Trouble in Narnia

Usually, NPR stimulates my ears in the morning in order to get me up and out the door for work. Often, it also stimulates my brain and I dash out thinking, “I should write about that”. No time, gotta catch that train.

The case today is one such moment. I heard the NPR film critic review today’s release of “The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian”. The sound bites were filled with the predictable, horn-heavy sword battle type of film score and clashes of metal on metal. Ever notice the choir of women singing indistinct syllables in the background of these scores? They must be the heavenly host, bearing the fallen warriors off to Valhalla or Burbank or someplace.

The reviewer then mentioned that this is all PG fun, and that not a drop of blood was shed.

Excuse me?

I guess that when you’re run through with a sword and die but you don’t bleed, that’s PG fun. But if you’re run through with a sword and blood spatters all over the screen, that’s another story.

Take for example another film I haven’t seen, “The 300”. I’m pretty sure that’s not “PG fun”, and I’m pretty sure my man Mr. Rodriguez didn’t spare the buckets of gore. I’ve seen “Sin City” and “Planet Terror”, so I know what to expect when I’m going to sit down in front of one of Bobby’s films.

But I did see all three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and there are hangings, shootings, swordings (?), broken-bottles-over-the-head, cannibals, and a gargantuan, hungry squid. And a frightening monkey. We laugh and squirm as Ragetti can’t keep his eyeball in his head, a schtick that got tired in the first one. Okay, so it’s PG-13, but still, the idea is fun. Death is a fun loving guy.

Disney has built its empire on scenes of violence without consequence. In every animated feature the Magic Kingdom has ever produced, there’s always been scenes of gratuitous, Punch-and-Judy slapstick between two supporting characters, usually one tall and skinny, the other shorter and plumper, both without the wits to extinguish a candle. The formula extends to the live-action films. It’s a staple, like Cheerios in the kitchen.

We’ve been brought up with this stereotype branded into our thought, the idea of violence without blood or consequence. At least Indiana Jones gets all sweaty, bloody and painful when he gets in a brawl. So, as with the last one, I’ll give this trip to Narnia a skip this time. Kill a few bad guys for me, Peter. In the name of Aslan.

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