Sunday, 29 June 2008

Prince Caspian

Anybody else just a teeny bit bothered about all the enthusiasm for this as an evangelistic / apologetic opportunity? As a film it's OK (ish). As a Christian allegory though it offers us a rather violent (and racist) vision of The Faith.


tim f said...

Glen - is your claim simply that Disney incorporate racism into their films by their casting choices (or animation choices in the case of Aladdin etc), or the wider claim that the book itself is a racist allegory?

Glen Marshall said...

Tim - not sure I can remember the original books well enough to answer, though I suspect it's down to Lewis. Sadly typical of the era to depict the enemy as exotically cultured and differently coloured. (cf Tolkein's Southrons). Incidently, if I remember correctly, Disney don't produce the Narnia films, they are just the distributors.

tim f said...

I had a look at the book and there's no reference to the race or colour of the Telmarines. Their origins are from the human world - they were pirates shipwrecked on an island who found themselves transported into Narnia. As such, they were likely to be a mixture of races. That doesn't really explain why (from what I'm told) all the Telmarines in the film are Middle Eastern or Spanish apart from, oddly, Caspian.

The only area where race really gets a mention is in the difference between the human race and other races. It's one of the villains of the piece, Nikabrik the dwarf, who has a go at half-dwarves and wants to kill all humans, even to the extent of trying to summon up the White Witch.

However, there is one bit that could be said to justify a limited form of colonialism where Trufflehunter, the talking badger, suggests that it is better for Narnia to be run by a son of Adam, although with full autonomy for the talking beasts. I don't know Lewis' views on colonialism but given the time he was around, I imagine he was prone to the view that some colonialism was bad and some was good, rather than outright opposition.

Generally speaking I think Tolkien was a lot worse on these issues than Lewis, and yet Peter Jackson managed to largely eliminate them from his film rendering, so it's unclear why the makers of this film couldn't have done the same thing.

I understand Disney made certain demands on the director during the film-making process as part of their contract, so they didn't only distribute it. On the other hand, I imagine racism wasn't an explicit demand as such.

Glen Marshall said...



Does this mean that you now qualify as my research assitant?

Caspian in the film is deffinitely Spanishy - like younger Antonio Banderas.

Re Disney and explicity request to be Racist - you never know.