The Washington Times - January 30, 2009, 08:44PM

This week we got the news that the the hapless seven-part Narnia film series got a last-minute reprieve from Twentieth Century Fox after being dropped by Disney a few weeks ago. But all is not as it seems even though for the short term, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” — the next film in the series — is back on. Read some of the comments to this article on what went wrong with the second film, “Prince Caspian.”  

Better still, read this essay from by Mark Joseph, author, producer and all-around L.A. entrepreneur who says that “Dawn Treader” may have within it the seeds of its own destruction unless vital changes are made. The first is that the director, Michael Apted, needs to be dumped. He is hostile to films with a religious message and one wonders why he agreed to do “Dawn Treader” unless he wants to ruin it from the inside. It’s been done before. I know there are evangelical Christian film directors and producers lurking around Hollywood. Why aren’t they tapped? Like Mr. Joseph points out, would a person who hated homosexuals be allowed anywhere near the film “Milk”? Then why the weirdness among some of the folks in charge of the Narnia films. I mean, some of us are still shaking our heads over one of the former directors, Andrew Adamson, and how he tried to downplay and mock his missionary parents upbringing during interviews. 


Mr. Joseph also doesn’t have the kindest words for “Caspian” producer Mark Johnson either. In fact, the whole cast of characters associated with the first two Narnia films, starting with the blockbuster “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” definitely seemed ashamed of their Christian content. Yet, if future films water down that Christian content like “Caspian” did, it’s sayonara to any backing from the religious community.

Anyway, say some prayers for “Dawn Treader.” It will need them.

- Julia Duin, religion editor