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New 'Narnia' Film Reflects Modern Spiritual Battle

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2008 08:23 AM EDT
The second installment of C.S. Lewis’ beloved “Chronicles of Narnia” will be released this week to the silver screen, where once again moviegoers will be exposed to truths about the Christian faith.
In this image released by Disney, actors William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barne (Photo: AP/Disney, Murray Close)

The second installment of C.S. Lewis’ beloved “Chronicles of Narnia” will be released this week to the silver screen, where once again moviegoers will be exposed to truths about the Christian faith.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” opening in theaters May 16, is the follow-up to the 2005 box-office hit “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.”

In “Prince Caspian,” the Pevensie children – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – are magically and mysteriously transported from England back to Narnia to help Caspian regain his throne from his power-hungry uncle, Lord Miraz.

But when the youths return to Narnia, they find that the land and people have greatly changed. While the siblings have only aged a year, 1,300 years have passed in the magical land. The Pevensie’s find that only a small number of Narnians still believe in the story of Aslan – who has not been seen in centuries – the Stone Table, and a time when animals talked.

“We enter a world of skepticism that is very much like our own,” commented Mark Earley, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministry, in a column this week. “Let’s just say that the best-selling books of Miraz’s kingdom could easily have been titled ‘The Aslan Delusion and Aslan is Not Great.’”

The conflict changes this time from a direct good versus evil fight – where Aslan is pitted against the White Witch in the first Narnia story – to a war between followers of the opposing powers. But on a personal level, the characters struggle individually with their faith in the stories about Aslan, including Prince Caspian himself who has never seen the lion.

“Here is something with which Christians today can certainly relate,” Earley observed. “It is one thing to be among the first witnesses who exult in the risen Christ. It is quite another to act out of faith when the stories of His witnesses are so many centuries removed from our world.”

A review by The Associated Press describes “Prince Caspian” as “simultaneously darker and funnier, more substantive and more engaging, more violent and more technically accomplished” than its predecessor.

Although there were some changes to adapt the book’s storyline to the big screen, movie director Andrew Adamson, who made the first Narnia film as well as the wildly successful “Shrek” movies, said he was trying to stay true to the book when he made the film, according to an interview with Christianity Today magazine.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” is the second installment in a seven book series.