Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Chronicles of Narnia on the Silver Screen

After the sweeping success of the screen adaptation of the Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, I learnt somewhere on the internet that the Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis, were also being adapted for the silver screen. Having not been much of a reader for most of my childhood, my only experience at fantasy was Raymond E. Feist who took for his own much of the concepts introduced by the fantasy of Tolkien.

So, upon seeing a single-volume version of the Chronicles of Narnia, I immediately picked it up, without hesitation and took it with me to Bangladesh, to read over the vacation. After having read the first four books of the Chronicles, including the prequel "The Magician's Nephew," I feel that adapting these books to the silver screen should be immensely difficult.

Lewis unabashedly includes talking animals in his narration, which may be wonderful for the mind's eye but I believe quite difficult for a cinematic treatment. Whether chosen to be fully actor-driven or the more technically demanding computer graphics-driven, the talking animals of Disney will no doubt haunt whatever semblance of awe and reverence a director may try to endow upon a talking lion, Lewis's deity figure, Aslan.

Speaking of deities, I also find the religious themes quite blaring and bluntly presented, when the White Witch kills (crucifies) Aslan and Aslan rises up again (is resurrected) in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," and how the lion makes Shasta and his friends feel for his whiskers and nose when they disbelieve he is indeed a lion, much in the great Christian tradition of insisting on Jesus's diophysitism, his simultaneous humanity and divinity.

In addition to that, Lewis doesn't do as good a job as many of his latter-day heirs like Raymond E. Feist and Robert Jordan when relating battle scenes. His narrative, at least in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" seemed to purposefully omit a refined treatment of the melée in the battle scenes, which left me somewhat disappointed.

The film adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia are being undertaken by director Andrew Adamson who has both Shrek movies in his directorial resume, and the special effects are being helmed by the genius of Weta Workshop, owned by Peter Jackson and the magic behind the Lord of the Rings. Seeing the featurette they released recently on the creatures of Narnia, however, I just might give the movie a fighting chance now.

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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)