|Visual Reviews | New This Week | Out Now | New This Week | Coming Soon | The Buzz | Index | Archive A-Z|
Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Friday, December 10, 2010
Some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action.
Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter
Michael Petroni, Richard LaGravanese
In the enchanted land of Narnia, Edmund and Lucy join King Caspian on a sworn mission to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. So begins a perilous new quest that takes them to the farthest edge of the Eastern world on board the mighty Dawn Treader. Sailing uncharted seas, the old friends must survive a terrible storm, encounters with sea serpents, dragons and invisible enemies to reach lands where magicians weave mysterious spells and nightmares come true. They need every ounce of courage and the help of the great lion Aslan to triumph in their most hazardous adventure of all.
Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) | Preview
Micheal Flaherty: Challenges and Phony Challenges
Let me start by asking about your own relationship to the Narnia books and how that has affected Walden's part in the films?
I remember my brother Chip bought the books at the Burlington Mall—our office is actually in back of the place he first bought the books—and he read them to me. So I grew up loving them, then later on in life Lewis's other books, particularly Mere Christianity and [The] Screwtape [Letters] had a really profound effect on me, so I've been a big Lewis lover.
With your background in education, Walden has brought several really good books to film. Besides the Narnia books, Holes, Charlotte's Web, Bridge to Terebithia—is that going to continue to be a key part of Walden's plans?
Yeah. Actually we have our own imprint now at HarperCollins and we're publishing our own books now. So the idea is to tell even more stories and then hopefully books get turned into films as well. We won a Newbury two years ago with something we hope becomes a growing genre in fiction: the home-schooled Christian family with superpowers genre. That book was Savvy and it's been a great big surprise for us.
It always happens that some people are upset by film adaptation of well-loved books. It seems that the first two Narnia films left a fair number of viewers disappointed in that way. How do you respond to those for whom the films didn't live up to the book?
With sympathy, because it's really hard for a film to live up to a book, because we grow up with these books, we play that movie in our mind for several years and sometimes even decades, and then what we put on the screen is a single interpretation of that story for hundreds of millions of people who've enjoyed it. I think Tolkien wrote something in his introduction to one of the Lords of the Rings, where he said, "You know it's always been interesting to me to find that the things that I like the least about my books are the things that people cling to the most fervently. The things that I like the most are things people think shouldn't even be in the story." We try our best and for me the key is to get Aslan's dialogue right. I think that is the least pardonable of all the sins. If you don't get Aslan right there really is no sense in doing the films.
The Narnia books have a strong Christian theme to them, and you end up making films that can't just play to a Christian audience, but have to get a wider viewing. What kind of challenge is that?
It's funny, a lot of people in Hollywood like to present it as a challenge, but I think it's a phony challenge. I mean, this Christmas tens of millions of families across the country take the time to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special where Luke 2 is read. People listen to U2, which has some of the more Christian lyrics out there. Les Miserables is one of the more popular musicals of all time with unmistakably Christian themes there. The character's life turns around when he says the sinner's prayer and makes a personal commitment to Jesus. So I think that this is the stuff of great storytelling. I think when you run into all kinds of problems is when you retreat from the author's original material, and then you end up pleasing nobody.
Did the criticisms of the first two films lead to any adjustments in the approach to making Dawn Treader?
Not the first. The first was sort of what we expected. The criticism for the second was justified in many cases—both on the story side and on the marketing side. So yes, that was an example of looking at customer research and realizing that we had to change things for the third film.
What lies ahead for the Narnia franchise? If Dawn Treader does well, which book would you be looking to do next?
Well, there's two different directions. It seems like Silver Chair is gaining a lot of momentum, but there's also, I think, a very good case that can be made for Magician's Nephew.
I thought that would be interesting. I think there is a lot that has to do with your actors and getting them the right age. Something like Magician's Nephew gives them a chance to age appropriately for something like A Horse and His Boy.
Well you know what? A Horse and His Boy is an incredibly popular one. If you look just at book sales, it's the third best selling title.
Copyright © 2010 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
More About Chronicles of Narnia, The: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate