I didn't see the misogyny or racism, but perhaps that's due to my own upbringing. (Things have changed a lot since I was a kid!) Maybe I'll read them again. My children read them on their own, and from what they said really liked them. Even the last one.

C. S. Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham. She died of cancer, and he wrote a book, A Grief Observed, about his journey through grief which is quite real. I don't believe she was his best friend's mom, but that's only because it sure doesn't ring a bell! Hmm. Guess maybe I'll read up on that someday. In my free time. ;-)

I haven't seen the movies ... I think I just fear disappointment too much, although my friends have liked them. Maybe someday ....

Gabrielle said...

I loved the books as a child, and I also liked them when I reread them, but I did notice these things. Some of my more recent observations are not things that a child would likely pick up on. Pretty much all the villains are powerful women, and the Susan thing I find quite disturbing. If you read the wikipedia entry ( it seems I'm not the only person to have expressed these thoughts before. And the last book, well, basically everyone is killed, and it involves the slaughter of cute little woodland creatures. I do think CS Lewis meant well by them, and there is a lot of value in them, but there also some unpleasantries. Everyone is, after all, a product of their location and place in time.

Gabrielle said...

PS I really don't remember where I read that about his war buddy's mom, so let's assume it was a disreputable source or that I misremembered it and give Mr. Lewis the benefit of the doubt. Oh, and my comments about it being brutal, bigoted, and misogynistic only refer to the last book, but I stand by those comments.

Patty said...

I guess growing up on Bible stories made me somewhat used to brutality! Go figure.

But I've not read the books in SO long maybe I'll get back to 'em someday.

Then again, maybe not. So many books, so little time left in this life 'o mine!