The Silver Chair... PG-13?

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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby Impending Doom » Apr 19, 2014 7:29 am

ForPeterAndAslan wrote:Narnia films are the #2,3, and 4 best selling christian movies according to IMDB.

To be honest, I don't know why the Narnia movies are on that list. It's really a discredit to Narnia by saying their 'christian' films. Look at the rest of the movies on that list: Passion of the Christ, Son of God, and God's Not Dead. I've never seen any of those movies but Narnia seems very out of place there. :-\
ForPeterAndAslan wrote:The real question is...will a pg13 rating take away Christian faith related issues,dialog, and character actions?

Not at all. The Passion of the Christ was rated R. It wouldn't be the rating that takes those things away but the people making the movie.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby ForPeterAndAslan » Apr 19, 2014 3:44 pm

I guess what i meant was not necessarily the rating rather the PG-13 content. Example: to much action and no christian themes.
also Passionof the Christ was inaccurately rated. Just because of the blood it got rated R
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby coracle » Apr 20, 2014 1:53 am

The first three Narnian films were pushed fairly strenuously through the churches as being a way to raise awareness of Christian faith (and who is Jesus etc). This is a marketing issue.

The stories are not "christian" like a Bible Story or a testimony, but they are pre-christian in being a way to get children into seeing something of who Jesus is, without Jesus being in the story.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby PhelanVelvel » Apr 20, 2014 4:18 pm

I have to be honest with you guys, I can't stand people using Narnia as a way to proselytise. I've said this before on here as well. I understand that Lewis was a Christian and he was strongly inspired by his faith, but you don't have to be a Christian or want to be a Christian to enjoy Narnia. People get annoyed with Narnia fans and marketing because it's used as a way to, like you said, get to know Jesus. But it's a series of fictional books, regardless of how many religious elements were infused by the author.

I don't want to know Jesus, I don't think Jesus is or ever was a supernatural entity, and if I didn't already love Narnia through discovering it on my own, I would probably be completely turned off by it. People have to stop using Narnia as a way to "get people into Christianity". I just don't think it's very fair to try and use a children's fantasy book series to try and "expose people to" i.e. convert them, to one's religion.

Yeah, okay, like 99% of Narnia fans are Christians, and that's fine, and if someone feels interested in Christianity after reading/watching Narnia, that's fine. But conversion/"opening people's eyes" really shouldn't be the goal, IMO. I read Tales of the Arabian Nights and it's heavily inspired by Islamic folktales and themes, and guess what, I am not and never will be a muslim. Would it bother you if you were just interested in a series of books/films and people were saying "Yeah, this is a great way to get them to know Allah!" and also using it as a marketing technique? I think the ensuing rancor would be significant.

I love Narnia, I love C.S. Lewis, I understand and respect his faith and its influence on his works, but guys, like I said, just being totally honest here, Narnia is not church, and it turns people off big-time. I have friends who are atheists, like me, and they are turned off by Narnia not because it is written by a Christian author with Christian themes, but because the fans/marketing make it so about "showing people Jesus" that they feel like they can't enjoy it without people trying to make them share the same faith as the author.

The Narnia stories stand on their own as a work of art, they don't need all these Christian organisations shoving their noses into the picture, promoting them as gateways into Christianity. I do not want the Christian elements removed from Narnia, I want them present exactly as they are in the books, because that is what the author intended and it is part of the big picture. However, if I can love Narnia as deeply as I do without any religious beliefs, I think atheists, christians, jews, muslims, wiccans, hindus, etc. etc. etc. can all come to love Narnia. You just have to give them a chance to love it for what it is, not use it as a tool to get them into the author's religion.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby Skilletdude » Apr 20, 2014 9:47 pm

At the risk of getting off-topic, I'll try to make this brief. I mostly agree with you PhelanVelvel. I don't like how Narnia is so heavily promoted in churches and lumped into being a "Christian series". First of all, that's not accurate, and second of all, who wants to be in a film category with so many terrible duds. ;)

The beauty of Lewis' writing is that his faith is in plain view for readers who have developed an eye for it, and generally disguised enough for other readers who just want to read for enjoyment. Yet, I think one of the reasons why he wrote the series WAS to show children Gospel teachings. In his own words regarding the Narnia books:

"I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood...the whole subject [of religion] was associated with lowered voices: almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency?"

And to get back on topic, as far as ratings go, I agree with many of you that PG is more than sufficient to keep these stories accessible to a wide audience while still staying true to them (Last Battle not included).
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby coracle » Apr 20, 2014 9:56 pm

Thanks for stating that - a lot of people feel the same way, and I doubt it's any where near as high 99% of Narnia fans who are Christians.

But Lewis himself did say that the books are NOT allegorical, not symbolic, and not meant to be direct representations of what is in the bible.
They ARE intended to be good stories, full of adventure, nobility, good vs evil, personal growth and development....

Lewis did say that he wanted to write stories that would help child readers get past the aspects of church that are off-putting, the rules and regulations, the suggestion that one has to love God, (whether one believes or not!) and perhaps the falseness and hypocrisy that many people say they see in churches.
He said these things are like dragons that guard the entrance to truth and joy, and prevent people getting in. He wanted these stories to help children (and adults!) get past those "Watchful Dragons" [his words].

So he was not writing books to proselytise [such books have a message at the end, and tell the reader how to start following Jesus], but to open children's awareness to the ideas and feelings of joy and adventure etc in the books - in the hope that one day the reader would find the One who the writer knew as the bringer of joy and adventure in life.

I'm glad you love the books. Please don't give up on them just because some Christians misuse them.

An early member here told us about how he loved Narnia, loved Aslan, and as an adult was looking at Jesus - who he was, what he said, what he claimed, what he did. He said he had been looking for a real person who was like Aslan - and he had found him.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Apr 21, 2014 7:32 am

^ Right. I think Lewis was trying to do for children what George MacDonald's books, particularly Phantastes, did for him: baptize the imagination. The Narnia stories fill you intuitively with the sense of Christ and certain Christian ideas without you realizing it, but it's up to the reader to decide what to do with that realization if he/she ever makes it. He doesn't end each book with the Roman Road.

For me, the most telling quote of Lewis, describing how he wrote the Narnia stories is this one:

C. S. Lewis wrote:Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out 'allegories' to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn't anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.


The biggest problem I have with "Christian stories" of a certain sort is that the author starts out with the intention of converting his readers and then creates a story around that agenda. That's not what art should be. Art should start with an idea deep down inside of you that you fell compelled to express.

The way I typically respond to "I don't read the Narnia books because they're Christian stories" is by saying that classics like Paradise Lost or The Divine Comedy are "Christian stories" in this sense too. Dante and Milton had ideas that they expressed through their art, and because they were Christians many of their ideas were Christian ideas - same with Lewis. I hope people don't reject those books because they are "Christian stories" and if they don't, they shouldn't reject Narnia either.

So... I wouldn't want the film-makers to avoid a PG-13 rating because it is "un-Christian", but because it doesn't serve the story well.

coracle wrote:An early member here told us about how he loved Narnia, loved Aslan, and as an adult was looking at Jesus - who he was, what he said, what he claimed, what he did. He said he had been looking for a real person who was like Aslan - and he had found him.

That's awesome! Lewis's writings - Narnia not the least of them - played a huge role in me retaining the Christian faith of my childhood.

Welcome to NarniaWeb btw ForPeterAndAslan! We tend to be a bit nit-picky here about our beloved Chronicles; hope we didn't scare you off. ;)
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby PhelanVelvel » Apr 21, 2014 4:09 pm

That's a great quote, Reepicheep775, and pretty much how I understood Lewis' perspective on the matter.

I definitely wasn't trying to scare anyone off! I just get frustrated sometimes by the condescending attitude people in the media take towards Narnia, but at the same time understand why they take that tone. I watched a video with some film buffs/critics or whatever you want to call them, and they sort of flippantly stated "They're making another Narnia movie? Why? Oh, I guess the films did well overall in the box office. Liam Neeson played the Christ-Lion, right?" I get worried when these ideas are put out there before the next movie even has an announced director. :[ Not because Aslan doesn't symbolise Jesus (we all know he does), but because it more or less shoe-horns the books into the category of "predictable religious allegory". We all know that the books shouldn't be used in that way, yet they are.

I want the films to have a fighting chance, but Christian media entities need to let go of the whole "bringing people into Christianity using Narnia" thing. The point for me is not that Narnia won't bring anyone into Christianity, but that it's none of their business whether it does or not. This is my stance, everyone is free to believe in what he or she wishes without being pitied and prayed for, as if our beliefs are less than theirs. This is the aspect that steers people away from these incredible books, I've seen it with my own eyes, and it makes me very sad. At the same time, let's not have the less religious members of the media writing it off as "Yep, it's about a Christ-Lion." That makes it seem as though that's all Narnia is, a simple, shallow X = Y story.

It seems unfair that Tolkien was a Christian, yet you don't see his stories marketed in that way; it's not a huge focus of what makes them great, though the themes are still there. Why is this zealous view only adopted for Narnia? How about just putting Lewis' story on the screen with as much artistry and care as possible, and letting the author's views speak for themselves?

Applying this to the topic at hand, I feel that there is definitely a conflict in terms of how to market Narnia because some people are so staunchly invested in it being a "Christian" film that the content is almost runs the risk of being hindered by it.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby ForPeterAndAslan » Apr 21, 2014 4:15 pm

Wow! That was alot to read. You know mabye a PG-13 Narnia woud only make the series better come to think of it. Mabye a PG-13 Narnia would be able to give viewers the full Narnian experience.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby PhelanVelvel » Apr 21, 2014 4:39 pm

ForPeterAndAslan wrote:Wow! That was alot to read. You know mabye a PG-13 Narnia woud only make the series better come to think of it. Mabye a PG-13 Narnia would be able to give viewers the full Narnian experience.


That's how I feel, but we're always going to be at the crossroads of "PG to make it accessible to children, because the books were children's stories", or "PG-13 to portray the content of the books with artistic freedom, not feeling limited by today's idea of what is appropriate for children under the age of thirteen." At least, that's how I see it. I think a lot of the stuff in the books basically becomes "PG-13" by today's standards once it's translated into a visual medium. So you can change it, the way they did with the previous movies, or you can keep it the same and take a higher rating. There is a middle ground, but I feel it would be very difficult to strike while keeping all the emotion of the books intact.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby King_Erlian » Apr 22, 2014 3:02 am

It's interesting that you think that if a filmmaker stays true to the books, it would gravitate towards PG-13 and to make it PG, they would have to "dumb it down" and remove content which was unsuitable for young children. I tend to think it would work the other way: that if a filmmaker is true to the original content it would most likely be PG and to make it PG-13, they would have to deliberately include stuff not in the books (or a distortion of material in the books) which was unsuitable for younger children, presumably to attract older children/teenagers who wouldn't see a PG movie but might think that a higher rating means it would be "cooler". I think that if they were to do that, it would backfire because parents with younger children would be put off, but older children would still think that "Narnia is kids' stuff". Thirteen seems to be the age when people are desperate to show everyone that they're not kids any more and to distance themselves from everything that could be thought of as "kiddy". I went through that with the Wombles. Up to the age of 12 I was a huge Wombles fan (the original books were aimed at the 9 to 12 age group, though the BBC TV series turned it into a pre-school programme). At 13 I felt deeply embarrassed at having been a fan and got rid of all my Wombles stuff. By 18 I no longer felt ashamed and I regretted having binned everything.

I agree with PhelanVelvel about the way Narnia (in any medium) is used by some churches. I enjoyed the Narnia books at the age of 6, but I didn't make any connection to Christianity until I was an adult and was introduced to Lewis' books for adults while at university. Some churches appear to try to latch onto anything that's currently popular that has some kind of "Christian" connection, however tenuous. It's as if all non-believers go around saying, "I'm completely convinced of the truth of the Gospel, but I won't become a Christian because you can't be a Christian and be cool and trendy. What's that? You CAN be a Christian and be cool and trendy? Oh wow, I simply must dedicate my life to the Lord!" :ymsick:
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Apr 22, 2014 6:49 am

King_Erlian wrote:It's interesting that you think that if a filmmaker stays true to the books, it would gravitate towards PG-13 and to make it PG, they would have to "dumb it down" and remove content which was unsuitable for young children. I tend to think it would work the other way: that if a filmmaker is true to the original content it would most likely be PG and to make it PG-13, they would have to deliberately include stuff not in the books (or a distortion of material in the books) which was unsuitable for younger children, presumably to attract older children/teenagers who wouldn't see a PG movie but might think that a higher rating means it would be "cooler".

Agreed. There isn't much in SC that would warrant a PG-13 rating if given a completely literal adaptation. The only thing I can think of is the fight with the Lady of the Green Kirtle. The fight with the Lady of the Green Kirtle as described in the book is probably PG-13, even though she's in snake form. I have no issues with toning down the violence in that scene.

Other than that there's no other violence, there's no sexual content, there's one swear word but it's a PG swear word, and there's no substance abuse.

Thematically, SC should be gloomy and, once the characters get to Underland, it should be downright despair-inducing. This is of the utmost importance. If it takes a PG-13 rating to get the feel right, I might assent to it. I really don't think it's necessary though. PC was a war movie, and more intense than I felt it needed to be, and it still got away with a PG rating. An example I brought up earlier is Where the Wild Things Are. There is no simple reason (e.g. violence) for giving it more than a G rating, but because of the thematic heaviness of it, it is rated PG. I think the tone of Where the Wild Things Are is similar to what I'm looking for with SC.

I also agree that trying too attract teen/young adult audiences by making SC "cooler" is misguided. Part of the problem with PC was just that (I do like PC though :p ). Narnia is a fairy tale. If you can't take that, go see a different movie.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby PhelanVelvel » Apr 22, 2014 12:28 pm

I actually think you guys are right, in that the books are definitely not more than "PG" on a realistic rating scale. I wouldn't want to see stuff added in just for the sake of making it "cooler", either. :P Of course, I actually thought they did really well with PC; to my eyes, it was a very difficult book to adapt, and I thought most of the changes they implemented made it happen. (No, the Susan/Caspian thing was not necessary, lol. Although it didn't bother me as much as it bothered other people.)

That being said, you never know what they might rate something. I get the feeling that "violence", e.g. action/battles in a fantasy setting, is considered more appropriate for children than dark/serious/scary "emotional" content. An example I can see happening is having a fairly lengthy/involved battle like the ones in LWW and PC, but not being able to fully capture the darkness and despair of Underland because kids are afraid of the dark or something. It might sound silly, but I wouldn't put it past them, in a time where film-makers seem to think that children can't handle anything with any sort of depth.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby twinimage » Jun 11, 2014 2:27 pm

Let's look at Pixar for a moment. All their films are under PG-13 but most of their films are great. Why? Because they don't try to make a kiddie film or an adult film. They try to tell a great story. They even go into some dark places (especially death and loss) at times and still maintain a G/PG rating (e.g. Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, Up).

At the end of the day, stamping a certain popular rating on a film won't increase the quality of the film. They should aim to tell the great story of SC as best possible and let the rating fall where it may, which will undoubtedly be PG. There's nothing in the story that warrants a PG-13 rating at all.
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jun 11, 2014 11:22 pm

Actually there is something which would make Silver Chair PC-13. At least a couple of things. I was listening to the latest podcast, (#104) and Glumpuddle and Rilian were discussing the forthcoming filming of Silver Chair, in particular, the closing scene where Eustace has to prick Aslan's paw into the water. The blood from this wound falls onto the dead King Caspian who is then revived, becoming the young friend Eustace used to know on the Dawn Treader.

Now more than one person who visits this site had a major problem with the dumbing down of VDT. I remember W4J, in particular, commenting on how the producers mangled the undragoning of Eustace, claiming that to show Aslan actually using his claws and even drawing blood would automatically change VDT's PG status to PG-13. So why, when BBC Silver Chair is G, not even PG, and still sheds blood, is passable and not the latest version of the film, if it is made?

Furthermore, there is another scene which might produce some angst. At the end, Jill and Eustace's tormentors arrive at the garden gate, but are forced to flee Jill and Eustace, accompanied by Aslan and King Rilian. According to the book, Jill, Eustace & Rilian chastise the bullies by hitting them with swordblades and riding crops. Wouldn't there be an outcry over this portrayal of corporal punishment, which has been outlawed in several world countries?

And not to mention other violent scenes. 1. Recounting what the bullies did. 2. The cliff scene where Eustace is the casualty. 3. The Giants' ideas of playing . 4. The kitchen at Harfang and the prospect of being served up for dinner. I could go on. Puddleglum's speech in front of the Green Witch, or Rilian's memory problems.

Can these scenes be included without making the movie PG-13?
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Re: The Silver Chair... PG-13?

Postby twinimage » Jun 12, 2014 6:42 am

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Actually there is something which would make Silver Chair PC-13. At least a couple of things. I was listening to the latest podcast, (#104) and Glumpuddle and Rilian were discussing the forthcoming filming of Silver Chair, in particular, the closing scene where Eustace has to prick Aslan's paw into the water. The blood from this wound falls onto the dead King Caspian who is then revived, becoming the young friend Eustace used to know on the Dawn Treader.

Now more than one person who visits this site had a major problem with the dumbing down of VDT. I remember W4J, in particular, commenting on how the producers mangled the undragoning of Eustace, claiming that to show Aslan actually using his claws and even drawing blood would automatically change VDT's PG status to PG-13. So why, when BBC Silver Chair is G, not even PG, and still sheds blood, is passable and not the latest version of the film, if it is made?

Furthermore, there is another scene which might produce some angst. At the end, Jill and Eustace's tormentors arrive at the garden gate, but are forced to flee Jill and Eustace, accompanied by Aslan and King Rilian. According to the book, Jill, Eustace & Rilian chastise the bullies by hitting them with swordblades and riding crops. Wouldn't there be an outcry over this portrayal of corporal punishment, which has been outlawed in several world countries?

And not to mention other violent scenes. 1. Recounting what the bullies did. 2. The cliff scene where Eustace is the casualty. 3. The Giants' ideas of playing . 4. The kitchen at Harfang and the prospect of being served up for dinner. I could go on. Puddleglum's speech in front of the Green Witch, or Rilian's memory problems.

Can these scenes be included without making the movie PG-13?


Absolutely they could be in a PG movie. With the way the rating system is now, I don't think any of what you listed would garner a PG-13 rating, even the non-politically correct scenes or a few of Aslan's blood drops. A PG-13 rating isn't going to make it a better, more faithful adaption. I understand the worries of a forced PG rating.

The rating is not going to "dumb down" or ruin SC, a bad script and bad film making will. So much depends on implementation. For instance, I know they won't show the thorn going into Aslan's paw, but it's penetrating his flesh, none the less.
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