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‘The Book C.S. Lewis Didn’t Write’?

Here is the quote, which NarniaWeb posted in news on Wednesday . “We were able to steal, really, from the book C.S. Lewis didn’t write, which is the one that would have gone between The Dawn Treader and The Silver […]
| Oct 22, 2010 | No comments |

Here is the quote, which NarniaWeb posted in news on Wednesday .

“We were able to steal, really, from the book C.S. Lewis didn’t write, which is the one that would have gone between The Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. He starts The Silver Chair with the witches [sic? perhaps ‘witch is’?] building up an army underground to attack the above world, and Caspian, having married The Blue Star […] is an old man with a son, and he married the Blue Star of Ramandu. In other words, a lot of things had happened between the books.”

To be sure, many Chronicles of Narnia book (and film) fans have been disturbed by this line. We have had such faith in Apted, who might have supervised a film that is based on a better book, and echoed its themes. Yet Narnia fans were already bothered about the film trailers clearly showing some clichéd modern-sounding dialogue (a plague infesting the first films, especially Prince Caspian), the White Witch, and more. And now this.

As a friend of mine quipped:

“The book C.S. Lewis never wrote”?

Last I checked, there’s a term for that: fanfiction.

Still, even a faithful book-to-film scriptwriter might need to write some “fanfiction” to make the transition. I don’t mind some changes — even some of the drastic alterations done to the Prince Caspian film — to ensure the story, its themes and characters, comes off as well in a film as it was in the book.

Yet such changes should make sense. Adding an already hackneyed object-oriented-fantasy-plot element such as “find the seven swords” (which in the trailer are even glowing blue, like Sting) seems unnecessary.

Here is the latest trailer, from which you might decide for yourself — and discuss, rationalize, grumble, or, of course, scream like poor Gollum.

E. Stephen Burnett explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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Rachel Starr Thomson
Member

Hmmm … if we apply our own imaginations really hard while in the theater, maybe we can go see the movie they didn’t film :).

I’m still planning to see the movie, but this really is disappointing. I don’t mind new stories, but then don’t title them after the old ones.

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

I’m not bothered at all by the movie “filling in the blanks.” It actually might be quite entertaining to see some of those things that we know happened fleshed out.

I’m more disturbed by what the trailer didn’t show. Have they gutted the Dawn Treader story in favor of their additions? Yes, it appears the Eustace thread is still there, but are they still looking for the missing lords of Narnia? Lucy finds the magician’s book, but are the Dufflepuds still part of the story?

The trailer makes me think the movie will be exciting and a fantasy-lover’s treasure. I’m just not it’s the same story, even with additions, as the one we who have read the books would expect.

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

OK, I watched the trailer One More Time, and I see the Dufflepuds are there. Still don’t know about the search for the missing Narnian lords, which was the point and purpose of the Dawn Treader’s voyage.

Nevertheless, I could force myself to watch it! 😉

Elisabeth
Guest
Elisabeth

I loved the trailer music and images! But when I remember the orginal story Lewis wrote, the cool images fall flat.
Is it about time to give up on these Narnia movies, or should I keep hoping? Sigh. I wonder what Lewis would say about these movies.

Heather
Guest

Seriously, how hard is it to stick to the original story?!?

Royce
Guest
Royce

I keep finding myself saying, despite the poor special effects, Wonderworks did a much better job transitioning the stories of Lewis to the screen than Walden Media.

Kaci Hill
Member

I think I’m the only one whose only gripe about Prince Caspian was turning Peter into a jerk. The Caspian/Peter thing was a bit too far, but that’s me. For a guy used to being a king, he’s behaving too much the child.

Ah well. Honestly, I loved Dawn Treader, and it’s only The Horse & His Boy I’m not a massive fan of. Except that Aravis is cool.

R. J. Anderson
Member

“I believe in extra-canonical ‘relationships’ as I believe that films are more hip than original stories: not only because I am a snob, but because by it I please fangirls.” — C.S. Lewis, from The Book C. S. Lewis Didn’t Write

I think I just broke a rib laughing.

I liked TLTW&TW a lot despite the changes made, because I felt the movie was true to the essence of the book. I did not like PRINCE CASPIAN because it fell into the Peter Jackson trap of endless fight scenes stretching an already long movie into bladder-exploding territory for no good reason whatsoever — but also because making Peter an arrogant jerk obsessed with being king made me SO ANGRY I wanted to scream and hurl my popcorn at the screen. I never want to see that movie again, unless somebody can come up with an edit which consists solely of Edmund Being Awesome (which would be a short film, but the material is definitely there).

I’m guessing that DAWN TREADER is going to fall somewhere in between the first two in terms of quality. I will sigh and roll my eyes a bit over the attempt to “enliven” an already good story by adding glowing swords and world-threatening dangers, but as long as the characterization is sound and Eustace’s transformation is well handled, I’ll probably be okay with it. I always did think Ramandu’s Daughter deserved more screen time, so to speak…

Kaci Hill
Member

Haha. The additional fight scene really didn’t bother me. It did a friend of mine – but I will admit that mostly it emphasized Peter’s rashness. I just think the rashness could have been done without the jerkiness. I did like the little bit where Edmund shatters the pane that Jadis is trying to come through.

I guess it’s that Peter the Magnificent was a bit of a faded glory. Edmund the Just, however, as you say, rocked.

Course, I think the most amusing Edmund/Caspian moment is in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

“I’m king!”
“I was king first!”
“But I am now!”
“My brother was High King Peter.”

Lucy: Oh, shut up already.

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[…] It would be great to get a disclaimer, but that same notion seems reflected in a quote last week from director Apted himself (which is repeated, with source, in that same Friday column). […]

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[…] the film, which will release Friday, Dec. 10 in the U.S., and last month director Michael Apted seemed to be saying that much of the film is based on material Lewis did not actually […]