Flying back home after a week in Washington D.C., the United flight attendants announced that the in-flight movie would be The Chronicles of Narnia. Having had a vague desire to see it when it came out, I put down my French poem to plug in the earphones and watch it. I had good expectations, hearing it was well done from friends and recalling the story I read in…third grade? But I far from enjoyed it. The thing that got me the total flatness of the whole production.
Good vs. evil dominated the movie. That’s cool, nothing new, you know the same old theme. But what amazed me was the almost-comical distinction between the two. You could tell who was going to be in the scene based on the color of the sky (Quick guide: gray→evil; blue→good). Everyone was on one side or the other. No one was ever tempted to switch sides. When
Peter happened upon them by mistake, it was just a mistake. The reason he fraternized with the bad guys was ignorance; he didn’t know any better! As soon as he was enlightened as to the proper path, he was with the good guys.
Race was also scarily well-defined. The wolves were with, you guessed it, the bad guys. The beautiful centaurs: good. All of the pretty beasts were good, all of the ugly were evil. You’ve got one eye? Hmmm, that makes you…evil! There weren’t any cross-overs, mixed allegiances, nothing. Your beliefs are defined right along with the sleekness of your fur. Disgusting.
At least in works like The Lord of the Rings, evil can be tempting. The most important characters are constantly on the edge between good and evil. Their actions are unpredictable. But here, not so. Even when any of the good guys die or get injured, they’re back again in the next scene. Lame.
Now, to address the question you’re all asking (indeed, one that I asked myself after I saw it). Why can’t I just sit back and enjoy a simple children’s movie? Simply put, I can’t stand the messages it’s sending. The whole Us vs. Them thing. The way you look dictating your allegiances. The absolute purity of the good side. This kind of message develops uncooperative, uncompromising attitudes in children. You’re always right and good, so the other guys can go to hell. These scary attitudes are what have this nation on constant edge with our neighbors.
Meh, what should I have expected from Disney anyway?