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Greta Gerwig to direct Narnia movies?

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Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @jasmine_tarkheena

For instance, The Magician's Nephew shouldn't have a big helicopter shot of London or even Charn. Instead, it should focus on the emotion of the two children.

OK, this is controversial, but I want big helicopter shots of London and Charn, especially the latter. It's a great location and The Magician's Nephew is the only thing in which we'll ever see it. Let's get a good look. I don't see Narnia and spectacle as being antithetical. In fact, I'd say they go together nicely. MN contains the scene of Narnia being created, which is all about spectacle. (Well, spectacle and sound.) 

This post was modified 1 week 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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Posted : November 23, 2022 9:30 am
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@col-klink Big helicopter shots, apart from being anachronistic in both MN and LWW, would have to show London as it was in 1900 and 1940. So they'd be based on old photos, and probably CGI. 

Even I can think of better scenic openings, shots of English seaside and countryside (the two places they are mentioned as NOT in), then a rather industrial city, and a suburban garden... 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : November 23, 2022 12:14 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @coracle

@col-klink Big helicopter shots, apart from being anachronistic in both MN and LWW, would have to show London as it was in 1900 and 1940. So they'd be based on old photos, and probably CGI. 

What wrong with showing London as it as in 1900 and 1940? I mean I realize it would be super expensive...but, good Narnia adaptations of any kind would have to be somewhat expensive. Giggle Also The Sound of Music, set in the 30s, features some big helicopter shots and I've never heard people complain about those.

I think it would be great when Digory and Polly are entering Charn to have shots looking down on them from the upper story windows of buildings. It might make the viewer wonder if there actually people are there spying on them. 

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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Posted : November 23, 2022 12:38 pm
coracle
(@coracle)
NarniaWeb's Auntie Moderator

@col-klink I believe the Sound of Music shots were a bit of a clever combination of landscape photos and long shots. It didn't however require any buildings to be historically accurate as there were none in the mountains! 😀 

I'm not opposed to shots of London. They happen all the time, especially as a signpost for the audience. CGI is fine by me.

 

 

There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
"...when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."

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Posted : November 23, 2022 1:28 pm
LentenLands
(@lentenlands)
NarniaWeb Newbie

Unless they go for a somewhat abstract visual style, any Narnia adaptation will feature some kind of visual effects work. 

Even a comparatively "realistic" setting like Jadis' London rampage would still require a ton of stunt work and CGI to erase modern features present in the location where they film it.

And if they don't even shoot it on a real UK location, they may even have to add elements onscreen. 

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Posted : November 25, 2022 7:36 am
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee

I've been mostly out of it for a couple of weeks, having been away, and I'd only just caught this rumour before I left, so I hope no-one will mind me asking — has there been any further news or actual confirmation? I mean, do we know now that Greta Gerwig is definitely going to direct two Narnia movies? Or is it all still just unconfirmed speculation, which it was at the last I heard?

Posted by: @col-klink

The thing that people find most offensive about Christianity, modern people anyway, is loving other people being only the second greatest commandment and loving God being the greatest.

Just as a largely off-topic side note, I've never once heard of this as a complaint against Christianity (and I've personally encountered plenty of hostility towards my faith, including from my own family). Considering Jesus' commandments to his followers also include "whatever you want others to do to you, do the same to them"; "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who abuse you and persecute you"; "love one another as I have loved you" — and one of his followers, quite possibly his closest disciple, wrote "If someone doesn't love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" — anyone who's picked up the notion that loving God first means not loving one's fellow human beings... must have a very wrong impression of Christianity, as far as I can see. But as I said, that's off topic and I can't quite see how it ties in with a screen production of Narnia.

Regardless of who directs the Narnia Netflix productions — if they do get made — my main concern (as I've said before) is that they should be in keeping with the spirit of the original books, even if some changes are made to the plots for whatever reasons. The 2005 Walden film of LWW was technically very good and largely followed the storyline of the book, but it was so completely out of touch with the feel of the book that I was practically writhing in my seat in the theatre by the end of it, and I have had no desire to watch it since and won't touch the two later films (famously less true to the books) with a bargepole. And if Netflix does make Narnia productions and they're just as far from actually "being" Narnia to me as that film was, I'll completely ignore their existence thereafter as well!! My concern with any adaptation that strays too far from the original is that people who haven't read the books will watch it and think that this is Narnia — or whatever story it may be — when it's not. But there's nothing one can do about that, sadly.

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

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Posted : November 27, 2022 2:39 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @courtenay

I've never once heard of this as a complaint against Christianity (and I've personally encountered plenty of hostility towards my faith, including from my own family).

To explain it, I'd have go into a lot of issues, which wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with this topic and it would probably offend people. LOL Suffice to say, they don't actually describe their problems with the faith that way, but if you really analyze they're issues, that's the underlying thing. If anyone's really interested, feel free to message me, but I am grateful to Rose-Tree Dryad for giving me an opportunity to mention that because I do think it relates to problems secular artists might have adapting the Narnia books and I think I was able to write about it without offending anyone. (Unless you were offended Courtenay, as opposed to just confused or skeptical. If so, I'm sorry.) 

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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Posted : November 27, 2022 4:18 pm
Courtenay
(@courtenay)
NarniaWeb Guru Hospitality Committee

@col-klink I still don't understand the implication here, which (if I'm reading rightly) is essentially "the underlying reason why people don't like Christianity is that it teaches you should love God first and people second". I've never known anyone — Christian or non-Christian — to sum up Christianity that way, implicitly or explicitly. Particularly as Jesus himself makes clear, when asked what the "greatest commandment" is (in Matt. 22 and Mark 12), that the second one is like the first — implying that it follows directly from the first and the two can't be separated. There's also nowhere in the Gospels that he makes any exception to that commandment of "love your neighbour as yourself". I've never yet encountered a critic of Christianity who took any of this as a problem. But as we've both said, going into an extended discussion on this would be way off topic and could get very controversial — and most likely would breach some community rules, too, as I'm pretty sure this isn't meant to be a forum for theological debates. But I can assure you, no, I wasn't offended at all!

Back on topic again, I've now listened to the recent Talking Beasts podcast on this subject (the Greta Gerwig rumour), and it sounds like it still is very much unconfirmed. I found it intriguing, though, that while she's not religious herself, she has some background in theology and she seems to have a sincere interest in religion as an important part of people's stories. That could potentially be a positive thing for the director of a Narnia adaptation. The Narnia books aren't openly "religious" and they were never intended to be some kind of Christian tract in disguise (though I've seen both theists and atheists interpret them that way); they're fantasy adventure stories with an underlying Christian basis. There are only a few brief places in them where the specifically Christian message is really explicit (the only two I can think of are Aslan's "there I have another name" speech at the end of Dawn Treader and, of course, the ending of The Last Battle).

Otherwise, all the core ideas and values being promoted in the Chronicles are ones that most people of any religion or no religion can appreciate. These books wouldn't have survived as "children's classics" for 70+ years if they appealed only to people who are committed Christians. So I would say there's plenty of scope for a director who's not personally religious to make something out of them that has broad appeal but doesn't lose sight of the basic ethos of the books. I hope so, at least.

I was also just now thinking of the scene where Digory resists Jadis's temptation to take the apple to heal his mother, which I think you cited earlier as a potentially controversial episode from this standpoint of "Christians are meant to love God more than they love people" (if I'm reading it right). For me, that is possibly the most heart-wrenching scene in all the books and I'd be very surprised if any open-minded reader, even a non-religious one, interpreted it negatively (unless they're so anti-theist and anti-Narnia that they interpret EVERYTHING in the Narnia books as a bad influence). In the context of the story, we already know that Jadis is not a good character and anything she suggests to Digory as a worthwhile idea will be the opposite (this is the woman who instantly slaughtered every living being in her own world in preference to losing her rulership, don't forget). And Aslan confirms to Digory afterwards that stealing the apple would not have brought joy to his mother, but would have left her wishing she'd died from that illness. He — Aslan — then unexpectedly reverses the whole situation by granting that Digory's mother is healed after all.

The message I take from that is that evil tempts us to do things that look attractive and that suggest this will get us what we truly want, but it only brings sorrow and regret in the end — while obeying a higher sense of goodness can be very difficult and can sometimes mean sacrificing our most cherished human hopes, but it brings greater rewards than we could have dreamed of. That's a message that you don't have to be specifically Christian to understand and relate to, and it's something that a non-religious and open-minded director would likely have no problem with handling. Like in The Lord of the Rings (also written by a Christian with an underlying Christian ethos), the themes and values here are pretty much universal, while quietly — for those who are alert to it — pointing to something (or someOne) even higher.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how things pan out if this rumour has any truth behind it, that's for sure...

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

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Posted : November 27, 2022 5:20 pm
Col Klink liked
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @courtenay

Otherwise, all the core ideas and values being promoted in the Chronicles are ones that most people of any religion or no religion can appreciate. These books wouldn't have survived as "children's classics" for 70+ years if they appealed only to people who are committed Christians. So I would say there's plenty of scope for a director who's not personally religious to make something out of them that has broad appeal but doesn't lose sight of the basic ethos of the books. I hope so, at least.

FWIW, I was mainly talking about another work of fiction by C. S. Lewis, which I shouldn't have been doing since it was technically off topic, but I just love Till We Have Faces so much. (When I first mentioned it, I was following a train of thought about why the Narnia books didn't seem like Gerwig's kind of thing. It occurred to me that C. S. Lewis had actually written something that would fit her style to an extent and I thought it might be interesting to mention that, but then I remembered that a major part of it would be a hard sell for her and I felt like I had to mention that. This is why my posts and comments are so long. Tongue ) I actually agree with you on the whole that the Narnia books can be and, more importantly, are enjoyed by readers with different worldviews and I don't like to say that a non-Christian artist couldn't do a faithful adaptation, especially since it sounds rather snobby.

That being said, I do think there are some themes of the books that a non-Christian director would feel guilty about including in a movie. Maybe a better example than the Magician's Nephew thing would be the heroes having to obey Aslan at the risk of their own lives at the climax of The Silver Chair. Modern people prefer stories where the heroes save the day by defying authority figures and following their instincts, not doing what they're told even though it feels very wrong. I know you, Courtenay, listen to the Talking Beasts podcast and book fans on it have criticized the Walden Media movies for focusing more on the heroism of the leads than on Aslan. That's probably a good example and the fact that none of them were directed by Gerwig should show I'm not ragging on her specifically. It's a general issue.

P.S.

What we were saying about the Narnia books being enjoyable for non-Christians actually applies to the first two thirds or so of Till We Have Faces too. If anything, it's less likely to turn them off than Narnia. But the ending and overall philosophy are far more "offensive" in their Christianity than anything in Narnia. And I promise that's the last time I'll bring up that book. Giggle  

This post was modified 5 days 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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Posted : November 27, 2022 6:53 pm
Jasmine
(@jasmine_tarkheena)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @courtenay
 
Regardless of who directs the Narnia Netflix productions — if they do get made — my main concern (as I've said before) is that they should be in keeping with the spirit of the original books, even if some changes are made to the plots for whatever reasons. The 2005 Walden film of LWW was technically very good and largely followed the storyline of the book, but it was so completely out of touch with the feel of the book that I was practically writhing in my seat in the theatre by the end of it, and I have had no desire to watch it since and won't touch the two later films (famously less true to the books) with a bargepole.

I've seen all three of the Walden movies, and own them on DVD. They are good in themselves, and the acting is well done. The visuals are even impressive. But that is to say, they're not perfect. I am glad the Walden movies exist to an extent. The third was more of a hit-miss in comparison to the first two. My main criticism (along with other Narnia fans) was the Green mist! Angry  

Some might have felt the same about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that it wasn't like the books, but that's kind of besides the point.

Posted by: @courtenay

And if Netflix does make Narnia productions and they're just as far from actually "being" Narnia to me as that film was, I'll completely ignore their existence thereafter as well!! My concern with any adaptation that strays too far from the original is that people who haven't read the books will watch it and think that this is Narnia — or whatever story it may be — when it's not. But there's nothing one can do about that, sadly.

As for Netflix or any other company that decides to adapt Narnia is taken far from the plot, I might watch it just for entertainment purposes, like the other adaptions. Though I think you kind of have to accept that they're going have to make changes. You kind of have to keep in mind that filmmakers are people, too. We tend to hit on what they might do.

You can't do exactly word for word from book to screen. Think of it as writing a research paper for school: you have to get information from books or encyclopedias or even online. While you don't want to stray too far from the original sources, you can't write your research paper word for word from whatever you got your information. Adapting a book to screen is kind of the same idea. You want to follow the book closely, but it still has to be in your own words.

Well, to get back on track, I think if Greta Gerwig is the director, she sure would have a lot of challenges ahead of her. Perhaps the big one is to get the character of Aslan right (sure, we want all of the Narnia characters to be done right, but Aslan is probably the biggest). Getting the character of Aslan right is a hard task. So she has a lot of challenges ahead of her.

This post was modified 3 days ago by Jasmine

"And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me beloved."
(Emeth, The Last Battle)
https://escapetoreality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/aslan-and-emeth2.jpg

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Posted : November 27, 2022 7:15 pm
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