March 03, 2003

Something to Look Forward To

C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles are going to be filmed. They've picked the guy who directed Shrek, which makes me wonder if it's going to be animated like Shrek was. I'd rather it be a live-action film, mainly because I just prefer live actors to animation, and I think the examples of the Rings films show that the technology now exists to make a non-cheesy, good-looking, convincing live-action fantasy film. The only difficulty I can see will be with the talking animal characters, and there have already been some movies out that dealt with that (Cats and Dogs, etc.).

Posted by Andrea Harris at March 3, 2003 08:27 PM

You know, I'm probably alone in the whole world on this, but I HATED the Narnia Chronicles...

Posted by: Alex Knapp at March 3, 2003 at 09:26 PM

You're not the only one, fact (don't tell Andrea), I've never been able to read "The Hobbit" or any LOTRs...always fall asleep by page 20.

Posted by: DavidMSC at March 3, 2003 at 09:50 PM

I don't like them as much as Lord of the Rings. I found them altogether more simplistic, shallower, more "allegorical" than mythic. There was quite a bit of "talking down" to the reader too. Still, certain aspects of the stories have their charms. My favorite one is the sixth book, The Magician's Nephew, with its unforgettable description of the dead world Charn. That scene was truly frightening. Also it didn't feature the main set of children, the Pevensies, whom I found rather smug and tiresome.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 3, 2003 at 09:51 PM

Live action would make me nervous; unless you had a crew like the one that created Gollum, I worry that Aslan ala Scooby Doo. Yikes!

Posted by: Leigh-Anne at March 3, 2003 at 09:57 PM

(To DavidMC) Fantasy isn't for everyone. Especially the Tolkien sort which (mostly, and all of it now even the "normal talk" hobbit parts of LOTR) is written in non-contemporary language. I have always had a taste for that sort of stuff. Perhaps it comes from being raised on a diet of Lang's Fairy Tales and old history books. I can't read a lot of modern fantasy -- or anything -- because the contemporary language a lot of authors now seem to prefer using turns me off. David Eddings is one of these people. He has written about two dozen or so popular fantasy novels and I haven't been able to get through one without throwing it across the room. I have tried, with equally bad luck, to read the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. Descriptions of strange magic acts and religious rites, monstrous imaginary creatures, and maps of imaginary lands is just not enough anymore.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 3, 2003 at 09:58 PM

To Leigh-Anne: well, I am hoping that they do Aslan with the same care as the way Weta did Gollum. He's already a rather difficult-to-believe character even in print; it's going to take a lot of work to make Aslan not seem ridiculous on film.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 3, 2003 at 10:01 PM


I enjoyed the first few Wheel of Time books - but then I got to thinking:

ENOUGH ALREADY, DAMMIT! Finish the damn story and let's see what OTHER arrows you've got in the quiver!

Fantasy series? No, it's a Fantasy Serial. And I'm getting tired of them.


Posted by: JLawson at March 3, 2003 at 10:07 PM

We could hope. Of course, Gollum's idiosyncratic nature and appearance allowed the creators and animators to get away with creating a broad visual character--a blessing and a curse, I'm sure.

Aslan would have to possess a certain amount of grace and dignity, a regalness (naturally), but would add to the challenge of creating a believable CGI version. And Weta might need to call on the code-writers at Pixar for the fur design created for Monsters, Inc. character Sully.

Posted by: Leigh-Anne at March 3, 2003 at 10:21 PM

The only project I see mentioned explicitly on the site is "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." I suppose there could be more if it became an enormous hit.

There was a TV cartoon of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" made many years ago; I remember seeing it, but not much about it.

I can imagine a straightforward film adaptation of "The Last Battle" stirring up a lot of controversy. "The Magician's Nephew" is definitely the one I'd really want to see.

Posted by: Matt McIrvin at March 3, 2003 at 11:00 PM

While not a"fantasy", I think the "Witches of Karres" by James Schmitz could be a great movie. They've now got the technology to do the Sheem Spider and Worm World right, and the fact that its got a plot would blow the Star Wars series away.

Posted by: hj at March 3, 2003 at 11:14 PM

Now that's a book I loved, but I haven't read it in ages. Something to add to my wish list... (Hooray! It seems to be available again -- the library I borrowed it from in the long-longago either lost the copy, or someone else borrowed it and never returned it. One of my lasting regrets.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 3, 2003 at 11:43 PM

I loved The Witches of Karres, and almost all of Schmitz's other books, too. (I remember finding A Tale of Two Clocks a bit tiresome.) I've bought all the re-releases except for Karres; I have one of my own, but I wanted a copy for my niece.

Sigh. I always hoped somehow a vatch would come along and transport me to Karres.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at March 4, 2003 at 12:16 AM

There is already a live action version of the Narnia books. Cheap special effects, totally unconvincing Aslan, and rather unattractive actors for the children (esp. Lucy).

But if they could do something with the same resources as the LotR, it could be fantastic. Each of the books is quite short, and would lend itself to becoming a screenplay quite nicely. But SEVEN movies?

Posted by: parallel at March 4, 2003 at 03:12 AM

Actually, I found the live action BBC series rather charming, in a low-budget Dr Who sort of fashion.

Comparing the Chronicles of Narnia to LotR is sort of like comparing Scooby Doo to the X-Files -- very different audiences, very different tone.

The biggest challenge to doing Narnia, I think, will be dealing with folks who find the Christian allegory offensive on the face of it (especially the books that play it up against ersatz Islam/paganism).

Posted by: *** Dave at March 4, 2003 at 08:20 AM

I believe the whole "Wheel of Time" is a novel improvisation of Zeno's Paradox in book form. Each new addition to the series covers approximately half the timespan its predecessor did. I fully expect Part 32 to cover roughly the last second of the Last Battle.

Posted by: David Perron at March 4, 2003 at 10:06 AM

I hope they never tackle Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series. The. Best. Ever.

Posted by: Jane at March 4, 2003 at 12:15 PM