May 03, 2005

The Wonderful World of 'Narnia'

USA Today wrote up an article (also a Newsweek article) on the upcoming Narnia Movies ... a few interesting bits:
Just as The Little Mermaid rescued Disney animation from going off the deep end in 1989, Narnia aspires to restore the studio's legacy as the leading maker of all-ages, live-action escapism. And in the nick of time. With its house-brand animation in decline and its partnership with Pixar (The Incredibles) in disrepair, Disney's family entertainment crown has lost its luster.

Isn’t that true, Disney’s been in a downward spiral as of late (and just think they own the network that airs “Desperate Housewives”) It makes me wonder what Walt would think about what his company has become --- but of course, can’t really say what he would think. All in all I hope this does help Disney out since if it does, they will hopefully return to their roots.

The tales also are infused with Christian allegory, and the heroic Aslan is meant as a Christ figure, a redeemer who resurrects in triumph. The challenge: to attract the spiritual-minded moviegoer without turning off the secular crowd.

Disney, along with other studios, has often courted the so-called faith community when the appropriate movie comes along, including such religious-themed comedies as Sister Act or uplifting sports dramas like The Rookie. But since the advent of box-office sensation The Passion of the Christ, such wooing has become a science. For that reason, Disney and Walden have hired Motive Marketing, the company that oversaw The Passion's outreach program, to assist them.

"It is natural that the press will manufacture more importance about the religious significance than is our intent," says Dennis Rice, the studio's vice president of publicity. "We are not going to reach out to one group over the expense of another, but embrace and acknowledge the fans of a very important piece of literature."

Interesting --- hire the marketer for the Passion? Ha, not exactly the same market is it --- I mean they might both be Christians but one was very much *not* a children’s movie (very much R rated and gruesome) and this one is a classic children’s tale! That’ll be interesting.

Faithfulness to the source will likely be of higher importance than faith itself. That is where Adamson comes in. Much as director and fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson used his own love of Tolkien as a guide to bring the Rings trilogy to the screen, Adamson, 38, is relying on the good-vs.-evil battle that unfolded in his imagination as he read the books as an 8-year-old.

I really hope this is true, there are lots of subtle (and not so subtle) connections Lewis makes in these books that is just stellar, and if that’s lost it will be sad. That said, I can’t wait to see how they pull off the Beavers (without making them look really stupid) --- ha.

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