Friday, December 23, 2005

On Christians And Lions

The office is closed on the Eve of Christmas Eve, and a bunch of us are going to the movies instead of working. Based on the reactions of "those in the know," I'm banking that the Chronicles of Narnia will be pretty good.

Christians seem to really be excited about this movie, largely because Disney has spent big bucks making sure that we know about it, are talking about it, and - most importantly - spending our money on it.

This excitement is easily generated because of the message C.S. Lewis incorporated into the story: Aslan, the talking lion, gives his life in substitution for another, resurrects from the dead, and as a result, saves the world.

I have no doubt that the parallel was intentional, but I just don't get as excited as some do about the hidden gospel in movies. Some people seem to be able to find Jesus in every movie, which is an extremely annoying habit when they tell me about it. "Did you get that Darth Vader is a picture of the antichrist? And Obi-wan Kenobi is a typology of the Holy Spirit!"

"This movie would be a great witnessing tool," they assert. "It's a great illustration of God's love, Jesus' sacrifice, miraculous intervention, etc. "

I personally don't see the point. I kinda think that the gospel is a great witnessing tool on its own.

If you don't see or understand the allegory of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," numerous books have been written on the gospel message to be found in it. I don't want to belabor the point here. Especially since I find that my thoughts this morning are drifting elsewhere.

What I'm actually thinking about is that it seems to me I've seen lots of talking lions in the movies.

(You've just come to the realization that I am a simple man. Good. Now we're getting somewhere.)

There's definitely been a bunch (or more accurately, a pride). I'm pretty sure I can come up with quite a few, just off the top of my head. And so, my noble pursuit today is to try and come up with a list. ("Noble" was a feeble attempt at a lion pun. That was the mane reason I used the word. No doubt you're roaring with laughter. Now back to the list...)

I've already mentioned Aslan, the mysterious and powerful character in Narnia.

And of course there's the gimmee: The Lion King. This movie featured lots of talking lions: Nala, Simba, King Mufasa, Queen Sarabi, Sarafina, and Scar. (Lest you think I'm some sort of obsessive freak, I used the Internet Movie Database for three of those six names.) (Then again, in defense of my obsessive freakiness, I just noticed that "Nala" is "Aslan" spelled backwards with the "S" removed. Maybe this is intentional, but "Nalsa" sounded too much like Mexican dip.)

The Wizard of Oz's Cowardly Lion spoke, albeit in an annoying Yogi Bear sort of way. (Say, "Put 'em up" and "Mister Ranger, sir" in the same voice. You'll see what I'm talking about.)

Prince John was a talking lion in Robin Hood. I remember having a crush on Maid Marian after seeing this movie. (Keep in mind it was 1973 and I was five - even taken individually, those are two valid excuses for falling in love with a cartoon character.)

I believe King Richard also showed up in that movie as a lion. At very least, he would have been lion-hearted, so I think that counts.

This is where things begin to break down for me. I thought I remembered a lion in "The Jungle Book," but it was a false alarm. Through drawn almost identically to Robin Hood's Prince John, Shere Khan was a tiger. And the guy in "Beauty and the Beast" resides in my brain as a lion, but he's just... well, a beast.

I enjoyed "Secondhand Lions" quite a bit, but the movie's one lion didn't actually talk. She could barely roar.

So this isn't going very well at all. Suddenly, my huge list hasn't materialized, and I now seem to be at a total loss.

Since there wasn't much participation in the Christmas Wish List contest (translation: zero entries as of this writing), may I propose another venture? (Don't worry, this one's free - no purchase necessary.) Tell me what other talking lions you can think of. If none come to mind, then I'll accept entries of any large jungle cats in general, just so long as they have speaking parts.

There's no prize for this one, other than the obvious: The twisted sense of self-satisfaction you'll get from outdoing me.


At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does snagglepuss count? he was a lion, even if not in movies.
heavens to murgatroid! exit, stage left!

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hehe... wow, that's a very interesting post.

I really like your blog and all the writing on it.... it makes me sort of happy.

At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about movies with talking lions, and I think I remember one. "Bed Knobs and Broomsticks." Wasn't the king in the cartoon world (It was a Julie Andrews flick) a talking lion? Oh, and I'm guessing that "Madagascar" counts, right?

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mum as a kid loved a show called Kimba the Lion.. the lion talked in that one.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite large, talking jungle cats is the pre-historic Diago in Ice Age. He is truly a funny guy. There are a lot of tigers I can think of. Tony the cereal spoksman. I haven't seen him in awhile. More people eating Oatmeal, Frosted Flakes are out. Also the black panther, Bagiera in the Jungle Book. The bad man eating tiger in the movies name escapes me. Have a great day.

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Edna said...

What about semba in the Lion King?


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