Let’s be honest: these last two weeks of the quarter are generally spent waist-deep in mind-sucking stress that is the result of your procrastination throughout the quarter. Well, this is my case at least, and all I know is that I’m going to need a break to blow off some steam; but how?

ASP Films has us all covered on this one. Their suggestion: save a couple hours next week to watch the exploits of a messiah in the form of a lion or a pubescent boy fighting a dragon.

If this offer doesn’t appeal to you, you’re probably not one of the millions that camped out at Harry Potter movies or were decked out in a lion’s mane when viewing “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Regardless of your vested interest in loving or hating these films, their entertainment value is undeniable; even if you find glee in just going to poke fun at the people who are far too enamored with Harry Potter.

After having friend after friend fall to the seductive powers of Harry Potter fanship, I began to wonder what the source of the HP occult phenomenon is. Ian Chant, co-coordinator for ASP Films, said that he wasn’t entirely sure why the fan base started, but did remark that, “It has turned into kind of a Trekkie thing.”

One thing is certain, J.K. Rowling’s books birthed some pretty impressive hype. Chant said that he was first introduced to the series through the films, but that he enjoys the books; “They’re fun, they’re a fast read and you enjoy all the characters. It allows you to take something silly really really seriously and not feel bad about it.”

The films that have been made from the books have also generated a ton of interest--and money: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” grossed nearly $285 million at the box office according to USA Today.

Kit Bowen of Hollywood.com had the following to say about the most recent installment of the Harry Potter series; “The exhilarating Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire takes the best parts of J.K. Rowling’s fourth installment and serves them up in one heck of an action-packed, albeit darker, film. Parents, be forewarned–this isn’t kid’s stuff anymore.”

Not only is the addition of darker elements to the Harry Potter series effectively making the books and films grow up, the kid actors who star in the films are looking less and less childish themselves. I am thrilled to see the actors move through their real-life awkward stages on film.

The other film that will be shown during dead week is “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The unleashing of this film on movie goers everywhere was met late last in 2005 with joy from fans and intense accusations of Lewis incorporating too much Christianity in the story.

According to The New Yorker, Lewis was converted to orthodox Christian thinking by the famous “Lord of the Rings” author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The same source found that Lewis was “drawn in by the likeness of the Christian revelation to pagan myth.” Echoes of pagan myths, as well as strong Christian allegories, are found throughout Lewis’ Narnia books.

A famous example of the integrated allegories is the lion character Aslan, the lion that was a messiah figure, due partially to his death and concurrent rebirth in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Lewis has caught quite a bit of flack for his assimilation of Christian allegories in these children’s books. Author Philip Pullman, who wrote the “His Dark Materials” trilogy has been quotes as saying “I hate the Narnia books…with a passion.”
Interestingly enough, the very man who converted Lewis “hated the Narnia books,” according to Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker. “[Tolkien] hated to see an imagination constrained by the allegorical impulse.”

Despite the attack on Lewis’ books, the popularity of them is still undeniable. Some say that the stories are too rich with beautiful imagery and fantastical creatures to pass up for a simple disagreement in theology. People I’ve offhandedly talked to said that they just enjoy sharing the books with their children just for the stories that they contain.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” will be showing on Tuesday, March 7 and Wednesday March 8 at 5 and 8 p.m. in VU 552 for $2. “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” will be showing Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11, at 8 and 11 p.m. in VU 552 for $2.

Can’t decide which film to see? Chant offered up the following prediction to who would win in a fight between Aslan and Dumbledore, if that makes any particular difference to you: “Totally Dumbledore. Eh, come on, Aslan’s just a lion, sure he’s a messiah and all, but between a messiah and a wizard, I’m taking wizard. Plus, since Aslan’s a messiah, you know that he’s going to die at one point.”

For more information contact the ASP Films office at 650-6130.