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Dear God .. who's responsible for THIS mess?

Please don't close the door behind you.

Postby rusmeister » 03 Jan 2007, 04:32

I'll just say that at the time the animation was par for the course, no one else was making anything out of Lewis or Narnia, and I liked it a lot. I was a kid, but it was thrilling to watch.
Part of the reason for some of the reaction to that film is bound to be that we are literally spoiled by modern special effects, animation, technology in general and our expectations. Special effects have become more important than the story. If you set aside the crappy animation, it's an outstanding story! (But then, we knew that.)

Russians absolutely ADORE this extremely primitive animated version of the Brementown Musicians. When I watched it as an adult student of Russian it (the quality of animation, most particularly) made me want to barf, but to Russians, it's their childhood and they see it through an emotional lens. I guess that's how I feel about this one.
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Postby Larry W. » 03 Jan 2007, 12:28

I don't think animated versions are necessarily bad, but the 1979 cartoon didn't seem very authentic to me, with the appearance of the children not much like they are in the book, lack of beautiful backgound scenery (wihich the 1977 Hobbit film did quite artistically). How would people have liked a version done with marionette puppets (like Gerry Anderson's) or claymation? It doesn't matter what the medium is, just so it presents the story in a tasteful way close to what Lewis intended in his books.

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Postby carol » 04 Jan 2007, 07:11

Sven wrote:Why do you say he didn't see the series?


Because I misread the J in your quote!!!! :blush:

I thought it was an "I".

Sunday 10th September (1967)
This evening we had the final Television installment of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hope the listener response will be large enough to encourage ATV to do some of the others, for this production has been admirable both as regards acting and production, not a jarring note from start to finish. How I wish J could have seen it!
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Postby Larry W. » 04 Jan 2007, 10:33

I wonder if seeing it would have changed Jack's mind about not having any dramatizations of his books. Some authors, such as L. Frank Baum in The Wizard of Oz were directly involved in the making of films based on their books.

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Postby ArdenZ » 04 Jan 2007, 19:58

I remember watching this version at school when I was in first grade (if I remember correctly). I didn't really associated it with the books for some reason. I always thought it was different story as I didn't see the connection. It wasn't until later that I realize, "Hey, that was LWW!"
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Postby Sven » 04 Jan 2007, 21:08

Larry W. wrote:I wonder if seeing it would have changed Jack's mind about not having any dramatizations of his books.


Lewis did approve of one dramatization, Lance Sieveking's six 40 minute episode radio play of LWW. To the best of my knowledge, alas, not only are there no copies of the broadcasts still around, but I don't think there are any copies of the script (which Lewis had final approval over).

C. S. Lewis wrote:18 December 1959

Dear Sieveking
(Why do you 'Dr.' me? had we not dropped the honorifics?) As things worked out, I wasn't free to hear a single installment of our serial except the first. What I did hear, I approved. I shd. be glad for the series to be given abroad.

But I am absolutely opposed -adamant isn't in it!- to a TV. version. Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography. Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) wd. be another matter. A human, pantomime, Aslan wd. be to me blasphemy. All the best.
Yours
C. S. Lewis

Collected Letters, volume 3


As the excerpt from Warnie's diary I put in above says, his older brother thought that he would have liked the 'pantomime' version that they ended up doing. Jack Lewis says he wouldn't mind a cartoon version, as for the particular cartoon version that is the subject of this thread, who knows?

Would he have considered the movie version to be pantomime or cartoon is anyone's guess. I have my own reasons for thinking he wouldn't have cared for the movie version, but I can't defend them from anything in writing. I think the movie was done too well, and he would have seen it as stealing the chance for any child who saw it to picture a Narnia and an Aslan in her/his own imagination. But, that's just, as the saying goes, IMHO.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Postby robsia » 04 Jan 2007, 21:14

Well, Jack probably pictured a man in a lion suit. Our current level of technology I think produces an end result that he might well have been impressed with.
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Postby DavidL » 15 Jan 2007, 19:00

Hi this is my first post on this forum so forgive me if I transgress any rule of etiquette.

The animated version does have it's faults, in particular the animation is too cartoonish, almost like Tom and Jerry at some points. And the Pevensies do not look the way I imagined them from the book.


But despite that I really prefer it over the recent Disney/Walden version (it's just my opinion, please don't kill me!) The recent movie strayed too far from the spirit of the book by diminishing the power and authority of Aslan. It made it seem as though Aslan and the Witch were on the same level so embracing a dualism that would have horrified Lewis. Whatever other faults the animated version has it cannot be accused of that.
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Postby Erekose » 15 Jan 2007, 19:48

The Heretic Bids You Welcome

Well spoken.

The Film had very good imagery, but like you said tended to waver a bit from the spirit of the book.

I seem to recall seeing the animation years ago, and your description does seem to fit my recollection.


What we REALLY need is to work on this Revolution where we Wardrobians take over Pine/Holly Wood and start making these films as they SHOULD be done not as the producers THINK the viewers would like to see them done.

i.e. keep up the quality of imagery and dispense with dialogue alterations.. (inserted "flash-back" type cuts allowed for reason of plot developments which might be clearer in the writted version.

/me seems to recall the takeover of the film studios/companies was discussed in a place far far away in a time long long ago
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Postby Pete » 15 Jan 2007, 22:46

DavidL wrote:The recent movie strayed too far from the spirit of the book by diminishing the power and authority of Aslan. It made it seem as though Aslan and the Witch were on the same level so embracing a dualism that would have horrified Lewis. Whatever other faults the animated version has it cannot be accused of that.


Diminishing the power and authority of Aslan?? :??: I know the new movie has its faults, but aren't you looking a bit too deeply into both the boo and especially the movie, David...? :undecided:
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Postby DavidL » 15 Jan 2007, 23:52

Pete wrote:
DavidL wrote:The recent movie strayed too far from the spirit of the book by diminishing the power and authority of Aslan. It made it seem as though Aslan and the Witch were on the same level so embracing a dualism that would have horrified Lewis. Whatever other faults the animated version has it cannot be accused of that.


Diminishing the power and authority of Aslan?? :??: I know the new movie has its faults, but aren't you looking a bit too deeply into both the boo and especially the movie, David...? :undecided:


I don't think so Pete. One of the scenes from the movie that first made me think of this was when they met Father Christmas, who said it was the hope the Pevensies brought that was weakening the Witch's power. But the book makes it clear it was the power of Aslan that was destroying the Witch's winter. That's a pretty major difference.

I don't want to be too hard on the Disney/Walden film because I did mostly enjoy it. And I'm not a purist insisting on a word for word adaption because there were some changes and additons to the story I did like. One that especially pleased me was the scene with Lucy and Tumnus in his cave. When Lucy seems to be hypnotised by the flute and we see the images in the fire there is a sudden intervention by Aslan that rouses Lucy and makes Tumnus reconsider. That was not in the book but fits in very well with what Lewis intended us to understand about Aslan's omnipotence and omniscience.
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Postby Pete » 16 Jan 2007, 00:01

DavidL wrote:I don't think so Pete. One of the scenes from the movie that first made me think of this was when they met Father Christmas, who said it was the hope the Pevensies brought that was weakening the Witch's power. But the book makes it clear it was the power of Aslan that was destroying the Witch's winter. That's a pretty major difference.


Yeah, I understand, I agree with you there.

DavidL wrote:One that especially pleased me was the scene with Lucy and Tumnus in his cave. When Lucy seems to be hypnotised by the flute and we see the images in the fire there is a sudden intervention by Aslan that rouses Lucy and makes Tumnus reconsider. That was not in the book but fits in very well with what Lewis intended us to understand about Aslan's omnipotence and omniscience.


This is one of the few changes from the book that I found quite powerful also. As well as (as I explained in another thread) the scene where Edmund is in the dungeon - after all, I think it says a lot about what becomes of falling for the White Witch's deceptions.
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Postby Larry W. » 18 Jan 2007, 12:08

I don't know if I would say the movie diminished the power of Aslan so much as it seemed to keep him more in the background than it should have. The Lion, as the true King of Beasts, dominates the scenes on the other versions, though I don't think he looks very majestic in the cartoon-- too much like the Saturday morning cartoons we used to watch when we were kids. Why have Aslan look like Bugs Bunny? I did like the puppet used in the BBC Narnia because at least it looked something like a real lion, although the only problem with it was that was the mouth movements didn't work very well with his speech. I liked the voice though (as much as I liked his voice in Adamson's movie)-- it made a good lion and was more pleasing to listen to than Focus on the Family's Aslan.

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Postby BeeLayne » 18 Jan 2007, 16:59

What we REALLY need is to work on this Revolution where we Wardrobians take over Pine/Holly Wood and start making these films as they SHOULD be done not as the producers THINK the viewers would like to see them done.


Oh, yes, let's do!

I liked the voice though (as much as I liked his voice in Adamson's movie)-- it made a good lion and was more pleasing to listen to than Focus on the Family's Aslan.


I have a hard time listening to the FotF versions because of that voice.
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Postby Robert Klemic » 30 Apr 2007, 23:00

Does anyone here have a copy of the third volume of the collected letters handy? I'm doing a term paper on the history of the Chronicles and noticed that letter from the 3rd volume that was quoted on page 3 of this thread. Sadly my local library system, nor my university library has the book in their collection so I can't find the page number to cite in my paper. This paper is due on Wednsday so I need this page information quickly.
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