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"C. S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia"

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"C. S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia"

Postby Paul F. Ford » 15 Jan 2007, 02:47

Disk Three of the four-disk extended version of Walden Media movie of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is entirely devoted to what I think is the best, most interesting, and most entertaining documentary about C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia yet made.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did help the writer/producer/director David Melvin and he did include interviews with me in all nine parts of the film. David playfully animated the coloured versions of Pauline Baynes's illustrations. He found wonderful children to read roles from the books and he hilariously captured Peter Cousin, the Oxford cabbie who takes people on Lewis tours.

I'd be interested in what you think of "C. S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia." I understand that the four-disk extended version will be on sale only until the end of January 2007.
Paul Ford—self-appointed president of the "245-3617 Club" and proud member of the "245-6317 Club"; author of the Companion to Narnia and the Pocket Companion to Narnia.
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Postby Maid of Ithilien » 15 Jan 2007, 03:14

Ooh, I'd better buy it! I tried to rent it and Blockbuster did not have it at all!
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Postby Ticket2theMoon » 15 Jan 2007, 03:49

I've got it, it's quite nice. Haven't watched the Lewis documentary yet, though, I'll have to do that.
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Postby carol » 15 Jan 2007, 09:34

Paul, I am very impressed by this "feature". It's a new approach to Lewis, his life and the books.

The mixture of material, youngsters doing "Reader's Theatre", animated Baynes illustrations, expert interviews and voice-over/narration is well balanced.

On Narniaweb, those who have bought the EE agree that it was worth buying it just for Disc 3.

Well done, everyone involved!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Postby A#minor » 15 Jan 2007, 17:53

Oooh, now you've got me all curious and I might just have to run out and buy the EE of a movie I already have!
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Postby engdevin » 21 Jan 2007, 19:16

Hello, Paul,

This is Devin Brown weighing in. I heartily agree that "Dreamer of Narnia" is the best, most interesting, and most entertaining documentary about C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia yet made.

It means that once and for all this ground (the life and words of CSL) has been covered and so documentary makers can and should take up other aspects of CSL.

In addition, I would claim that "Dreamer of Narnia" also provides us with the most awe-filled image of Aslan yet produced on film.

In a letter written to his friend Arthur Greeves, Lewis noted how ancient myths were “suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp.” The visual image of Aslan in this extraordinary documentary is able to suggest a power and a mystery which any representation of Aslan needs.

Can you (or anyone) shed a little more light on who made this wonderful video, who paid for it (it must have cost a fortune), and why there are no credits at the end?
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Postby Leslie » 21 Jan 2007, 20:55

I wasn't planning to get the EE, but now, I evidently have no choice!
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Postby nomad » 22 Jan 2007, 14:21

Thanks for the heads-up on the deadline, Paul. Will have to go find it straight away.
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Postby Adam Linton » 23 Jan 2007, 01:03

Thanks, Paul, for the heads-up.

Would the disc-three documentary be good for an adult Sunday School session (or sessions) do you think?

How long is it, by the way?

Thanks.

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Postby girlfreddy » 23 Jan 2007, 04:57

I just got the EE in the mail today, and had to watch disc 3 right away. It is truly great, and the cabbie is a wonderfully entertaining man. The imagery is beautiful, the people interviewed interesting and concise in their feelings towards Lewis and his writings, and the animated pictures are a joy to watch. A must-get, if possible, for everyone.
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Postby carol » 23 Jan 2007, 06:10

It's about an hour long. Paul, do you know anything more about who made it etc?
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Postby Esther » 23 Jan 2007, 06:54

Is there any chance that the documentary might become available on its own? I'd love to have it, but I'm really not interested in buying the entire EE.

On a similar note, the DVD "C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia" (which is being sold at Borders) should be avoided. It's less than an hour long, low-budget, and less-than-accurate on some minor details. At $14.99, it is not worth the price!
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Postby matdonna » 23 Jan 2007, 21:36

Actually, something I liked about Beyond Narnia is that a great deal of the material comes directly from Lewis's own words; and though it wasn't the filmmakers' choice to make it so brief-- that was Hallmark's decision-- I think they did pretty well given the strictures they had to work under. There were some nice humorous moments, too.

The director is Norman Stone, who did the original Shadowlands film (not the Anthony Hopkins one). Some of the scenes in Lewis's study were actually shot in his former home, the Kilns in Oxford, though IIRC an English house stood in for his Irish childhood home Little Lea.

I liked it. But I suppose I may be prejudiced, as my daughter appears in the film as a background performer... :pleased:

I enjoyed watching it once, but unless you are a big Lewis collector I can see you wouldn't want to pay 15 bucks or so to own it. If you doubt whether you want to pay that to buy, I would say sit tight and see if it re-airs prior to the release of the next Narnia movie.

oh, and I should add-- my daughter did rather like Dreamer of Narnia. I haven't seen it yet, have to borrow the new set from her.
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Postby Maid of Ithilien » 25 Jan 2007, 13:59

I just bought it--I've wanted to but not wanted to spend the money, but I leapt for it at Walmart this week, as it will stop being sold after January...Had to jump on the bandwagon :toothy-grin: I have not had time to watch it yet however. I am getting more and more interested in the Dreamer of Narnia documentary!!
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Postby Esther » 25 Jan 2007, 17:32

matdonna wrote:Actually, something I liked about Beyond Narnia is that a great deal of the material comes directly from Lewis's own words; and though it wasn't the filmmakers' choice to make it so brief-- that was Hallmark's decision-- I think they did pretty well given the strictures they had to work under. There were some nice humorous moments, too.

The director is Norman Stone, who did the original Shadowlands film (not the Anthony Hopkins one). Some of the scenes in Lewis's study were actually shot in his former home, the Kilns in Oxford, though IIRC an English house stood in for his Irish childhood home Little Lea.

I liked it. But I suppose I may be prejudiced, as my daughter appears in the film as a background performer... :pleased:

I enjoyed watching it once, but unless you are a big Lewis collector I can see you wouldn't want to pay 15 bucks or so to own it. If you doubt whether you want to pay that to buy, I would say sit tight and see if it re-airs prior to the release of the next Narnia movie.


Yes, maybe I was being a bit harsh. I think I was just expecting something more substantial. The level of production seemed to be geared towards children, and yet I'm not sure the actual information would be as appealing to children. The average ten-year old fan of Narnia isn't going to be able to fully understand or appreciate the issues involved with Lewis's conversion or the complexities of his marriage with Joy. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if they had taken their limited time and focused more on one aspect of his life, than try to cover his entire life in less than an hour. I suppose it could be very useful as a teaching tool if one were teaching a class on Lewis, as it would quickly acquaint people with the major points of his life, but as someone who has been reading and learning about Lewis for most of my life, I didn't feel it added anything to my knowledge or appreciation of Lewis.

Although, I will grant, the story of his relationship with Joy is touching and heart-rending now matter how it's told, and I did tear up a bit at that point. It just seemed as though the whole episode would be better as an extra feature on the DVD of the film (or something similar) rather than a whole DVD.
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