By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Dawn Treader: A Gentle Delight

Very large picture of stern of Dawn Treader, D...Image by David Jackmanson via Flickr
The recently released film version of C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is in fact quite delightful. It is a gentle movie teaching gentle truths, as the original book does. Here are some thoughts on the movie:

1. Step back a moment and ponder this: here is a clearly Christian allegory being shown around the nation, a film that is likely to pull in many non-Christians as part of the movie-going audience. Aslan is, of course, none other than Jesus. Who else in world history could fit the bill of someone who voluntary faces execution to make up for the grave transgressions and betrayals of another and then rises from the dead? The name by which Aslan is known in our world can only be that of Jesus. No other founder or prophet of any other religious tradition fits the bill. The movie cannot pass as a non-Christian story--its Christian DNA is too obvious to any familiar with the Narnia series.

2. What struck me the most is the phantom of temptation that will always stalk each of us as long as evil exists. The movie brings that lesson out repeatedly, as I am sure many of you have already noticed. One haunting line is that of the temptation of Edmund by the ghost of the White Witch--she exists in his mind as long as evil exists. We all carry such temptations, but we need not be dominated by them. Therein lies the drama of human life--to rise above our constant temptations of various kinds and be pleasantly surprised by the fruit arising from our choice of the good.

3. Yes, we live in a highly confused Western society in which many have insanely trivialized the most intimate of physical encounters. Yes, we live in a highly confused society where many are blind to abortion as the killing of a human life and instead view the matter solely as one of "sacred" libertarian autonomy at the expense of the helpless and voiceless. Yes, we live in a highly confused society which believes that "anything goes" moral relativism poses no serious dangers.

But the human yearning for good to triumph over evil persists, for kindness to trump the frenzied will to power, exploitation, domination, and possessiveness in all its forms, whether political, ethnic, economic, or sexual. Lewis' story in both its book and film versions reenacts the reality of that yearning for sanity. The seed is there for the sanity to spread. And readers of the Gospel know that even very small seeds can surprise us.