So Qui-Gonn Jinn gets to voice Aslan. Whoop-de-doo.
Look, world, let me put it like this. I read books. I read comics. I listen to radio plays. My mind interprets the words and pictures, and fills in the gaps in interesting ways; often it glosses over bits I’m not interested in or don’t like to think about. I end up with my own picture of the novel.
When you make a movie out of something from my childhood, it feels like you’re /raping/ my imagination. Lord of the Rings, a great movie yes, but now I can no longer imagine Gandalf as anybody but Sir Ian McKellan. Before, he was another character (this I know) my own personal Gandalf, a great bag of skin and bones wrapped up in dirty rags, indistinct like smoke, not defined in my mind. Now he’s an adorably ageing queen with a thing for hobbits, who I’ve seen in close-up a thousand times. He’s perfectly defined, I’ve seen him and his ash-grey cloak from every direction, and it irritates me.
I know I don’t have to go and see these pictures and TV shows. I know I don’t have to watch the series, hire the DVD, download the illegal rip. But cultural and peer pressure (as well as the demands of my job) mean that I must. And every time I do, I lose a little of what the original gave me. I’d rather filmmakers left novels alone and just made original content, appropriate to the medium and original, like City of God, which richly conveys an real enviroment it’s hard to imagine appropriately.
That said, as C.S. Lewis’ books, while in part darker than , carry their veneer of Christianity well. As long as they don’t have fricking Jennifer Saunders doing the overly cutesy voice of Reepacheep (always a nasty little get in my reading of the book) I’ll be happy. They mostly have a strong plot and it’s only the figure of Aslan that’s a problem, simply because he’s unbelievable and boringly unfantasical. The only thing he does that’s fantastical is come back to life, and that’s completely inexplicable in the logic of the story up to that point; it makes everything /safe/, exactly what you don’t want in a series of children’s books. Give me the threatening, dark and sickly Children of Green Knowe any day.