I took my wife and three oldest kids to go see “Prince Caspian” over the weekend. On the way back home, my wife said, “wow, that was like a Mormon movie.” And my kids nodded their heads.
How, you may ask? Well, for Family Home Evening we counted the ways.
First, a quick plot summary. SPOILERS BELOW. The Pevensie foursome (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) have been away from Narnia for a year. They are having problems adjusting to life in England again when they are whisked back to Narnia. They have been called there by Prince Caspian, who has blown Susan’s horn, which magically calls them back to this fantasy world with dwarves, elves and talking animals. Prince Caspian’s uncle is planning on usurping the throne from Caspian, a mostly good guy. The evil White Witch briefly returns. There is an epic battle scene and plenty of fighting and simulated violence. But Aslan helps good triumph in the end.
Here are some of the unwitting “Mormon themes” we spotted in the movie.
1)We were fascinated to note that while a year had only passed in England, about 1300 years had passed in Narnia. During this time, the Narnians had mostly forgotten about Aslan (a talking lion who is a Christ symbol). The story of Narnia was mostly a legend passed down by a few loyal people including an older professor who keeps and collects ancient records (?!). So, Narnia had entered a long, dark period of apostasy in which only a few people remembered the truth about Aslan.
2)A horn is blown (think Moroni on the temples) bringing the end of the period of apostasy and ushering in a new era in which Aslan again gathers the good people to fight evil.
3)The leader of the good people is a young man (Prince Caspian).
4)The youngest character, Lucy, has a vision in which she says she sees Aslan in the woods, but nobody believes her.
5)The person who brings the “keys” to the kingdom is a person of legendary power from 1300 years earlier, and his name is Peter (!?).
6)The good people gather at an ancient temple that has catacombs and tunnels in which the ancient stories are kept guarded, as well as ancient keepsakes like the table on which Aslan was sacrificed. The temple looks very much like an ancient Mayan temple covered with foilage.
7)Before the leader faces the last battle, he is tempted by the White Witch (a Satanic character). He overcomes the temptation with the help of Peter, who then faces temptation himself. (I found it fascinating that the character who ends up destroying the White Witch this time is Edmund, who was tempted by her in the first story).
8)The Earth is very much a living “intelligence” in Narnia. The trees and the rivers are alive and respond to Aslan’s call.
9)The people of Narnia, the primary people of Aslan, are known as “peculiar” for their beliefs and abilities. (Think of the description of the Saints as “peculiar people”).
10)Faith is a constant theme in this movie — the good people are completely outnumbered, but they have faith that Aslan (Christ) will save them in the end if they do what they are supposed to do and have courage. And Aslan does save them in the end — miraculously. As long as they are righteous, the Lord will protect them.
11)This is not necessarily a Mormon theme, more a plain Biblical one, but I loved the last scene in which the bad army is crossing the river, and Aslan calls the river to rise up and drown most of the evil army. The river takes a form that looks a lot like an ancient prophet or even like Jesus Himself.
Note to the humorless: I am not saying that C.S. Lewis or the screenwriters or the director are Mormon or were inspired by Mormon history. Instead, I am simply pointing out some interesting parallels. Some of these parallels may be pure accident — others may be universal themes that often take place in epic movies like this. I would like to point out, however, that C.S. Lewis is, for me, the non-Mormon Christian writer who has themes that are most likely to harmonize with Mormon theology.