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Narnia - where's the damn gore

18/11/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

Buy Chronicles of Narnia in the USA - or Buy Chronicles of Narnia in the UK

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The new Chronicles of Narnia film features a battle with children, minotaurs, polar bears and talking wolves, but no bloodshed.

The US magazine Newsweek has been given an exclusive look at a rough cut of the upcoming film version of C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a PG-rated movie about, and for, families that features a pitched battle with children, Minotaurs, polar bears and talking wolves, but no bloodshed.

But, as Senior Editor Jeff Giles reports in the November 7th issue of Newsweek, Narnia has already been the subject of a strange debate online and in newspapers. Will the movie be too religious for a wide audience? Might it not be religious enough for Lewis's Christian fans? The speculation is understandable, partly because the climax of the tale can be read as an allegory for Jesus' death and resurrection.

The movie opens with a sequence just hinted at in the novel: a swarm of German bombers attack London during World War II, and Mrs. Pevensie packs her children off for the countryside to live under the benign neglect of a mysterious professor (Jim Broadbent). Soon Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy tumble through the wardrobe into Narnia, where it has long been prophesied that two daughters of Eve and two sons of Adam would free Narnia from Jadis's rule and help the noble lion Aslan usher in spring, at the expense of his own death and rebirth. Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) is a magnificent bit of computer animation, whether or not you think he's Jesus, Giles reports.

Director Andrew Adamson was not interested in replicating the often unsettling imagery of The Lord of the Rings. The gentleness of his movie may frustrate some bloodthirsty teenage boys but should appeal to previously disenfranchised folks interested in a more childlike, less operatic style of fantasy, Giles reports.

While no one will jinx the endeavor by making box-office predictions, one source believes that if this first Narnia movie makes $200 million, another installment, based on Prince Caspian, will hit the ground running.

Adamson told Newsweek he's too exhausted to imagine ever directing again, but, asked if he could really let the Pevensie children go - let alone the lovely kids who play them so winningly - he laughs and shakes his head. "That's what's gonna suck me in," he says.

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