Monday, November 08, 2004


narnia's name tarnished

i was saddened to see this article in ENS (environmental news service) this morning (text below). the chronicles of narnia are sacred to me. ( sacred as anything can get in my cynical, anti-spiritualization worldview.) c.s. lewis revealed an incredible and beautiful interpretation of the relationships between god, nature, and religion in this series of books.

it was jarring to read this article, and i'm disgusted that someone who is embarking on a significant and potentially influencial retelling of the story could be so disrespectful of the land he's working with.

Fantasy Film Cuts Real Scars in New Zealand Natural Area
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, November 8, 2004 (ENS) - Film production in New Zealand began in June on "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," the C.S. Lewis story, but it is running into an environmental roadblock. The country's largest environmental group is objecting to the wide roads the producers are cutting through the pristine scenic area on the South Island where the film is shooting.

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand is concerned that five meter (16 foot) wide new roads with substantial earthworks have been constructed through an outstanding natural landscape in the Southern Alps, on Flock Hill Station adjacent to the scenic Arthurs Pass Highway corridor...

The live action film is being produced by Walden Media and directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson, who directed the animated films Shrek and Shrek 2. It is scheduled to be released in time for Christmas 2005, by Walt Disney Pictures.

The story of four young people who find their way through an old wardrobe into the world of Narnia has been beloved by children and adults alike for decades. Once in Narnia, they unite with the lion Aslan to fight the White Witch and save Narnia from perpetual darkness.

But Forest and Bird says the production is bringing the darkness of environmental harm with it and will leave a damaged landscape when filming is finished.

Lockwood said it is doubtful whether the new roads were needed at all. A good existing four wheel drive track provided access to the area which, along with helicopters, may have provided adequate access.

“Imagine the damage to many of our most beautiful and iconic landscapes if the producers of “The Lord of the Rings” had been allowed to build new five meter wide roads into each location,” he said.

“Peter Jackson seems to have had a much greater appreciation of the value of our landscapes," he said. "It’s a pity that the Selywn District Council, New Zealand director Andrew Adamson and the Walt Disney Studios and Walden Media don’t appear to share that appreciation.”

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