Which cat do you like better," I asked my friend, "Aslan or Hobbes?" He hemmed and hawed for a bit, then replied, "Probably Hobbes." He explained that Aslan inspires his faith, but Hobbes—he paused, finding it hard to articulate his appreciation—"I mean, I love who he is to Calvin. He's just, you know; he's just awesome."
If you're a fan of Narnia, comparing Aslan to Hobbes may seem incongruous, if not sacrilegious. After all, Aslan is the Creator and ruler of Narnia, an obvious Christ-figure who sacrifices his life to save the undeserving Edmund. Hobbes is a stuffed tiger with a weakness for tummy rubs. As feline characters go, Aslan is far more serious than Hobbes.
Or so you would think.
With the film release of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia has become a blockbuster franchise with numerous products and corporate tie-ins (McDonald's, General Mills, Virgin Atlantic, Oral-B, and Kodak, to name a few). On NarniaResources.com, a PR site intended to mobilize the church to consume and market the movie (à la The Passion of the Christ), you will encounter on the Frequently Asked Questions page the comforting logic of commercialism:
Q: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a beloved property with millions of fans around the world. How will Disney marketing bring it to life without over commoditizing it?
A: The Walt Disney Company has many treasures within their vaults and is excited to add The Chronicles of Narnia to their legacy. Because of the devoted fan base and the popularity of the property, it makes sense to develop products and merchandise that allow fans to connect with the film on different levels for an immersive ...1
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