A popular Web site dedicated to spirituality and popular culture is following its extensive coverage of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy with in-depth treatment of C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia."
The set of the upcoming “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Walt Disney).
The Hollywood Jesus Web site began its coverage March 8 in anticipation of the December 2005 release of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe," a theatrical feature from Walden Media based on the first book in Lewis' beloved fantasy series.
Greg Wright, who oversaw Hollywood Jesus' coverage of "Rings," returns as editor of the "Narnia" coverage.
The press release said coverage will approach each of the seven volumes "as an individual installment of an epic children's fantasy, and as Christian allegory."
"We will be asking elemental questions of each of the seven books—What's the basic story? How does it work as literature? What religious significance does Lewis intend?" said the release.
A bonus to the "Narnia" coverage is the Narnia News Blog, which Wright also edits. Wright combs the Web for breaking news about the upcoming adaptation and posts snippets and links to the original stories. Given the amount of media attention the adaptation is already getting, Wright said his digestive work should help folks keep up with the phenomenon—without having to do all of the surfing themselves.
The "Narnia" coverage begins not with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which was the first installment Lewis wrote and in fact the adaptation coming this December. Instead, the gang at Hollywood Jesus is starting with The Magician's Nephew, the sixth one Lewis wrote but the "prequel" to them all.
Wright, who holds degrees in computer science, English literature and theology, spent five years covering Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Rings" stories. If "Narnia" does well on the big screen, Wright could be looking at seven or eight years behind a wardrobe.
He's not convinced that will happen, however, for two reasons.
"Narnia" might be overexposed as a property, Wright said. Whereas "Rings" fans essentially had only the books, "Narnia" followers have had the books, constant plays, an animated version and a BBC production.
"There are a lot of ways to get their Narnia fix," he said.
Wright also cited competition from the Harry Potter franchise as a potential dinger for "Narnia" success. He pointed to a recent survey finding that kids' favorite book to recommend was Harry Potter.
Wright allowed that the "Narnia" adaptations might be successful, but he questioned whether they would be as wildly popular as the "Rings" trilogy.
Wright is joined in the coverage by fellow theologians Jenn Wright, Kathy Bledsoe and George Rosok. Each writer will post a column on the eighth of each month.
This month's coverage finds Greg Wright providing an overview of what's to come, Jenn Wright offering a story synopsis of The Magician's Nephew, Rosok writing about "Magic: Characters and Lands" and Bledsoe showing how the book serves as "A Journey Toward the Creator."
Those who followed Hollywood Jesus' coverage of "Rings" will note that the "Narnia" coverage uses blogging technology for its Web publishing. Wright said the technology helps him better manage the logistics of multiple contributors.
The "Narnia" coverage is also available as an RSS feed.
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.
Hollywood Jesus' "Narnia" coverage is here.
The Narnia News Blog is here.
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