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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Chronicle of Narnia: LW&W

   
Author Topic: Chronicle of Narnia: LW&W
rjzeller
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I just saw the movie last night and it was excellent. Can't predict if it'll do LOTR numbers, but it was very good.

Something I realized watching this film was the contrast between the visual medium and print. Much of what CS Lewis discsses lightly in the book and how it appears in the movie.

A testament to Lewis' skill at writing that he can craft a story about children, wars, evil witches, etc., and it still maintain the prose and innocence that is required for younger audiences.

Anyway, a great film I thought...


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Silver3
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If it's good, then I'm going to drag people out to see it. The Narnia books were favorites of mine as a child, and my greatest fear was that Disney would botch the movie.
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lehollis
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The entire collection is sitting on my desk, fresh from Amazon. I wanted to read it again before seeing the movie, but I procrastinated ordering it.
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franc li
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I want to read a review. Where has it opened?
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rcorporon
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I've never read the books.... are they decent?
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Matt Lust
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They're better wrriten children books than say HP but they're distinctly children's books
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rjzeller
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...it hadn't opened yet. I think Friday was the official opening. I got to see a preview of it (helps to know the theater manager).

It'll be interesting to see how it fares with Kong just around the corner....


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Silver3
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I'd rather see Narnia than Kong, but then again I never had a thing for huge gorillas anyway.
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franc li
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The books are good if you like that sort of thing. Does that answer your question? I happen to really like them but I don't think it is an empirical measure of intellect that someone like them.
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Inkwell
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I saw the film last night (Friday). As an avid fan of the books since I first read them in the third grade, I must say my expectations were very, very high. The film met all of them, and brilliantly. For one thing, unlike the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it did not exclude what I considered major plot elements in the theatrical release.

I, too, worried that Disney would mess something up in the production process...until I learned that Walden Media was handling the actual filming, and that Peter Jackson's WETA studio was doing post-production. Needless to say, those two facts made me feel a little better.

Now, having seen the film, I must say one thing definitively...when the credits started rolling I didn't want it to end. And not from the standpoint that the movie didn't fulfill whatever it was that I wanted, but that it was so good. For two hours and ten minutes I was able to leap back to my childhood, recalling all the late nights (or early mornings, if you prefer to think of it that way) that I stayed up reading Lewis' Chronicles.

So...see it for yourself. Perhaps you won't like it quite as much as I did. But then again, it cannot be worse than the old BBC productions (which were fine at the time, I suppose, but nowhere near the Narnia of my mind's eye).


Inkwell
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"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous

[This message has been edited by Inkwell (edited December 10, 2005).]


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TruHero
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I second Inkwell's words. I too saw it today, and It was everything I had hoped it would be. It's not very often that an adaptation meets my expectations. This certainly did. This is one not to pass up in the theaters, a DVD at home would not do this one justice. So go see this, and I think you could even take your kids, not the little ones please.
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Robert Nowall
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Y'know, you wouldn't know from the things being said about this version, but "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" has been filmed twice before, to my knowledge. "The Lord of the Rings" had a prior version that got some mention...and it's downright impossible to ignore the previous versions of "King Kong" while talking about this new one...
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wbriggs
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Wow. Usually I try to tone down expectations, but this time I may not need to. Cool!
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Inkwell
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^^^
Agreed. That happens to be a movie strategy of mine as well. There's just too much unadulterated crap released nowadays to invest myself (entirely). I don't like the accompanying disappointment...especially after seeing several 'losers' in a row. But, every once in a great while, a movie will come along that prompts me to say "hey, the heck with it...this one looks like it'll be worth the risk."

Narnia was.


Inkwell
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"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous


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nimnix
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I loved two things in that movie. The visuals, and the queen. She was truly impressive, amazing, and believable as a ruthless queen. She was the most interesting part of Narnia, aside from the phoenix. I should have read the book instead.

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Matt Lust
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Robert,

I don't know if the previous versions of LOTR and LW&W were ever filmed with "live" actors before their latest incarnaitons but i do know that they had been animated.

By saying I mean its easier and perhaps better to compare live action King Kong to live action King Kong vs live action LOTR/LW&W to animated versions of LOTR/LW&W



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sojoyful
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I know the BBC did several of the Narnia stories as live action...I don't know if they were tv movies or what. I was a kid when I watched them.

This brings up a question. Are the royal They planning on doing the other Narnia books as well, or just LW&W? I've always been rather disappointed that common knowledge thinks that LW&W is a standalone book. The entire series as a whole is incredible.

[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited December 12, 2005).]


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nimnix
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That probably depends on the numbers for this one. That wasn't exactly a cheap movie to produce. Also, it was structured in a way that it could end there.
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franc li
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The BBC productions are avaialable at our library. They are probably pretty good for a TV movie (in the pre-CGI days), but not quite the universally loved classic that the BBC's Pride and Prejudice was.

P.S. I hope they do The Horse and his Boy. That is my favorite story, and I don't think it has an allegorical point to it. It's just kind of a fantasy adventure. Orphan boy meets talking horse, they meet girl also with talking horse, girl runs away from arranged marriage, boy and girl flee, lots of bickering to conceal sexual tension...

I guess the allegorical point to it may have been how Aslan interacted with their adventures, propelling them toward the conclusion. Not a deus ex machina so much as a deus ex ignition, deus ex carbeurator, deus ex gearbox, deus ex powertrain... What makes deus ex machina [really] annoying is when they pop out of nowhere. But Aslan could as well have been a Greek god in this story, except for not getting any earthlings pregnant.

[This message has been edited by franc li (edited December 12, 2005).]


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Robert Nowall
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Ah, the pedantic in me rises to the surface...so much information to impart, but what do I begin with? Not to mention a few gaps to skirt around...

The first filmed version of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was a TV special, on CBS, I think, sometime in the early to mid eighties. Yes, it was animated. It may have been only an hour long. (I think it may have been done by the same people who put on the animated "Hobbit" a few years before, but am not that confident of my opinion here...)

The second filmed version was a British production---BBC? They went on to produce versions of "Prince Caspian" and "The Silver Chair" as well (I saw the first and third ones, but missed the second for some reason.) These are available on DVD---I saw an ad for all of them in "Entertainment Weekly" the other week.

The gossip going 'round about the why of these movies runs along the lines of: Disney looked at the money that "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" have brought in, decided they wanted one of their own, cast around for something similar, and came up with "Narnia." (Looks like they've suceeded, from the early numbers.) I don't know if the books' Christian themes gave them a moment's hesitation---apparently they're not particularly toned down.

(I first read the Narnia books in high school---within a year of having read "The Lord of the Rings"---and though I've reread them a couple of times since (and remember a lot of details), they're not among my favorites. Even as a callow high schooler (as opposed to the callow adult I am now), I was somewhat put off by Lewis's laying-on of Christian themes with a trowel, thought the books were written down (like "The Hobbit," but more so), and found myself more attracted to fantasies like "Titus Groan."

(Of the individual books, I think I preferred "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Horse and His Boy"---neither of which have ever been filmed, to my knowledge.)


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Inkwell
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^^^
Actually, the BBC productions included "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I can't remember if it was packaged with "Prince Caspian" or not. All I know is that it was decent for a television production, and seemed to have had a bit of money put into it (special effects were impressive for the time).


Inkwell
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"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous


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pixydust
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I saw the movie today, and I must say, I didn't want it to end either. It was almost better then the book (if that's even possible). But it gave my imagination exactly what it wanted to see. I was so amazed. The kids even looked like I imagined them! And the professor was perfect. I loved it! I really hope they keep going. If they can make seven HP films then they can make at least two or three Narnia ones.
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Robert Nowall
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Yup, the ad copy I mentioned above does call the second one "Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader." If I'd'a seen it, I'd'a known.

Interesting though, that the implication of the ad is that *these* are the new things of Narnia out right now...


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franc li
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As far as Disney and the Christian themes go, the earliest press releases on the movie said that some people connected with Lewis and the story rights were ensuring that the integrity of the stories would be respected. And Disney wasn't actually making the thing, just investing and distributing it similar, I imagine, to what the arrangement with Pixar had been. Not that investment/marketing isn't important...
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Pyre Dynasty
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More on the Christian themes thing: The advertising went through some of the same channels that The Passion of the Christ did. There were even pre-screenings for church groups. There has been all kinds of features on the Christian channel in my area, quite similar to the ones for 'Passion'.
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Inkwell
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I think it comes down to individual interpretation. Some people read the books and see the (various) films and say "hey...that's Christian allegory!" Others will read the books and see the films and say "hey...that's a cool fairy tale!" It all tends to depend on one's philosophical/religious background.

Obviously, people who have little or no experience with or knowledge of Christianity and its fundamental characteristics will not be so quick to label Narnia a 'Christian' film. The remaining two groups will probably:

A.) Try to take Narnia and use it as a point of religious dicussion/debate, though Lewis himself claimed it was more of a 'supposition' than actual allegory. He intended it to be a good, wholesome children's tale...but also one that could speak to those familiar with the Christian faith on a deeper level. In this sense, it was written with an incredibly broad audience potential in mind, though the concept itself is fairly simple.

Or,

B.) Try to discredit Narnia as a mere tool of Christian propaganda, or at the very least dismiss it as being too symbolic of one specific religion.

In either case, I believe an injustice would be done to Lewis' work. While he surely had an intention to inject similarities to Christianity into the world of Narnia, he also realized the need to make the book general enough to be enjoyed by anyone. Here's a question for you: could the allegory/'supposition' present in Narnia be why, if on the most subtle level, the series has endured (flourished, in fact) over the years?

Anyway, as I said before. I believe it comes down to individual interpretation. Nothing more, nothing less.


Inkwell
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"The difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous

[This message has been edited by Inkwell (edited December 13, 2005).]


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Lullaby Lady
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Well put, Inkwell!

~LL


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Elan
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And there are those of us who don't sit there in the movie theater with our religion barameter. I enjoyed the movie, but I came away from it with the same reaction I had when I read the book, oh lo those many years ago. Ehhhh.... it's a kid's tale, and it still comes across as a kid's tale. Personally, I like Tolkien better, but I think C.S. Lewis wrote a great kid's book. I'm just not into kid lit. (I may have been more enthralled with the series had I read it as a child; as it was, I was in high school and had read Tolkien a couple of times by then. Narnia seemed like a pretty watered down version of the fantasy realms I had grown to love.

I DID think the movie did a splendid job of recreating the visual images from the book. If you like Narnia, you'll love the movie.


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Shendülféa
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I'm with you on that one, Elan. I like Tolkien much better. For me, when the heroes are children, it tends to make the story a lot less believable and much less serious than if they are adults. I like Narnia fine and all, but I much prefer the more elaborate and more serious fantasies like LotR. I'm not one much to read/watch stories/movies aimed more for children anymore (with few exceptions). I grew out of it, and the fact that I'm not terribly fond of children might have something to do with it as well.
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TruHero
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I have always been able to make the religious connections with this movie, but I choose to overlook them I guess. It doesn't bother me, or ruin the story. I loved the story as a kid and still love it today. Since I am still a child at heart, I think of it as purely an escapist fantasy story.

There have been quite a few stories where some ordinary thing becomes a portal into another realm. Anybody ever read: 'The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles'? It was written by Julie Edwards (Andrews). Yes, the Sound of Music star. I read that around the same time as the Chronicles of Narnia in the 4th or 5th grade. I bought a copy of it last year, just to use as a reference. Pretty good childrens book.

I don't think you can compare LOTR with the Narnia stories. They are for two different audiences(age groups). Possibly you could compare The Hobbit with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but not The Lord of the Rings, in my opinion. At that point, it comes down to preference and style. Two different styles, but both extraordinary in richness.


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pixydust
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I think I'm just a kid at heart.
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Robert Nowall
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I question whether Disney intended to market "Narnia" to Christian groups, the way "Passion of the Christ" was, when they decided to make the movie. I don't know precisely when they acquired the rights, but the movie must have been in production well before they could have seen any box office numbers from "Passion."

Could they have noticed partway through production and grafted it onto the promotion campaign later, as an afterthought? Or perhaps they noticed this group as a largely untapped market, even beforehand?


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