Too Much Christianity

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Too Much Christianity

Postby PuddleCheep » Sep 28, 2011 6:00 pm

First off, I want to say I am a Christian. I love the Biblical themes in the books. I think the films of LWW and PC brought those morals through without it being right in your face.

VDT, on the other hand, was too overly Christian. Walden said it wanted to focus on the spiritual aspects of the books. The green mist, the less than subtle dialogue, it all emphasized Chrisitanity, too much. The only thing they got right was Aslan's "other name." That was wonderfully executed.

What do you think? Do you think future films should work extra hard to get the message through? Or should the movies just follow the books and keep it subtle?
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby D-T » Sep 28, 2011 6:06 pm

I'm not sure about that, since it is a CHRISTIAN series after all. I thought that the two other movies lacked christianity. but, if Walden only did it
so people would not complain about it lacking christianity, then it was pointless. however if they did it because they wanted to get the biblical
message across then it is fine with me. you can never put too much of God or Jesus in anything :)
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Sep 28, 2011 8:05 pm

D-T, Lewis breathed his faith naturally through his writings, but many Christians didn't and don't and the result is something more akin to a sermon. Now that's annoying and poor craftsmenship.

PuddleCheep, I have to disagree with you. I believe VDT was heavy on exposition, yes but that the movie was largely contrary to the spirit and values explored in Lewis' books. In most ways VDT was very Anti-Christian.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Anhun » Sep 28, 2011 8:31 pm

I didn't think the "Christianity" was too much, but too caricatured.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Narnian_Archer » Sep 29, 2011 12:01 am

Agreed, Warrior 4 Jesus

PuddleCheep, I'm afraid I disagree with you on this one. I really don't think the green mist had anything to do with emphasizing Christian themes. (I'm a Christian too, by the way). Douglas Gresham said in an interview that the green mist was designed to give evil a concrete form -because in its two predecessors, LWW and PC, "evil" had been in the concrete form of a witch. (at least, in theory.) Here, there was no concrete form, so they invented one. I believe it was mainly a marketing decision - trying the make the movie similar to its predecessors as well as following certain "canons" for a fantasy movie so it would sell good. The problem is that VDT is NOT a "typical" fantasy movie - it has its own meaning and depth. The whole POINT of the book is that the characters are NOT fighting a certain evil, but it is a JOURNEY. The problem with VDT was that they tried to make it fit their own understanding of how a movie should be instead of following the book, capturing the spirit, and taking the risk of trying something new instead of reverting to something as typical and already downright boring as what they thought up.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Glumpuddle » Sep 29, 2011 8:53 am

Walden actively trying to protect the Christian themes of the book ended up becoming a huge problem.

Example: The screenwriters wanted Eustace to earn back his humanity. Flaherty "set them straight" and started preaching a sermon about grace. Basically, the screenwriters thought they had a way to make the story better, and Flaherty said "no you can't do that, because it's not grace."

What Flaherty should have said is "No, it's a much more interesting character turn if prideful Eustace, maybe for the first time in his life, has to life down and admit he can't do something." If he'd said that, maybe the screenwriters would have tried to come up with ways to emphasize the power of that for the scene.

As it is, the undragoning is flat and lifeless. It does not look like there was agreement among the filmmakers on what that scene was truly about. I think that is the case for the entire movie actually. Almost every scene is a compromise between three or four different views.... unlike the first two films where Adamson had a single vision, and everyone rallied around him.

They shouldn't be including Christian themes because they're Christian themes. They should be including them because they really do work for the story. Eustace is a prideful stuck-up know-it-all, and then he is forced to life down and admit he can't help himself... You don't have to be a theology professor to see that's powerful characterization.

I really hate talking about the "Christian themes" as if they are some kind of separate element. It makes the book seem really shallow. Aslan's death isn't powerful because "oh yeah, it's kinda like Jesus." *facepalm* Aslan's death is powerful because Narnia's only hope (who we thought was invincible) is brutally killed.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 30, 2011 7:40 pm

You've hit the nail on the head, glumPuddle. :ymapplause:

glumPuddle wrote:What Flaherty should have said is "No, it's a much more interesting character turn if prideful Eustace, maybe for the first time in his life, has to life down and admit he can't do something." If he'd said that, maybe the screenwriters would have tried to come up with ways to emphasize the power of that for the scene. As it is, the undragoning is flat and lifeless. It does not look like there was agreement among the filmmakers on what that scene was truly about....Almost every scene is a compromise between three or four different views....


I wouldn't have said that it was 'almost every scene'. But I do think that even a few clarifying words of dialogue, even the one word 'help!' would have emphasized that Eustace was really despairing of his situation. A bit more vigorous self- scratching as well, I thought. I felt so disappointed that even after the movie was released that people were still insisting that Eustace had earned his undragonning, not that he had been at the end of his tether, having been wounded by Rhoop's sword (and unfair comments).

When I thought about it, I think that the scriptwriters deliberately left the scene vague so that viewers could believe what they liked, not wanting to buy into a theological argument this way or that. Maybe you are right: a different approach might have got a better result. And I do agree that maybe the VDT script had too many cooks spoiling the broth, with none of them agreed about what the scene should be about.

But maybe it would not have mattered what Michael Flaherty said. Even in the book Eustace tries to be a helpful dragon: is that the way the scriptwriters took their reading of Eustace's undragonning, how useful he tried to be, not his being unable to undragon himself? Rather than an anti-Christian film isn't it rather a matter of scriptwriters, being ignorant of the theological implications of the scene, and not wanting to deal with them, do you think?
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Lilygloves » Oct 01, 2011 4:31 pm

PuddleCheep, I suggest you watch glumPuddle's video on the problems with the movie. I think they changed the story so much it took away from the Christian aspects. You can also listen to the NW podcasts because they do address the spiritual aspects of it.
One of the things I noticed is that there is not one single instance where the characters do something significantly wrong when the green mist does not show up. They state that it's "messing with their minds" and tempts them to do wrong things. When they give in to the temptation, it seems as if it's the green mist's fault, similar to the excuse "the devil made me do it". In this case, it seems as if that's really true. This gives the impression that the characters are perfect and wouldn't do anything wrong if not for the green mist. That is obviously not a Christian philosophy because that goes along the lines that "man is basically good and does bad things". Christians believe that "man is basically evil and does good things" because of our sin nature. If you look at the other books, Edmund betrays his family on his own (they didn't even mention the enchantment of the turkish delight in the movie which puts the blame entirely on Edmund instead of partially on him like in the book). Lucy herself doesn't follow Aslan at first in PC. They all do bad things but Aslan redeems them, but that gets taken away in the VDT movie because of the green mist.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby StarAsterisk » Oct 29, 2011 5:10 pm

As for my humble opinion, there is not such thing as too much Christianity. The more Christianity there are in films the better off the world will be. :)
I do however believe that it's better to show things than tell them, and Christian themes and messages are better displayed if they're not in-your-face blatant.

I think that they should keep it subtle to the viewer, but make sure they get the message through in the most powerful way. But the most powerful way does NOT mean coming right out and saying it.

(And Aslan's "other name," as you said PuddleCheep WAS excellent! :D)
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby narnialuver » Nov 07, 2011 12:44 pm

I don't think that there is too much Christianity in anything. I think that if Waldon wants Christianity in it they should put it in. But as StarAsterisk said they should show it not tell it.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby JesusLives » Nov 30, 2011 9:45 am

That's a good question. I do think the films should work hard to get the message through! I think it's good to have good messages in movies such as that. :)
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Evelyn » Dec 15, 2011 9:57 am

I think by trying to emphisize the "Christian themes" of the book, the film makers almost blew the whole movie! If they would have simply followed the general plot and charactor archs of the book, they wouldn't have had to emphisize the "Christian" stuff. Personally, a lot of the stuff they added (and I don't know if they thought these are Christian principles or not) like "Be yourself" and "extrodanary things happen to extrodanary people" made me gag! None of the Christian elements in LWW or even PC were overdone like that- they simply left them how Lewis wrote them and guess what? They worked! Because, like glumPuddle said, they're just a part of the story.

I think they tried too hard! (sorry about any spelling errors. :ymblushing: )
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Pepper » Dec 16, 2011 1:41 pm

Those two lines made you gag not because they are overdone Christian elements. They are feel-good new-agey positive-thinking stuff added by scriptwriters who obviously didn't "get" the meaning of the story.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby Lilygloves » Dec 18, 2011 1:19 pm

Warrior 4 Jesus wrote:PuddleCheep, I have to disagree with you. I believe VDT was heavy on exposition, yes but that the movie was largely contrary to the spirit and values explored in Lewis' books. In most ways VDT was very Anti-Christian.


I agree, I think it had the opposite of the themes of VDT. For one thing, it seemed as though Eustace had to earn his undragoning. It wasn't the painful, growth experience he had in the book and that watered down the Christian messages I find in that passage of the book. I can see so many themes in VDT that I read in the book, some of which I have just noticed recently. (this is true for all the Narnia books. Lewis did a wonderful job at turning deep, complex messages into something even children can read and grasp.) I just don't see the same themes in the movie; in fact I see themes that I think go against Christianity. It seemed very humanistic to me.
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby RoseRed » Dec 28, 2011 3:21 pm

GlumPuddle...you'e hit the nail on the head! I had a total lightbulb moment whilst reading your first post- too many cooks spoil the broth! THAT is the problem that I have with VotDT! Up till now I hadn't been quite sure where hte problems came from, but you're right, it was unfocused. You could tell that there where many differnet viewpoints battling it out...and I think in the end the story lost. :(
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Re: Too Much Christianity

Postby LUCYOFMIDDLEEARTH » Jun 20, 2012 5:01 am

Is there such thing as too much christianity? And if there is, how is that a bad thing????? :(
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