Friday, January 23, 2009

One of the most inspired rotten kids...

Late last year Disney announced that it was pulling out of its deal with Walden to distribute a third film based on the Narnia books: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times explains why Disney broke the relationship, but also that hope for the next film is not lost.
.... Walden is moving ahead with plans to make a third book in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which will have a new director, Michael Apted, at the helm but much of the cast, including Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian), from the previous films. The book is said to be far more commercial than the last installment, being more of a classic boy's seagoing adventure story, complete with fantastic sights, dragons, wizards and sea serpents, not to mention Eustace Scrubb, who I hear on good authority is one of the most inspired rotten kids in English literature. The real fascinating question is: Who will release it? Walden could announce a new deal as early as later this week.

It doesn't have a lack of suitors. The studio with the inside track is 20th Century Fox, which has first dibs on the project, since it already markets and distributes Walden projects under its Fox-Walden banner. ....

.... If Fox passes, both Sony and Warners have expressed strong interest in the project. It would be a good fit for either studio, giving Sony something it hasn't had in recent years--a fantasy-oriented family franchise, while it could provide Warners with a ready-made family-oriented franchise to replace the soon-to-be completed "Harry Potter" series. Whatever happens, it seems likely that "Narnia" fans will soon have another chance to visit the enchanted world of Narnia and other distant lands.
At the same paper, Mary McNamara, in an open letter to Disney, explained why their decision wasn't very smart:
.... So, part two, Prince Caspian, didn't make a gazillion dollars. What a surprise. Prince Caspian was always the dud, relatively speaking, of the series. For fans who read and reread "The Chronicles of Narnia," it was the one you could skip. The fact that Prince Caspian the movie did as well as it did was a miracle, and a testament to the filmmakers. It certainly did not have the built-in, can't-wait draw of the first Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Or, more important, of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is, hands down, the best book of the series, the one inevitably most dog-eared or lost entirely from the boxed set because in reading it for the 98th time, you left it in the backyard right before it rained or lent it to your cousin who lives in Virginia. ....

Cinematically, Dawn Treader is a no-brainer. It's a sea voyage, for Pete's sake. There's a dragon and missing knights and a wizard and all manner of magic involved. The moral ambiguity of slavery, the deleterious effect of great wealth, the meaning of the afterlife are all dealt with in entertaining and thrilling ways. Aslan barely makes an appearance, so you don't even need to worry about Liam's schedule.

Peter and Susan are gone, and in their place is the irritating cousin, Eustace Scrubb, one of the more inspired and believable rotten kids in English literature -- a career maker for some lucky young actor. Imagine the big-screen possibilities of the trip to the Island of Dreams or the battle with the sea serpent. Not to mention all the subsequent merchandising opportunities. Reepicheep is back, in a big way, and if you can't earn your investment back in Reepicheep plushies and pajamas, then, honestly, you aren't really trying. ....
The secret history of why Disney dumped 'Narnia' | The Big Picture | Los Angeles Times, A 'Chronicles of Narnia' voyage Disney should take - Los Angeles Times

1 comment:

  1. Great news! and it all makes sense.

    Silver Chair is still many favorite and may not make a great movie.

    But Dawn Treader is sure to be a hit.


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