In December 2005, the film adaption of C.S. Lewis's beloved classic novel, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe came to theaters.
Like many other longtime fans of the book, I was somewhat skeptical before it released. I get nervous (for good reason) when Hollywood starts messing with a book or series that I care about.
However, the pre-release buzz about the movie was good, and The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe did well enough to spawn two sequels. And more are on their way, with the next in line being The Silver Chair, coming possibly by 2018. In fact, we'll be getting the complete series according to C.S. Lewis's son, #DouglasGresham.
“I often hope desperately, and sometimes I pray, that I will live long enough to make all of the books into movies. But, I’m seventy years old now and we just don’t know what’s going to happen with that. We still have The Horse and His Boy to do. We still have The Magician’s Nephew, which I’m absolutely longing to film. And of course then The Last Battle. But whether we’ll get them all done in my lifetime, I have no idea. Certainly I believe that, sooner or later, they will all be filmed of course.”
The remaining books in the series are The Silver Chair, The Horse And His Boy, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle.
As a long-time fan of the series, here are a couple things I would like to see to make the upcoming #sequels a bit better than the first few entries:
1. Make Aslan Bigger With A Deeper Voice
Aslan is the centerpiece of the Narnia stories, the son of the Emperor Beyond The Sea. Although he's never given a definite physical size by Lewis in the novels, he is described as being not an ordinary lion (he's not a tame lion, you know!), or one of ordinary size.
One of my few disappointments with the film versions of the Narnia Chronicles so far is that Aslan isn't big enough, and often looks on the surface like an ordinary lion. In The Last Battle, he's described as being as big as an elephant. I would like to see a physically bigger and more robust version of Aslan in the upcoming movies.
And though #LiamNeeson does an excellent job voicing Aslan, I love him to death as an actor and he's been one of the most awesomely manly action stars of the last ten years, the big #Lion needs a more baritone and less recognizable voice. Aslan needs to feel more otherworldly and powerful.
2. Make the White Witch Taller, Meaner, And Paler
Aslan is not the only character who needs an increase in size and gravity. The White Witch, Jadis, is also described in The Magician's Nephew as being seven feet tall. Obviously, #TildaSwinton is not seven feet tall (what actress is?), but I'm sure with a heavy dose of movie magic and special effects, they can make her look that way.
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Also, Jadis needs to more ruthless. You get a better sense of how bad she is in The Magician's Nephew, but it's not quite enough. She is imperious and evil, with a visceral hatred and existential fear of Aslan that inspires her cruelty.
And she needs to be paler, with skin that is snow white. She's called the #WhiteWitch for a reason.
That being said, the Chronicles Of Narnia is a good example of an existing series with a large fan base being brought to film the right way.
The story lines stay mostly faithful to the source material they were drawn from. Any changes feel thought-out and in the spirit of the novels. They don't have filler or major changes made to appeal to a "larger audience" or to "reintroduce it to a new generation", which is a common excuse you hear from directors who rationalize watering down a #series. And rebooting it into something the existing fan base doesn't expect, want, or recognize.
I remember first hearing the whispers about how faithfully they had recreated Narnia, and how close they adhered to the story line of the book. So I was in line opening weekend to see The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe in theaters, and left quite pleased with what they had done. It looked, felt, and sounded like a film adaption of C.S. Lewis's great fantasy novel should.
I think many Narnia fans agree with me.
The #ChroniclesOfNarnia is a film series made for the fans, as it should be.
Like his friend, contemporary, and author of #LordOfTheRings, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis isn't with us to see his great Narnia novels in the movie theater. However, his son is overseeing the movies to make sure they retain the spirit of what makes the Narnia Chronicles great.
Have you read the Narnia books? How do you like the movies in comparison? Are you looking forward to The Silver Chair? Comment away!