21 May 2011

Movie Series: Chronicles of Narnia

Chronicles of Narnia

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363771/  (TLtWatW)
Prince Caspian (2008) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499448/  (PC)
Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0980970/  (VotDT)

I recall reading the whole Narnia series of books ages ago. I sought out the first book, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (TLtWatW) after seeing the 1979 animated version. I liked the cartoon and it spurred me into reading the book. Then I collected the rest of the series and read those all too. The story telling was a bit more approachable for younger minds than Tolkien's works and Herbert's Dune series.

I enjoyed all the movie adaptations. I suppose TLtWatW looms giant in comparison to the PC and VotDT adaptations in scale - a heck of a lot more seems to happen in that first film, but it is a great start to put the viewer into Narnia and explain some of its history, history the later films depend on.

I just watched the most recent film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Ten minutes in and I realized I had very little memory at all of the Prince Caspian film. So I stopped watching, watched PC instead for refresher, then restarted VotDT.  There is a lot the later films don't explain because they proceed with the assumption you know who the Pevensies, Aslan, Narnia, and the White Queen are.  VotDT is especially dependent on its predecessors.

I like the cast continuity, just as with Harry Potter series. Lucy and Edmond grew the most between the films, which makes sense as they're the youngest two cast members.

With these films I expected to sit back and be entertained, just as with the books, and I was. Good solid fantasy stories with enough action and suspense for family viewing.  Just as with the Harry Potter series, this series would make for a great multi-night experience.  However I'd save the Harry Potter nights for a period of time right before seeing the last film in the theater, or if you're going to wait for the DVD/BluRay, make an event out of it then.  The Narnia series you can get started on now with this trio of films. 

I hope folks are inspired to read the book series - just as I hope folks were inspired to read the Harry Potter books, or Tolkien's books after watching the Lord of the Rings films.

There are whispers of The Magician's Nephew for 2014 and The Silver Chair for 2015.  I look forward to seeing those as well.  As both of these stories are relatively Pevensie-free there is no need to wait for them to have a multi-movie Narnia experience. Magician's Nephew will show the origins of Narnia. The Silver Chair brings back VotDT's Eustace.

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