Here’s an interesting thing: Disney are having trouble pitching the new Narnia film’s soundtrack/s because of the religious content of the movie. They’ve released a Christian soundtrack, but they may release another one too, to try and not put off whole sections of the market.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis are roughly based on Christian stories and morality, and Disney has been trying its hardest to capitalise on the religious market that did so well for Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ. They’ve been marketing hard at Christians, showing trailers at Christian conventions and suchlike, and have released a soundtrack album for the film of songs ‘inspired by’ the story, all by Christian performers and treating the material from a Christian perspective. The problem that they’re facing is that they don’t want to turn off the secular (non-religous) parts of society from buying the music and watching the film. Equally they’re scared that Disney might become seen as a Christian-film maker (although after The Lion King I’m amazed they’re not already). Disney is hoping to release a non-Christian soundtrack album too, but currently isn’t sure if it’s going to manage this because music for the film hasn’t been fully settled on yet.
I find this a little weird. I don’t think I’ve heard of a soundtrack album being released targetted specifically at a group based on its religion before. Is this something we’re going to see more of in the future: I’d love to see the ‘Blade 4: The Christian Rock Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’, featuring songs about the Christian metaphor of a man with supernatural powers, born from death and to deliver humanity from evil. How about having whole different soundtrack options on films, so you’d have one version of the film with the secular soundtrack, and another one with Christian folk singers chirping uplifting ballads between actors’ lines?
But why stop there? ‘Lord of the Rings: The Bollywood Edition’ would be great. You could do a George Lucas style remake of the film’s special effects, having Gollum dance on, twirling his wrists, and sing in Hindi about the need for understanding of the balance between the physical incarnation of the body and spiritual fulfillment.
Should Christians be insulted that their religion is now just a marketing tool? Or are they expected to simply enjoy the idea of celebrating Christ through their consumer choices? It all smacks of buying redemption to me. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that people have tried to buy their way into heaven (the medieval church became massively rich selling pardons) but it’s certainly an interesting manifestation of late-stage capitalism’s interpretation of religion’s position in society.
More (in a slightly more serious tone) here.