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Pullman attacks Narnia film plans

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  • Pullman attacks Narnia film plans

    Came across this on the BBC - curious to find out what others think about it.

    Pullman attacks Narnia film plans

    Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Georgie Henley and Anna Popplewell
    The cast of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie
    Author Philip Pullman has attacked plans to turn The Chronicles of Narnia into a movie series, calling CS Lewis' books "racist" and "misogynistic".

    The first film in the series - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - is due to be released in December.

    His Dark Materials author Pullman said the 1950s stories were "reactionary".

    "If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they'll just have to tell lies about it," he told The Observer.

    Successful adaptations

    The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the second and best-known novel in the seven-part Narnia book series.

    The آ£62m movie version is expected to be the first of five films, following the success of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and ongoing Harry Potter film adaptations.

    Evangelical Christian groups in the US have backed the movie, seeing parallels between CS Lewis' tales and Bible stories.


    Philip Pullman
    It's not the presence of Christian doctrine I object to so much as the absence of Christian virtue
    Philip Pullman
    "We believe that God will speak the gospel of Jesus Christ through this film," Lon Allison, director of Illinois' Billy Graham Centre, told the newspaper.

    But Pullman said the Narnia books contained "a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice" and "not a trace" of Christian charity.

    "It's not the presence of Christian doctrine I object to so much as the absence of Christian virtue," he added.

    "The highest virtue - we have on the authority of the New Testament itself - is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books."

    Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy tells of a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God.

    Attacked by some Christian teachers and Catholic press as blasphemous, Pullman's trilogy is also being made into a series of movies.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertain...lm/4347226.stm
    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

  • #2
    Re: Pullman attacks Narnia film plans

    [quote="devilchicken"]Came across this on the BBC - curious to find out what others think about it.

    Pullman attacks Narnia film plans
    "We believe that God will speak the gospel of Jesus Christ through this film," Lon Allison, director of Illinois' Billy Graham Centre, told the newspaper.
    Oh, brother. . . I wish they'd stop involving anything/everything with religion. . .


    But Pullman said the Narnia books contained "a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice" and "not a trace" of Christian charity.
    I think its dumb to judge books racist, or masochistic when you fail to consider the time. The same case has been done to REH. There are claims of racism in Solomon kane tales, but is it REH or Kane. Kane was an englishman in the time of the slave trade and ethnocentricism, if i wrote about such a character, i too would be obliged to make him a tad racist. It was a diffrent time, a diffrent place, diffrent values. . . let it rest.


    Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy tells of a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God.
    Oh how i find that dreadfully hilarious! Overthrowing God or lack of virture, I wonder which of the two is the lesser of two evils and sprinkled with Satanic seasoning

    Attacked by some Christian teachers and Catholic press as blasphemous, Pullman's trilogy is also being made into a series of movies.
    Ah-ha! There's the answer to it all. Nice way for the BBC to give this as the last line, its painfully obvious that he's mad Narnia threatens his own films. What a sour puss!

    Comment


    • #3
      As far as Pullman's claims that the Narnia books are "racist. misogynistic and reactionary" go, that's fairly explicit. The Calormenes, in A Horse and his Boy and The Last Battle, are an Arabic race, in all but name. They worship a birdheaded God called Tash, who is quite clearly a demon, as opposed to the good Narnians who's deity is Aslan (the Lion who submitted, Christlike, to being sacrificed to save Edmund and Narnia and who is resurrected, in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe).

      Also in The Last Battle Susan, one of the original English kids from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, is deprived of the joys of the heavenly Narnia and apparently cast in to outer darkness, for growing up, casting away childish things and putting on nylons and lipstick.

      The Christian allegory runs, strong as a thread of tungsten alloy, throughout the books. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, there are some pieces of business with a Lamb who is also Aslan and a frying pan full of fish, that are particularily squamous and explicit.

      There's a Mervyn Peake story, Boy in Darkness that puts the horrible white, fluffiness of the lamb in quite another light. I can recommend that tale as sort of an antidote to the sometimes arch, self conscious and infantile allegory in the children's books of CS Lewis.

      I can't comment on Pullman, but I read a lot of CS Lewis books when I was at an impressionable age, not only the Narnia series and he's very good on instilling guilt and shame. My feelings towards his books remain very ambiguous. I have resisted the temptation to recommend his books to my kids and won't be taking them to see the movies.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A773769

      From the BBC Online: H2G2 Site:

      ...

      Criticism of the Narnia Books

      The Narnia books are often criticised because of their racism. The land of Calormen lies to the south of Narnia and is inhabited by a race of dark-skinned people, the Calormenes, who are very similar to the Arabs of the Arabian Nights. They are a cruel but sophisticated race with a tradition of good storytelling and high culture, although they are not averse to the keeping of slaves. In The Last Battle however, Lewis describes them in much less respectful terms: 'smelling of garlic and onions, their white eyes flashing dreadfully in their brown faces'. One Narnian accuses another of being a liar: 'You lie like a Calormene'.

      This will unsettle some adults, particularly parents worrying about the suitability of the books for their children. Rest assured, Lewis is aware of these issues. He later explains that the Calormene who does good is as good in Aslan's (God's) eyes as a good Narnian, while a Narnian who does bad is just as repellent to Aslan as a bad Calormene.

      Another complaint against Lewis is that his sniping at other lifestyles can be tiresome. Eustace is an irritating and spiteful liar. His parents are 'vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotallers and wore a special kind of underclothes', in other words weirdos and crackpots. They send their child to a progressive school which does not use corporal punishment. Eustace 'reads the wrong sort of books'. It is never stated, but it is strongly implied that it is the parents' fads that have made Eustace the obnoxious brat that he is. This could be hurtful to many children who are brought up (successfully) in similar surroundings. In Lewis's defence, such attitudes would have been fairly common at the time the books were written, even among educated people.

      Perhaps hardest to understand is Lewis's attitude to children growing up. In The Last Battle, Susan is 'no longer a friend of Narnia', because she is growing up and is 'interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations'. Susan had put aside Aslan along with all her other childhood ideas. The message intended behind this is that we should beware the pleasures of this life because they will distract us from our search for God. Lewis is Christian and he is entitled to state his Christian belief. But a child could misinterpret it as saying that it is a bad thing to grow up at all, and expressing distaste at the increase in sexuality which is a natural part of adolescence. It should be noted that Peter, Digory and Polly all managed to grow up and remain 'friends of Narnia'.

      ...

      Comment


      • #4
        Oh, brother. . .

        Is it just me or does every book made to film gotta be made into a controvery! Media hype! Thats all it is. . .

        I personally only recall seeing the ol' PBS Narnia's as a kid and didn't recall much (which shows how lil' interest or memory it left me). I rewatched them through a friend who still owned them on tape, and I fell asleep through all of them, save one. . . the one w/ Tom Baker (good ol' Dr. Who himself) and it was only in the scenes with him in it I was awake to watch, the rest of it was a dreary bore. . .

        Funny how a guy with a big smile and teeth like piano keys can make a dreadful show better! :D

        Comment


        • #5
          It was a diffrent time, a diffrent place, diffrent values. . . let it rest.
          - Azariel

          I agree, let it rest. Otherwise people would be going through all the classics and removing anything that might be offensive to someone. In alot of cases it just reflects the period the author lived in. On the other hand, some authors liked to put their point of view in stories and try to push their morals on their readers, but it's like anything else, we don't really have to buy it or pay attention to it. :)

          If we made everything politically correct, it would not show the reality of the moment in time and our culture would become a life of lies. History should be left alone.

          I will still go see "Narnia" and find out if it is a good story or not since I never read those books. If it turns ot to be racist or even too preachy, I just won't go watch the remainder of the series. I wont try to stop others from enjoying it though.

          "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
          - Michael Moorcock

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Azariel
            I personally only recall seeing the ol' PBS Narnia's as a kid and didn't recall much (which shows how lil' interest or memory it left me). I rewatched them through a friend who still owned them on tape, and I fell asleep through all of them, save one. . . the one w/ Tom Baker (good ol' Dr. Who himself) and it was only in the scenes with him in it I was awake to watch, the rest of it was a dreary bore. . .
            That was a BBC (co-)production as I recall. They made adaptions of three or four of the original books - LWW, Dawn Treader, Silver Chair and possibly Prince Caspin. They were (if memory serves) typical BBC productions, very worthy & produced on the standard BBC showstring budget, a lot of which went on the animatronic version of Aslan.

            Personally I just wish Pullman would stop assuming that he has to be the spokesperson for the anti-Christian brigade, who (frankly) seem just as evangelical in their fervour to spread a humanist agenda as the Church they're opposed to.

            Pullman needs to stop believing his own legend and get back to writing novels, imho. And I'm not just saying that because I thought he bottled the ending of his Dark Materials trilogy*.

            *Oh alright, I am just saying that because I thought he bottled the end of his Dark Materials trilogy. The first two books and the first two-thirds of the trilogy were fine, but I felt his ending just unravelled in his hands and he didn't manage to pull off his denoument at the end of the day. (But that's just my opinion, of course. :))
            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

            Comment


            • #7
              [quote="lemec"]
              If we made everything politically correct, it would not show the reality of the moment in time and our culture would become a life of lies. History should be left alone.
              I'm not a racist, but I recall writing detective stories in the vein of the Shadow, and I used the n-word to describe blacks, and gave them cab driver , jazz musicians and doorman positions! Was I being mean! No, it was set in 1931, I was tryin to capture the feel of time, if I had a black man walking around as a cop, detective, or even a passenger, the reader would be thrown off! That's not the roarin' 30s! Its all about the time and place. Set in the 30s, no one thought a moment I was being racist, they knew its how it was back then, its part of the escapism to see how it was. . .

              Comment


              • #8
                [quote="Azariel"]
                Originally posted by lemec
                If we made everything politically correct, it would not show the reality of the moment in time and our culture would become a life of lies. History should be left alone.
                I'm not a racist, but I recall writing detective stories in the vein of the Shadow, and I used the n-word to describe blacks, and gave them cab driver , jazz musicians and doorman positions! Was I being mean! No, it was set in 1931, I was tryin to capture the feel of time, if I had a black man walking around as a cop, detective, or even a passenger, the reader would be thrown off! That's not the roarin' 30s! Its all about the time and place. Set in the 30s, no one thought a moment I was being racist, they knew its how it was back then, its part of the escapism to see how it was. . .
                Good Point. :D Stories should reflect the time they were set in. Even if you make up imaginary places you should be allowed to write it any way that you want to write it to create the proper atmosphere. The original Blade Runner narration even mentioned that term when it described what kind a person the police captain was in the old days.

                To be fair,and I am not making any social statement here, All peoples,religions and races were victims at one time or another throughout history. The Roman Empire is a big example of that, they ruled most of the known world and pushed their views on everyone. :)

                "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                - Michael Moorcock

                Comment


                • #9
                  Surely the issue here is not whether the Narnia books are racist, etc. but the way in which Disney are deliberately wooing evangelical Christians in order to get more bums on seats. Here's another link:

                  http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_ne...593201,00.html

                  The point being that, if this is their strategy, we can expect to see some some of the more unpleasant aspects (of which there are many) of the books being stressed.

                  Whilst I don't advocate altering books over the years (well, I suppose Mike can if he wants to ), I do think that adaptations of said books would do well to take out the more offensive elements. To take an example on a literary par with Lewis: Whilst I think that it's pretty ridiculous to strip the golliwogs out of the Noddy books as a form of retrospective censorship, I am only too happy that they don't appear in the recent television adaptations.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I expect Narnia will make about $305,000,000 US at the box office,now that there is such a controversy over the religious content. Mel Gibson's The Passion really made out after all the fuss and hype.

                    I guess we are in for alot more Christian values type movies when Hollywood finds out they hit a sweet spot. ;)

                    "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                    - Michael Moorcock

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm glad someone's speaking up against all the religious propaganda we're getting subjected to these days. I can't imagine these films will be any more harmful than LOTR, though. They might even turn a few more kids on to fantasy. We had a teacher who read us Narnia tales at school and I remembering enjoying them. It might have helped plant the seed.

                      I'm more worried about the growth of "faith schools" than about what Hollywood's doing.
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I guess what bothers me about all this is not the content of the books, as there's been a good half century of criticism on them. Whether or not C.S. Lewis allegory 'worked' is open to interpretation though I admit I do agree (from a purely critical sense) with the suggestion that one of the big failings of the Narnia novels is the absence of christian virtue to back up the allegory.

                        Its the same thing with Lord of the Rings - christians Love LOTR, they love the conflict between good and evil, but at the same time they don't consider the fascism that is in that book (in fact it pervades heroic fantasy even to this day). Not that I'm saying that LOTR and Narnia are bad books, but you can't ignore the subtexts that exist within them.
                        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lemec
                          I guess we are in for alot more Christian values type movies when Hollywood finds out they hit a sweet spot. ;)
                          Whats sad is that people have to tap into religion like another gold mine rather than take it for what it is. I'm not too religious, but i have the decency to respect it for what it is and not convert it into some cash cow.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lemec
                            Good Point. :D Stories should reflect the time they were set in. Even if you make up imaginary places you should be allowed to write it any way that you want to write it to create the proper atmosphere. The original Blade Runner narration even mentioned that term when it described what kind a person the police captain was in the old days.

                            To be fair,and I am not making any social statement here, All peoples,religions and races were victims at one time or another throughout history. The Roman Empire is a big example of that, they ruled most of the known world and pushed their views on everyone. :)

                            I've also written stories in the far-flung future where the Catholics was a ruthless empire (kinda an opposite to the Canticle of Leibowitz). Do I hate Catholics? Naw, as Conan said: "Let men worship what gods they will!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Azariel
                              Naw, as Conan said: "Let men worship what gods they will!"
                              Bizarre. I was watching the 'Kull the Conquorer' movie with Kevin Sorbo* last night and he uses the exact same line in that as well.

                              Which considering they're both REH characters perhaps isn't that surprising. (Doubly so since Kull was originally meant to be a Conan picture.)

                              *I mean of course that Sorbo was in the movie, not that I was watching it with him. :P
                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                              Comment

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