Thoughts on future Narnia films

I’m engrossed in editing Auralia’s Colors this weekend, and working on my Top 25 of 2005.

But in the meantime…

Jeffrey,

I think it has been proved that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has enough legs that a sequel will be made and since you have already posed the question of who might direct future films, I think an interesting question to pose to your readers would be which of the remaining books should or will actually be made into movies. At least I would find that discussion interesting. I may do a post on my blog about what I think, which is still being fomulated.

Briefly, though, I think The Horse and His Boy will not be made and perhaps should not to avoid controversy. Prince Caspian is a logical next step, but I do not know if the story will translate well to film and it would be hard to explain the Telmarines which are pretty central to the story. Dawn Treader is episodic and has no clear, film-long conflict to resolve, but is such a good tale. If you left Caspian out though it would be hard to explain the friendship with Caspian and the absence of Peter and Susan. The Silver Chair is one of the stories that I think absolutely should be made into a movie as it is a pretty straightforward adventure story/quest, plus Jill Pole, with an appropriate actress with pluck (kind of like Emma Watson), would be very enjoyable to watch. The Magician’s Nephew would be nice to explain things, but the creation of Narnia I think would be incredibly challenging, and with how the unstoning of statues and the coming of spring were handled in LWW, I don’t know if I would want to subject this chapter to a film treatment. The Last Battle, to be done well, would need to be PG-13. That book is so heavy (until the the glorious end) that it weighs me down. Perhaps, though, the making of the latter Harry Potter movies will have paved the way for an appropriately heavy adaptation of a childrens books.

Mind you, not that your blog needs suggestions for entries or discussion…

Neil

Should Neil be hired as a consultant for future Narnia projects?


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  • Magnus

    “Okay. Today, I learned that I’m living in “a post-religious world.” What would atheists do in” a post-religious world,” I wonder? Not sure”

    “Re-Educate” all of us poor deluded folks? Unfortunately, some people are just far too caught up in their own agendas.

  • Neil E. Das

    Thanks for posting this, Jeffrey. It was good to hear this voice on this movie.

    Thank you for your work, and keep trucking!

  • jasdye

    haha.

    you crazy non-selfish lunatic you. how can you live with yourself, thinking others are about as important as you, crazy-pants?

  • Neil

    News on Prince Caspian:

    http://www.narniaweb.com/news.asp?id=705&dl=7532925

    Good discussion; lots of great points.

  • Joel Buursma

    Also, some of the other books have scenes (like TLTW&TW‘s Deeper Magic scene) where the Christian influence becomes obvious. For example, is it Dawn Treader where Aslan explains that he is known in our world by a different name? HINT HINT? ;-)

    Also, both Silver Chair and The Last Battle have sequences that get into “this world is the shadow of the real world” philosophy (clearly reminiscent of Plato’s shadows on the wall). In Silver Chair it would be hard to excise b/c that’s how Puddleglum breaks one of the witch’s spells. But, since Plato said it & not Jesus, there’s no problem, right?

  • Gene Branaman

    I agree with Tompaul completely. Having just finished TH&HB, it would make a very enchanting movie, in the hands of the right writer. And the set & costume design need not follow Pauline Baynes illustrations. In fact, I was picturing something between the dipiction of the elves in Jackson’s LOTR & ancient Assyria. And isn’t Aravis every feminist’s dream to escape from a force marriage scenario? I think TH&HB could be one of the best of the lot.

    If Disney lets it get made!

  • BethR

    I recently listened to both Prince Caspian and Voyage on CD (the Harper Audio versions). It seemed to me that PC actually has a good bit of action in it, and the “flashback” section is not a great part. A skilful screenplay could deal with this quite easily. None of these films has to be three hours long, you know. The concept for Prince Caspian is the freeing of Old (real or authentic) Narnia from the restraints of the Telmarine (secular humanistic? scientistic?) rule. Or freeing “nature” from “civilization”–if one prefers.

  • Tompaul

    I’ve always thought Prince Caspian the least interesting of the tales, and it’s got an inherent structural problem in that so much of it is told in flashback. My hope is that they begin the story in Narnia with young Caspian, then introduce the Pevensies back in their old lives (the book indicates that some of Narnia has “worn off” them in a way, but quickly comes back to them when they go back), then bring them all together when the horn is blown. If they explore the book’s themes–something the TLTWATW movie unfortunately fell far short on–it could easily make nearly as much money as the first movie, and so spur one of the movies I’m really looking forward to, Dawn Treader. Ever since seeing The Fellowship of the Ring I’ve thought that’s what a Dawn Treader film should feel like, an epic journey that may not have a conventional three-act structure but which you want to take again and again. As for narrative threads, you have two that begin in Narnia before the main narrative–the seven lords sent off by Miraz and Caspian’s quest to find out what happened to them, and Reepicheep’s longing for the “utter east.” Both are fulfilled by the end, with a tremendous “conversion” for Eustace, romance (albeit writ small–you never even find out her name) for Caspian, and plenty of great character moments for Lucy (the Magician’s book sequence should be both moving and hilarious) and the others. Throw in the other drama on the high seas and you’re set. Just keep it invigorating rather than feeling episodic (the BBC production’s problem). The Magician’s Nephew should work as a great straight-forward yarn with fantastic characters (Uncle Andrew, anyone?), an epic feel (the quest for the apple, the last days of Charn), and tremendous character dillemas–and who can help but be enchanted by the idea of a Wood Between the Worlds? As for THATHB, Lewis grew up loving the Arabian Knights so modeled Calormen after some facets of Arabian and other cultures (including India), but while the cultures have similarities and Calormen is portrayed in a negative light, the Calormen religion has little in common with Islam (it’s much more reminiscent of Hinduism) and there are plenty of sympathetic characters. I’ve learned not to doubt the potential for anyone to get a bee in their bonnet about anything (e.g. the recent demands that Christmas be more commercialized), but I can’t see “Boy” being any more controversial than Disney’s Aladdin (and less so, provided they don’t have any song lyrics about beheading that Disney deletes after a week in the theaters). It’s such a fun adventure, Cor and Aravis make a fun love story, and I think the audience will relish the chance to see a bit of the Pevensies as older kings and queens. Anyway, my opinion and $9.50 will buy you a ticket to the movies . . .

  • Neil

    True, true, Martin, your point is well made. I suppose I meant that there is no central villain that is overcome, unless it is Eustace’s old self. I would love to see Eustace’s journey done well, though it would take a great subtley and skill to convey it well.

  • Martin

    Dawn Treader has no film-length conflict? Yeep! It does so … it’s the conflict between Eustace and his former self.

  • Josh

    I am quite curious as to what the next step will be, as well. Moreover, I sincerely hope that there are at least a few more movies… if nothing else, I think it would give a broader feel to Narnia that was sorely lacking in the first film (in terms of both geography and theme).

    Would it even be possible to do the movies that are prequels? I tend to agree that Horse and His Boy might be difficult to make… do you think they might combine it with any other story? Might they not, at the least, combine Caspian/Dawn Treader, a la BBC?

    I, for one, would dearly love to see someone else at the helm of this project… someone who embraced the mystery, wonder and character of Narnia and its inhabitants a little more… skillfully? artistically? than the Shrek-man… tho given his cinematic credentials (or lack thereof), I must say I was extremely impressed that he did as well as he did).

  • Neil

    Jeffrey, thanks for posting this. As a bit of context, I ask this question with the assumption that not all 7 will be made, maybe that is a bad assumption. If it is valid, though, which would work best as films and which might not works so well? Or if you had your druthers which should absolutely be made? And as I alluded to in my email and on one other post on this site, are there some books that will not see the light of day for PC reasons? Finally, are there any specific scenes you think that cannot be done justice and others that would look brilliant on film?