NarniaWith all of the hypeandcontroversy swirling around The Chronicles of Narnia, it's virtually impossible to see it unencumbered by preconceptions. Thus, it was undoubtedly with a big bag of assorted expectations that Newsweek's Jeff Giles attended a screening of the movie's rough cut earlier this week. While Giles' article is disappointingly light on specific details about the film, he clearly was very impressed, both by the CG work ("Aslan...is a magnificent bit of computer animation, whether or not you think he's Jesus") and by the film's refreshing ability to be both harrowing and blood-free. "[It] features a pitched battle with children, Minotaurs, polar bears and talking wolves, but no bloodshed...[and] understands the pulse-quickening value of peril and betrayal...".

With regard to the elephant in the room - the question of the film's religiosity - Giles offers reassurance, calling the movie "only as Christian as you want it to be." And, until December 9, we're just going to have to take his word for it.