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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
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Most Christians know Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) as the foremost twentieth-century "apologist," or defender of the faith, and the writer of The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity. To those outside the church, C. S. Lewis is best known as the writer of the fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. The series began in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It continued with six more books and has sold ninety-five million copies in forty-one languages. A trip to a local bookstore will show that the books are still hot sellers. The film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been no less popular. Within three months of its release in December 2005, it became the highest-grossing live-action Disney film, and the second in the series, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", is currently in the works.

In Narnia, the four Pevensie children--Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter--discover what lies beyond the wardrobe in the professor's house in which they're staying during World War II: the magical world of Narnia with talking beasts and mythological creatures. There they meet the Great Lion, Aslan, who rules Narnia, as well as Jadis, the evil White Witch, who has cursed Narnia. They discover their calling as kings and queens who restore justice to Narnia.

The film is remarkably accurate to the book in keeping its theological allusions without becoming an overt "Christian film." Therefore, both believers and nonbelievers can enjoy the film, and both will find different reasons to like it--some will see a story with strong moral elements, some will simply be entertained by its suspense (and its amazing computer-generated characters and battle scenes), and others will see profound reflections in key themes of the Christian faith.

Gregory S. Cootsona is Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship and College Ministries at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico, California. He formerly served as Associate Pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.

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