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BY Mark Shea
When you let them say things that professional writers have not prepared for them, they wind up blathering stuff like this:C. S. Lewis was clear that the character of Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia is based on Christ.
But actor Liam Neeson, who voices the lion in the latest Narnia film, has prompted a row after claiming his character is also based on other religious leaders such as Mohammed and Buddha.
Actors are people who have a knack for a) memorizing things and b) presenting a simulacrum of human emotion so that you believe them when they say the things other people prepare for them to recite. Sometimes they are able to do other things as well. But when they go off script, do remember that you are listening to the reflections of somebody who has spent most of their waking life chasing after chances to do a and b, not somebody who has spent a lot of time learning about Christ, Mohammed or Buddha. All Neeson really means is, “Fellow members of the Chattering Classes: I am one of you. Do not ostracize me for doing something popular with despised and unpopular Christians, whom all right-thinking people treat as social lepers. I will now say something blindly multicultural and indifferentist to establish my bona fides. Come, let us eat wine and cheese together and make things as they always were.”
The Narnia films are minor cash cows that studios are milking for what they can get, but the shame and disgust the filmmakers feel as they lower themselves to touch this material is palpable. Each and every film has been haloed with efforts by the filmmakers and cast to keep as far away as possible from acknowledging the obvious Christianity of both the author and the stories. This is simply one more instance of that. I both look forward to and dread Steve Greydanus’ review. I may go see it, but the grotesque miscasting of Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep is already a huge dissuasion. I’ll wait for the reviews before I decide.