This morning, Lady Sterne and I took my seven-year-old daughter, Asala, to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The following dialogue is based on our subsequent conversations about the film. Lady Sterne's part has been combined with my own, so as to steal her best lines.
Tim: Well, that sucked. Poor pacing, mediocre acting, pedestrian direction. What did you think, sweetie?
Asala: I like the lion. He was so fluffy!
T: He was also fat. Lions, especially allegorical lions, are supposed to have barrel chests, but extending it all the way to his groin was a big mistake. He looked like a sanctimonious beer keg on legs.
A: He was so cute! I love him.
T: I didn't hate him as much as I hated everything else in the film, but I still hated him.
A: That's mean!
T: Tell it to Aslan, toots. After all, he is your boyfriend! [Howls obnoxiously.]
A: ... [Scowls.]
T: I think a better film would have been The Lion and the Witch in the Wardrobe. Just Aslan and the witch locked in a wardrobe for two hours. Armed with uzis.
A: ... [Scowls; looks incredulous.]
T: To be honest, I was shocked by how bad it all was. Even leaving aside the dull characters and rehashed fantasy setting, the extempore plotting is risible in the extreme. Frankly, it's a big shit stew.
A: You said that word!
T: What word?
A: The s-word.
A: No. The naughty word!
T: Shit? That's only naughty if you say it.
A: ... [Resumes scowling.]
T: As for the much-vaunted Christian allegory, I was very disappointed. Pretty tame stuff, really, and certainly incomprehensible to those without a religious upbringing.
A: Why did the lady kill the lion? And why did lion come back to life and kill the lady?
T: Well, Aslan is meant to be Jesus, and the allegory demands that he die for somebody's sins, in this case Edmund, who represents fallibility. Then Aslan is reborn, just like Jesus, and tears the witch's face off with his enormous feline jaws - just like Jesus.
A: Daddy, what's a Jesus?
T: See, you are exactly the kind of child C.S. Lewis had in mind. The Narnia books were a stealth assault on secular children, the idea being to plant a particular schema in their heads so that later on, when exposed to the non-allegorical Christian story, they would be more receptive. I bet in fifteen years you will have run off to join a sect of doctrinaire Christians. Any money.
A: I bet I won't.
T: Bet you will.
A and T: Won't!
T: Jinx! You can't talk until I say your name!
T: I suppose the film offers another kind of test for potential Christians. If you can sit through two hours of that crap without wanting to throw up, then church should be a breeze.
A: Daddy, what's for dinner?
T: Lion steaks. Big juicy pieces of Aslan, marinaded in faun droppings then slowly grilled over the burning corpses of the insufferable Pevensie children.
A: Daddy! You're disgusting!