For all their talk of staying true to the spirit of C. S. Lewis’s novels, the makers of the Narnia films have frequently deviated from the books in ways both big and small, and the liberties they take with Prince Caspian — which echo but go far, far beyond the liberties they took with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — both help the film and hurt it. They help because you can sense that co-writer and director Andrew Adamson is finally making the big epic fantasy battle movie that he really wanted to make the first time around, and his devotion to that vision holds Prince Caspian together and makes it a more consistent, and consistently entertaining, sort of film than Wardrobe was. But in steering the film closer to his own vision, Adamson steers it away from Lewis’s, and so it loses some of the book’s core spiritual themes.
Last night I finally got around to watching Richard Lester’s version of The Three Musketeers (1973) with my friend Magnus, to use his nom de blog, and it was definitely a hoot — but the biggest laugh probably came when we watched the trailer:
Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.
The funny thing is, if you’ve seen the film, then you know that the guy played by Joss Ackland — i.e. the guy who happens to be kissing Michael York when the announcer says “Romance!” — is not just any old guy. Ackland is actually playing York’s father!
My review of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is now up at CT Movies. For a little more background on the paragraph where I talk about C.S. Lewis’s approach to pre-Christian paganism versus post-Christian modernity, see my three-year-old posts on the astrology of Narnia and the paganism of Narnia.
For months, there has been speculation that John Hurt may be playing Abner Ravenwood, the father of Indy’s erstwhile girlfriend Marion Ravenwood, in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which comes to theatres next week Thursday. The filmmakers, on the other hand, have been keeping his character’s identity secret. But the cat may have been let out of the bag now — and with the filmmakers’ approval. So, dear reader, if you do not want to know the answer to this question just yet, do not — I repeat, do not — check out the bonus features on the new “special edition” of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) that came out today. Or at least not the ‘Indiana Jones: An Appreciation’ featurette.
Two years ago, I interviewed Cory Edwards, the writer-director of Hoodwinked! (2005; my review), and in that interview, he talked about how he tried to overcome the budget limitations on his animated film by employing the same “fakey” but “charming” aesthetic that Jim Henson had used for Kermit the Frog. So I wasn’t that surprised to read in Variety tonight that Edwards is bringing another of Henson’s old creations to the big screen:
The Weinstein Co. will turn the Jim Henson series “Fraggle Rock” into a live-action musical feature.
Cory Edwards, who directed the animated “Hoodwinked!” for TWC, will helm the picture and write the screenplay. The Jim Henson Co. will produce and TWC will distribute. . . .
The deal furthers the relationship between TWC and the “Hoodwinked!” creative team. Edwards is reteaming with “Hoodwinked!” co-writer Tony Leech on the animated alien adventure “Escape From Planet Earth,” on which Leech is making his directing debut.
Edwards is separately developing a live-action feature adaptation of Cedar Fair’s Halloween Haunt franchise, designed to be shot in 3-D by Kerner Optical and produced by Davis Entertainment, Dave Phillips and Tracey Edmonds. That pic is looking for a backer. . . .
This news comes only two months after it was announced that Jason Segel, the writer-star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, will be developing a big-screen revival of the Muppets themselves. Edwards and Segel couldn’t be more different in terms of their approach to comedy — at least where family-friendliness is concerned — but their work does suggest a strong, shared affinity for the works of Henson etc. It could be interesting to see them share a panel discussing the subject, or something like that.
UPDATE: Cory Edwards comments at his personal blog.