- Out of the over 170 reviews published on this movie, three out of four critics liked the movie, but....
- Many of them had caveats like, "the movie was great despite the Christian allegory," or "the viewer can ignore the Christian aspects of the story and simply enjoy the great tale."
- You would think the critics would have learned from Mel Gibson's PASSION OF THE CHRIST that there truly is a market out in the world for good family fare with a Christian subtext.
- Those critics that did not like the film panned its Christian roots or compared it to LORD OF THE RINGS and found it wanting.
- Major media commentators like Roeper and Ebert, and the New York Times liked the movie very much but seemed unable to figure out that the message is what made the movie--and it was an explicitly Christian message.
My take on the comparison of Middle Earth to Narnia is that the film never tried to be Peter Jackson's masterpiece, just like Lewis never tried to be Tolkien. These are just completely different types of stories. Tolkien's is an epic and Lewis' is a fairy tale. Things work differently in each of these genres.
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is just great moviemaking that is at its heart a kid's story that every adult can love. It talks about faith, about growing up, about being heroic, and about life after death. With the content lifted from the Gospel message, how can such an optimistic outlook go wrong. Answer--it can't. This film's success will ensure the rest of the stories become part of a worthy film franchise.
Lastly, the critics' fear of Aslan, what he represents, and what the values he holds might do to viewers is perhaps one of the best things to come from this film. I took a lot of members of my parish to this movie. They got to see and hear the Gospel message in a new way, an exciting way. If they now see Christ as the Lion of Judah, so much the better. Let the critics beware; it looks like Aslan will be on the prowl for a long time to come.