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If They Were to Make a Darker and Edgier LWW...

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Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

There's been a fair bit of talk about a Netflix adaptation of Narnia being darker and edgier than the books or previous adaptations. I thought it'd be interesting to discuss specific ways in which new adaptations could be darker than the books, and whether we'd like them. I feel like those of us with opposing perspectives will understand each other better if we're talking about specific possibilities instead of just saying, "dark is bad" and "darker is better."

One thing they could do to make LWW darker would be to have Tumnus actually start to drag Lucy to the Witch's House, maybe even get in sight of it before he changes his mind. I...don't think I would hate this. I wouldn't necessarily like it. I think the scene works great as it is in the book and the other adaptations. (I don't even generally like the BBC adaptation from the late 70s, but I like that particular scene.) But I could stand them trying to make it more dramatic that way as long as they don't have Tumnus actually hand Lucy over. If this were the only LWW adaptation, I'd probably get mad and be all, "why are they changing this? It was fine the way it was in the book!" But there have been enough accurate-ish adaptations that I'm relatively more openminded about deviations.

Something else they could do would be to have the Pevensies' parents be dead, not just separated from their children because of the war. I would dislike this because it doesn't really tie into the story thematically at all and just seems like something they'd do because protagonists generally have at least one dead parent. 😉 Plus we need the parents to be alive to take Susan to America eventually. If they absolutely have to kill someone's parents, I'd rather that someone be Jill. Her parents are mentioned the least of all the Narnian protagonists' parents. It'd be easier to do that without changing a lot. 

Another possibility is having the White Witch and her wolves actually kill Tumnus and other Narnians instead of just turning them into statues. I'd be against this because I love the scene where the statues come back to life. I guess they could theoretically have the characters come back to life anyway since Aslan says that when the Stone Table cracks, death works backwards. But come on! Stone statues becoming flesh and blood is just more visually interesting.

What do you guys think of any of these possibilities? What are some other ways they might make a new adaptation "edgier?" 

This topic was modified 10 months ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Topic starter Posted : December 7, 2020 12:58 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb

Intriguing ideas to think about, and I'll be interested to hear others' opinions, but my only thought on the matter is "Oh no, no, no, PLEASE just don't." Sad Crying I dont wanna see  

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been woven into the fabric of my life — I know that sounds pretentious, but it's the best way I can think of to describe it — ever since Mum and I first read it together when I was 4 1/2 years old. There is something incredibly special about that book, and, while it's a little less sophisticated in some ways than some of the Chronicles that Lewis wrote later, I don't think he ever hits a wrong note in it. I can understand film-makers making minor tweaks to it here and there to have it flow better on screen, or even to make a little more of underlying themes that the book only touches on but doesn't really explore. But to add stuff to it that simply isn't there at all in the original story, especially "darker and edgier" stuff... to me, that is basically messing with something sacred.

I don't even like the 2005 Walden film of LWW, precisely because, although it's very well done from a purely cinematic point of view, I've always felt it totally misses the beautiful, gentle, understated tone of the book. That is, adding the edge-of-your-seat chase scenes and the epic massive battle scene and that tedious invented sub-plot with the fox, because obviously the original story just wasn't exciting and racy enough for them. None of that is even very much "darker" or "edgier" than anything in the book and it still largely misses the mark — well, at least, it had me sitting in the cinema gritting my teeth through most of it (well, from I think about a third of the way in till the end) and thinking "Nice try, but this is just NOT Narnia."

That is of course the totally subjective and opinionated view of one particular fan of the Chronicles, and I realise there are plenty of others (perhaps the majority here) who love that film through and through and see it as a brilliant adaptation, so I'm not going to get into a debate over it. My point is simply that for me personally, if even a fairly-but-not-totally-faithful film version turns me off, as it does... a "darker and edgier" version simply does not bear thinking about. Angry  

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : December 7, 2020 3:09 pm
Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Nut

@Courtenay, I apologize in advance!

Remember in the Walden LWW, at the White Witch's camp, how Aslan's army left Ginarrbrik (the dwarf) tied to the tree in Edmund's place, with his hat pinned up in some sort of taunt?

In a darker and edgier Narnia, I could see them rescuing Edmund and leaving behind Maugrim's decapitated head as a similar tactic (since Peter's fight with Maugrim and Edmund's extraction take place back-to-back).  

 

This is the journey
This is the trial
For the hero inside us all
I can hear adventure call
Here We Go

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Posted : December 7, 2020 3:40 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @glenwit

@Courtenay, I apologize in advance!

No need, thanks — like I said, I'm interested to hear other people's ideas and I'm definitely not going to get into heated debates about any of it! Wink It's fun to think about "different" things they could do with Narnia, even if I'm one who hopes they don't...

Actually, I should have added (although I think I was trying to imply this by pointing out that I first encountered Narnia when I was still under the age of 5), a good reason for NOT making it too much darker and edgier would be to avoid frightening the younger viewers!! I remember being terrified at about that same age — maybe I was even a little older — by a horrible stuffed boar's head that my uncle had on the wall of his house, and there were a few films we used to watch on video where I always closed my eyes at the really scary or gruesome parts, so Maugrim's severed head could very well have had the same effect on me. Mind you, not all kiddies are that easily scared, but I wouldn't want too many of them to be put off Narnia!

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : December 7, 2020 3:49 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut

@glenwit, do you think that would be a good idea? Or not? 

I'm not really a fan myself because it seems like being darker and edgier for the sake of being darker and edgier, but I did start this topic to discuss the merits of individual ideas for making the material darker, not condemning (or approving) the whole idea of darkness. 

That being said, I can think of way stupider ways to add gratuitous "adult content" to the story....

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Topic starter Posted : December 7, 2020 4:25 pm
Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Nut

@col-klink

Kind of a convoluted answer, but here we go.

I know that the point isn't whether we are for/against a darker and edgier LWW, but I will say that I'd personally be for it on paper, IF they could find places for it that don't seem darker just for the heck of it.

I would have to agree with you re; my example.  Probably not the best idea.  Doing that might take the focus away from what the aftermath of Edmund's rescue is really all about (and it doesn't accomplish anything other than shock value unless that's how Jadis finds out Maugrim's dead...but she already knew beforehand when the other wolf told her...unless they change the other wolf to not say anything about Maugrim being dead.  But that doesn't make sense either...if I know Jadis, this display wouldn't get to her.  She proves in her response to the other wolf that she isn't phased by Maugrim being dead + and that he was always just a means to an end for her, just like all of her servants. CS Lewis didn't need extra visceral imagery to get that point across).  

If we were to try another angle...say they play up the horrors of living under the Witch and her secret police a little more.  If we don't want them to throw in extra chase scenes like the Walden movie did, what about translating the sense of dread from paper to screen by making it clear that the Pevensies and the Beavers are in real danger if they are caught on the way to the Stone Table, Lucy is in serious danger if Tumnus doesn't let her go home, Lucy and Tumnus are in serious trouble if they get caught on the way back to the lamppost, etc. (especially if the Witch's spies are more active at night).  If "what could happen" becomes more of a threat, that would definitely make it edgier, if not darker, and would just make what's already in the story seem more "real". 

This is the journey
This is the trial
For the hero inside us all
I can hear adventure call
Here We Go

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Posted : December 7, 2020 6:04 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @glenwit

If we were to try another angle...say they play up the horrors of living under the Witch and her secret police a little more.  If we don't want them to throw in extra chase scenes like the Walden movie did, what about translating the sense of dread from paper to screen by making it clear that the Pevensies and the Beavers are in real danger if they are caught on the way to the Stone Table, Lucy is in serious danger if Tumnus doesn't let her go home, Lucy and Tumnus are in serious trouble if they get caught on the way back to the lamppost, etc. (especially if the Witch's spies are more active at night).  If "what could happen" becomes more of a threat, that would definitely make it edgier, if not darker, and would just make what's already in the story seem more "real". 

Now that's something I reckon could genuinely work without messing up the story, if they do it well — emphasising that tension and the real danger of being caught by the Witch or her spies. That's something that's consistent with the book but can perhaps be brought out even more viscerally, if you like, through good scripting and sound and visuals in a screen version.

I should add that I didn't mean this topic "doesn't bear thinking about" AT ALL (obviously, I'm quite enjoying this discussion!) — might have overdone my wording there, sorry. I just meant I'm shuddering at the thought of Netflix adding gratuitous stuff to the plot for no real reason other than to make it more "dark" or "edgy". Playing up the elements of tension and creepiness that are already in the plot is a good idea, provided they don't overdo it to the point of making the story unrecognisable! Shocked  

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : December 8, 2020 1:47 am
Cleander
(@the-mad-poet)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@glenwit, I think you may be on to something there. The Walden film tried to provide some small, conventional setup of the danger the kids and Beavers were in by showing the statue-fied remains of some animals who'd crossed the witch outside the Beaver's tunnel. It was their way of saying "Oh, and this witch has stone powers and stuff!" 

If instead we were to hint at the danger through means of something other than what actually "happens" onscreen, I'd expect that to come in the form of atmospheric effects, such as eeriness in the score or ominous deliveries of equally ominous lines by the Beavers.... maybe still not even mentioning the Witch's stone powers, just implying that there's something out there of which we should be terrified.

I think a dark take could work if done intelligently, although I will say that I think LWW is probably the book that needs it the least. I'd look forward seeing the dark version  Silver Chair or Last Battle most of all.

While on the topic of atmosphere though, I would definitely like to see a darker battle than the Walden one. Place it in a misty clearing or glade in a gray, haunting forest under a cloudy sky, and have the Witch's army come creepily up out of the woods, with the more horrifying creatures suddenly bursting out at intervals to frighten viewers a bit. That way you could not only use the mist to hide the scale of the battle and keep it focused on a limited perspective, like Peter's, but at the end you could of course have the mist dissolve after Aslan kills Jadis (because killing baddies naturally improves the weather of course). 

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Posted : December 8, 2020 10:17 pm
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Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @glenwit

it doesn't accomplish anything other than shock value unless that's how Jadis finds out Maugrim's dead...but she already knew beforehand when the other wolf told her...unless they change the other wolf to not say anything about Maugrim being dead.  But that doesn't make sense either.

Yeah, I guess that's why I didn't have a super positive reaction to the idea (besides the grossout factor.) There are already so many examples of the Witch realizing that she's losing her power that it sounds gratuitous. But on reflection, I can see how it might make sense if you were doing the story as a TV series. The whole episode could be about the White Witch realizing she's losing her power and having her discover Maugrim's head at the end, rather than just hear about him dying, could tie the whole thing together dramatically.

Posted by: @glenwit

If we were to try another angle...say they play up the horrors of living under the Witch and her secret police a little more. 

Posted by: @courtenay

Now that's something I reckon could genuinely work without messing up the story, if they do it well — emphasising that tension and the real danger of being caught by the Witch or her spies.

 

Something I thought of that they could do along those lines would be to actually show Tumnus being arrested and his home being trashed, possibly even showing him getting a message to the bird or Mr. Beaver. I'm not crazy about that idea myself because I feel it would take away the impact of the Pevensies being confronted with the arrest's aftermath. Plus it'd be kind of boring if we knew what happened and none of them do. But I wouldn't totally hate it if it was done well anyway. Like I said, there have been enough adaptations of this story that I've enjoyed that I'm a little more lenient towards liberties being taken in new adaptations. (Though that doesn't mean I'm going to like any such liberties. 😉 )

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Topic starter Posted : December 9, 2020 11:02 am
Courtenay liked
JFG II
(@jfg-ii)
NarniaWeb Regular

If They Were to Make a Darker and Edgier LWW...  

It could be in the same vein as 'The Hobbit' Movies or 'Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle Book'. The latter film was a PG-13 version of the Jungle Book stories, and it's definetly not for younger kids. It goes closer to the dark tone of the original books, I've heard. It also, unfortunately, goes over-the-top into bleak violence, similar to The Hobbit movies.

Both adaptations lost the heart and charm of the book by the conclusion. But neither adaptation truly failed either; They both brought in new fans to the books: Adults who ignored the books as kids for whatever reason.

So, if the new Narnia adaptations went that route, it would alienate/lose family audiences with young kids under 10 years old. While also - maybe - gaining more adult veiwers, who, in turn, could benefit from the stories and their messages, if the adaptations were fantastic, regardless of age demographic.

(That would be a bit unfortunate, because the Narnia books - even The Last Battle - were written with kids in mind, and adults second. Kids usually have more fertile imaginations, and are less likely to dismiss high fantasy upon first encounter. Adults, if they consent to reading, may find deeper meanings in individual book moments and ask questions that kids might not.)

This reminds me of an exchange [not word-for-word] between GlumPuddle and Rilian on Talking Beasts:

"Who's the real audience here?" says GlumPuddle.

"WELL..." says Rilian, "Of course it should be made to please the fans, but what would really interest me would be to take Narnia to an entirely different group of people [adults or kids] who have no knowlege of Narnia, and be like 'We're going to tell you this Narnia Story'."

Of course young children are the Narnia-virgins most in need of discovering it, but they have the books to speak to them. Adult audiences who never gave the books much thought might be shocked by a great adaptation that speaks to them, but at the same time, tells them exactly what Lewis wanted them to know.

With regards to Narnia Virgins, I have always suspected that children were a better fit for the books, but adults may make a better fit for the movies.

This post was modified 10 months ago 18 times by JFG II
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Posted : December 10, 2020 7:00 pm
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icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I don't see any reason to suspect they would make Narnia "darker and edgier" as that seems to be a cinematic trend which is about 10 years out of date.

If anything we should be wondering if they will make Narnia "brighter and wackier".

Look at recent superhero movies such as Thor Ragnarok, Aquaman and Shazam; audiences are now much more willing to embrace larger than life characters with big colourful imagery and wacky out-of-this-world concepts, compared to where they were in 2005/08 when the first two Narnia movies came out alongside the two Nolan Batman films.

Contrast the upcoming Suicide Squad movie with the previous one to see how things are pivoting in the opposite direction.

Even compare the direction that Marvel took with its TV properties on Netflix (Daredevil etc.) about 5 years ago, which were all Dark and Gritty, compared to the recently announced Disney Plus Marvel shows which are all Wild and Trippy.

Also look at how little interest audiences these days have in the Daniel Craig Bond films, which are still stuck in a 2005 Batman Begins mould, compared to the appeal of the brash and out-there Kingsman films which embrace the full-on sillyness of what the James Bond films used to be about.

The era of the dark and gritty reboot is over. The future belongs to the fun and colourful. Smile  

 

 

 

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Posted : December 13, 2020 7:24 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Nut
Posted by: @icarus

I don't see any reason to suspect they would make Narnia "darker and edgier" as that seems to be a cinematic trend which is about 10 years out of date.

If anything we should be wondering if they will make Narnia "brighter and wackier"

That's actually what I've been thinking too. But there were enough people bringing up the darker-and-edgier possibility that I thought it might be good to give it its own thread.

Incidentally, I actually don't think people should sit down to write a Narnia adaptation with either "this needs to be dark and edgy" or "this needs to be bright and fluffy" as their explicit goal. I think C. S. Lewis just wrote what he felt like when did Narnia. Sometimes that meant going to really dark and violent places and sometimes that meant going to really bright and whimsical places, and he didn't care whether it had a consistent "ness." 

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Topic starter Posted : December 13, 2020 7:47 pm
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Glenwit
(@glenwit)
NarniaWeb Nut

@col-klink

I think that's the most important thing.

The goal shouldn't be conforming the story to the tone.  It should be to conform the tone to the story (and a story can have darkness + levity; my personal hope for Netflix's Narnia is that, when a part of the story is especially dark, or especially comical, they are never afraid to GO FOR IT in that moment.  Whatever the moment!)

That being said....if Netflix was to have Father Christmas makes a surprise appearance during the battle and join in, I wouldn't even be mad - that would add some intentional comic relief to the battle, which would be markedly un-dark-and edgy (whereas moments in previous versions of the battle scene that people find funny are generally unintentionally so - and BBC, Walden + the animated LWW from the 1970s all have plenty, in my opinion). 

This is the journey
This is the trial
For the hero inside us all
I can hear adventure call
Here We Go

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Posted : December 14, 2020 4:19 pm
Courtenay liked
fantasia
(@fantasia)
Member Admin
Posted by: @col-klink

I thought it'd be interesting to discuss specific ways in which new adaptations could be darker than the books, and whether we'd like them.

I'm in the category of "darker is bad" because that's where Hollywood is right now. Dark and gritty and full of antiheros. But here's the thing, when Walden's PC came out, do you all remember what the BIGGEST criticism by far was from people who weren't fans of the books? It was the implied beheading of Miraz (I think. Maybe it was Sopespian.) Lots of moms who were like "I WOULD NEVER HAVE BROUGHT MY KID TO THE THEATER IF I HAD KNOWN THAT SCENE WAS IN THERE!!!!" And guess what? It was straight out of the book. 

If we're talking just LWW, the biggest thing they could play up is the wolf chase from the book. They kind of did it in Walden because the wolves actually caught up to them at the river, but any fan of suspense movies knows that it's the what MIGHT happen and what's left unseen is far scarier than what is seen. Will the wolves catch them? Will the White Witch cut them off before they reach Aslan? That can certainly be played up.
A big scene that Walden left out altogether was when she turns the little merry Christmas party to stone. 
The dynamic between Peter and Edmund can be played up.
The treatment Edmund receives from the White Witch is pretty dark and gritty. 
The Stone Table scene was (imho) done quite well in both BBC and Walden and I don't think you could add much there without becoming too gorey, but it's certainly a focus point for a dark movie.

At the end of the day though, some darkness is appropriate because LWW has truly dark moments! So I hope those are given their appropriate due, while countering it with some joy. Smile  

Posted by: @icarus

If anything we should be wondering if they will make Narnia "brighter and wackier".

Ugh... I think my soul just died a little reading this and knowing you're right. I cannot imagine Narnia translating into that style without being completely ruined. I've been proven wrong many times before, so maybe it could be done, but what's so bad about making a movie based off of the book (story, characters, and feel)!!! Tongue Worried  

@icarus, the irony of this is that the news posters recently ran across a rumor (probably fabricated out of thin air), that the director for Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi, has been tapped to direct one of the Narnia movies. 

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Posted : December 19, 2020 5:30 pm
Courtenay liked
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Friend of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @fantasia
Posted by: @icarus

If anything we should be wondering if they will make Narnia "brighter and wackier".

Ugh... I think my soul just died a little reading this and knowing you're right. I cannot imagine Narnia translating into that style without being completely ruined.  

I'm afraid I have seen just that done — in a stage version of LWW I saw in London almost exactly a year ago (yeah, back when we were able to go and watch live theatre and think nothing of being among crowds). Among other things I didn't enjoy about it, whoever directed this play seemed to have the idea that Narnia was supposed to be this bright, wacky, gaudy, rainbow-coloured, almost-'60s-psychedelic-looking place — at least once the White Witch's eternal winter started to break — and it was just totally overdone and felt nothing like the book at all. The most absurd part of it was that when the four children were crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia near the end, their crowns looked like giant flowerpots on their heads!! Shocked No, seriously... And yes, "completely ruined" would just about sum it up.

"Now you are a lioness," said Aslan. "And now all Narnia will be renewed."
(Prince Caspian)

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Posted : December 19, 2020 6:08 pm
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