Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Movie apprehension...

I haven't seen either of the Narnia movies out so far.

Wait, I take that back... I've seen some of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; I don't have any real objection to watching them, but they didn't have enough machine guns and dead Nazis to make me want to see them in the theatre, and I don't want to see them badly enough to actually go buy the DVD. (I don't rent DVDs; when used ones are available all over the place for $5-$9, I just buy the stuff I want to see...)

However, the one about to be released, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is my favorite book of the series, and the only one I kept as an adult. I kinda want to see this movie... but I'm picking up the vibe from the commercials that they've pretty thoroughly borked the original story in favor of pumping up the action figure sales. If there are Ewoks fighting Wookies on the forest moon of Endor, I'm gonna be righteously peeved.

20 comments:

Robert said...

Never underestimate the ability of Hollywood to screw up a perfectly good book.

Joanna said...

The Narnia books were a foundational part of my childhood literary experience; in my teens I made a point of reading the entire series once a year.

I watched the first movie, said "Oh forget it" and walked away. You've hit the nail on the head; they played up the action/slapstick humor instead of letting Lewis' subtle British wit and storytelling speak for itself.

Plus they've apparently turned Jadis (the White Witch) into much more of a recurring villain than she ought to be. Yes, she's a recurring figure in the books, but more as a symbol of the greater forces of evil than as the cause of it.

Final Verdict: Movies Miss The Point.

Nathan said...

In all fairness, you can't tell a C.S. Lewis story -- or just about any good tale, for that matter -- in two hours on a movie screen.

However, unlike Joanna, I thought they did a fair job of translating The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to film, given the limitations of the medium. I haven't seen the other film. In any case, TLTWATW certainly did not rise, er, fall to the level of, say, a Starship Troopers.

But the White Witch never actually shows up in any of the rest of the books, as far as I recall, except by reference. And only Edmund and Lucy were in Dawn Treader. So yeah, from what I saw in the trailer, it does appear that they've borked the plot, much worse than they borked TLTWATW.

Anonymous said...

The White Witch was in The Magician's Nephew, I think.

Nathan said...

You're correct; I forgot that one. My point pretty much still holds though; post-TLTWATW, the White Witch doesn't make another physical appearance.

Joanna said...

It's hinted that the Green Lady in The Silver Chair was a kind of reincarnation of Jadis; but again, it's only hinted.

Dawn Treader features Edmund, Lucy and their cousin Eustace; Eustace and his friend Jill are the protagonists of The Silver Chair and The Last Battle.

Trent said...

They flat out broke the entire story of Prince Caspian, I'm worried about this next installment.

Phssthpok said...

"...machine guns and dead Nazis..."

Død Snø.

Zombie Nazis.

'Nuff said.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/

Rob K said...

My 12 year-old is pretty miffed for the same reason. They borked it hard from what she says. But I'm sure she'll still see it.

For me, the Chronicles of Narnia are locked away firmly in the past. Some place to remember fondly, but it's best not to revisit.

J.R.Shirley said...

Nathan: But no movie versions of Lewis' books have starred Dina Meyer. Right? Right? Especially not in a shower.

I used to spend most of Starship Troopers swearing at Van Dien for being such an idiot.

Stuart_the_Viking said...

A long time ago I decided that whenever I watched a movie based upon a book I would ignore the connection and just watch it as if it was just another movie. No comparisons, no looking for favorite lines or characters. That way, there is a chance that I might enjoy the movie for it's own sake and not hate it for all the stupid changes that were made to the story. I understand that some things that work in books do not really work in movie format; however, until I adopted this rule, changes that were completely un-necessasary would really piss me off. Now, I can just sit and enjoy myself.

s

Nathan said...

@J.R. Shirley: Nah, you got me there :)

Ruth said...

@Stuart the Viking: You pretty much said it for me too, as long as I can sit back and ignore the fact that there's a book this was based off of I'm generally good. I can enjoy the movie as it is and not get peeved by the comparisons.

I enjoyed the first two movies because of that, and I won't go re-read the Dawn Treader before going to see this movie either. I'll save that for a couple months down the road when I can keep them seperated!

Jeff the Baptist said...

"In all fairness, you can't tell a C.S. Lewis story -- or just about any good tale, for that matter -- in two hours on a movie screen."

First, the recent movies are all around 3 hours. Second, the only thing the 1990s BBC adaptations suffered from was a lack of budget and special effects.

TLTWATW is a very simple story, but they still screwed up most of the characterizations, especially Peter. They fundamentally reordered Caspian to avoid the flashback sequence, but then added stuff that was BS. Not sure how they'll screw up Dawn Treader, but they will.

Tam said...

It seems like they want to follow the wildly successful model of the Harry Potter and Twilight movies, continuous cast and all, and if that means pitching the original stories, well, so be it...

Silver the Evil Chao said...

Hey, I wouldn't mind Ewoks vs. Wookies on Endor, because that would mean that the Ewoks would finally die!

joe said...

It's been said before but bears repeating, I think. I found the first to be reasonable, Caspian not so much. It's understandable that they would have to re-order some stuff and remove some things to fit the format, but I find it objectionable that they fundamentally changed some characters. I think they did a decent job with Edmund and Lucy in Caspian, but Peter and Caspian himself definitely deserve a do-over.

Anonymous said...

According to one of the religion-type bloggers, one thing they added to Dawn Treader is something to link the different "episodes" or segments better. Apparently Grand Quests to Prevent DOOOMM are trendy.
LittleRed1

Leit said...

Caspian was drawn out and Peter was a bit Young Vader in the previous movies, but that didn't prevent them from being pretty good. Close enough to the books for me.

Steve said...

What I didn't like about Prince Caspian was the romance they through in between Susan and Caspian. That was absolutely not in the book, and had no place in the movie. It twisted the relationships too much.

And what are Susan and Peter doing in this movie? "Prince Caspian" specifically (and correctly) has them telling Lucy and Edmond that Aslan has said they won't be returning to Narnia. They are only referenced once or twice in passing in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but that is all.