An Animated Narnia Film Series?

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An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 14, 2014 12:53 am

A few days ago, I was watching Disney's short film Paperman and was struck by how much I would love to see the Chronicles of Narnia brought to life as glorious animated films someday. The Narnia books have enjoyed such enduring popularity over the years, and I think the idea of a reboot as animated movies at some point is definitely possible.

Do you think that the Chronicles of Narnia series would translate into animation well? Would you like to see them in traditional 2D animation, or do you think that 3D animation has progressed to a point where it could do justice to the rich and beautiful world of Narnia? Or would you rather it fall somewhere in between, such as the style of animation in Paperman, which is a hybridized 2D and 3D animated film? Is there an animated film currently in existence that you feel has just the right look for a Narnia movie?
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 14, 2014 5:07 am

Yes, making the Narnia series into animation would be worth seeing. The old animated copy of LWW is still good to see, but is a bit dated. And there are some Narnia movies never made yet, not even with real characters rather than animation.

However, I've got the feeling that anything produced for a movie will have to be done in 3D, otherwise people won't go to it. That includes animation. People go to the movies to see something they can't see at home. For a couple of dollars extra you get these plastic spectacles to watch the 3D version and we can usually keep them for another visit to the movies.

Even at home, you can get 3D televisions to watch your 3D movies, but it is necessary to have matching electronic spectacles that can be recharged to watch anything in 3D. 3D Blu-ray is usually a 3D copy plus an ordinary version. It gets quite confusing sometimes, and it isn't surprising if most people still watch 2D copies of the DVD's.

However, I think that the rest of the Narnia books will be done with real actors, to match whatever has been done already.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Ryadian » Jul 15, 2014 10:58 am

Admittedly, I'm very biased--I often prefer animated movies/TV to live action anyways. ;)) But yes, I would really enjoy seeing an animated take on the Narnia stories. Honestly, I think that it might be easier to get a faithful adaptation of the Narnia books if it were animated instead of live action.

For one thing, I think that with animated movies are generally targeted at the right demographic--namely, children, but the good ones are designed for adults as well. I'm not saying that animated movies are strictly for children, but they usually are made primarily for them. As such, Hollywood is more inclined to let animated movies more fully engage in fantasy without feeling the need to second-guess its "realism". Regardless, there's a wealth of very imaginative but mature animated movies out there--look no farther than Pixar! It'd be nice if, like the books themselves, the movies were made for children, but without sacrificing the richness (and occasional darkness) of the stories and world for the sake of making it "easier for them to understand"--that is what has always made the Narnia books worthwhile.

I also think that it would be easier to get some of the visual effects in an animated setting than live action. For example, there's the White Witch. In animation, it wouldn't be that difficult to get her to look completely pale, whereas in live action it's difficult to get that without excessive make-up and/or CGI, and even then not necessarily achieving the right look. Another example is the talking animals. At this point, the best way to make them in live action movies is to use CGI--either on just their faces (such as with talking horses--I think that was just the face, anyways) or with the whole creature (like with Reepicheep and the beavers). While it didn't look terrible, it still makes the talking animals look completely different from all the other characters, as well as other animals. In an animated movie, you wouldn't have quite so much of that.

Oh, and another added bonus--we wouldn't have to worry quite as much about how much the children's actors would age between movies. ;)

Like I said, I'm very biased in this matter, but I would be really excited about an animated Narnia series at some point, in the hands of a studio/director that would do them justice. :)


waggawerewolf27 wrote:However, I've got the feeling that anything produced for a movie will have to be done in 3D, otherwise people won't go to it. That includes animation.


Sadly true. :( I really would prefer traditional 2D animation for a potential Narnia movie, since I think that computer animated movies still often look like everything is made of plastic or clay. I really wouldn't want The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to be animated with the same kinds of effects/visuals they used for Frozen. /:) Unfortunately, like you said, most studios would go for 3D animation; it's just cheaper and, these days, seems to bring in more viewers.

Then again, who knows how far in the future it would be before anyone would try to make these movies again? Maybe by then, technology will have improved, and making a 3D Narnia movie would look just as good as a 2D one. :)
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 15, 2014 12:13 pm

Amen to all of your points about the benefits of animated films, Rya! :ymapplause:

Ryadian wrote:Then again, who knows how far in the future it would be before anyone would try to make these movies again? Maybe by then, technology will have improved, and making a 3D Narnia movie would look just as good as a 2D one. :)


That's my hope. I doubt that we could expect an animated reboot for at least another ten years or so, but by the time 2025 rolls around, I'm thinking that 3D animation will have improved dramatically. While Paperman is nothing like what I'd like to see in a Narnia film from a stylistic standpoint, the underlying technology seems to be quite promising. I'd imagine that all of its kinks will probably be ironed out a decade from now.

Unfortunately, it seems like nobody is making 2D animated feature films in America anymore. I don't know if the plethora of 3D animated releases is mainly due to the popularity of the style or if it's because they're less expensive to make nowadays, but hopefully we'll see a resurgence in 2D animated feature films in the upcoming years, either because the public has tired of 3D animated movies or because new technology makes a return to 2D much more attractive for filmmakers.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 15, 2014 2:07 pm

I enjoyed Paperman and some of the Disney 2D animated feature films...and some 3D animated films though I'm having difficulty imagining the 3D style lending itself to a serious treatment without being inundated with modern-style humor... What I'd like to see would look more like The Secret of Kells.

I've also thought I wouldn't mind seeing an anime style version of the Chronicles... though some of the stylized horses I've seen are cringe-worthy, but as characters the design for them might be more refined.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 15, 2014 2:27 pm

Oooh, The Secret of Kells! That film has such an amazing look to it. That's a great idea, Meltintalle.

Other animated films I can think of that have a more general look that could work well would be Disney's Sleeping Beauty, The Black Cauldron, and even The Sword and the Stone. That last film had a very interesting style that made the movie look almost as though sketches were coming to life. An animated Narnia film that lies somewhere between those films and the heavily stylized art in The Secret of Kells would be awesome.

I wouldn't mind seeing an anime style version of CoN, either. I think that could be really, really cool.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 15, 2014 2:48 pm

Sleeping Beauty was the other film that sort of leaped to mind when thinking of what the Chronicles might look like. Or maybe101 Dalmations?
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby CorazonBandido55 » Jul 16, 2014 10:39 pm

I think Narnia would translate very well to an animated feature. Especially given some of the fantastical elements of the Narnian world. But there are two reasons I am against this:

1. The Narnia films have already started to be adapted to a live action film. Not only had there already been so much effort put into real action across three films, but by switching to animated films, it would create a disconnect between the existing films. This would in turn feel like a "step down" from the previous films, making less studios willing to help finance the franchise. Narnia needs all the momentum it can get.

2. Animated films are still expensive. In fact, a lot of times more expensive than live action films. These animated films typically range from $150-$200 million. With that much money, you can still make a live action film with lavish CGI. Silver Chair may not need heavy CGI, while an animated film will need a large animation team regardless. It would be a more expensive way to go.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Jul 17, 2014 4:39 am

That is to say, apart from Puddleglum, Owls, the landing place at Cair Paravel and maybe Aslan, not to mention Giants, Earthmen and maybe Bism, the animation might not be as huge in Silver Chair as in other productions. But don't forget the great transfiguration of LOTGK at the end from a woman into a snake.

However, I still agree with you Corazon Bandido. Sometimes animation can seem rather overdone. Animated characters can do fantastical things, but sometimes that ability to make it look fantastical might ruin a movie with exaggerated and unrealistic action. I think that live acting might be easier to relate to.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Reepicheep775 » Jul 17, 2014 8:07 am

I think Narnia is much better suited to animation than live action. Two major problems with the current film series are 1) Turning the movies into fantasy action stories which the books just aren't and 2) The constant need to drive the plot forward. I feel like with animation these problems would be lessened.

It would be easier for audiences to accept Narnia as a fairy tale if it was animated. When you have swords, creatures etc. in a live action movie there are certain expectations that it has to be an action film. I don't see that expectation being there for an animated film.

I can see the second problem being averted by using a style similar to Hayao Miyazaki. In the Miyazaki films that I have seen, the movie isn't driven forward by plot per se, but by a moment-by-moment mesmirization of what's onscreen. They have time to breathe. Fantasia is another good example of what I would like to see a Narnia film be. Of course I would want a Narnia film as a whole to be more plot-driven than Fantasia, but I think a Narnia film would be better for having a few Fantasia-like scenes. In my opinion the Narnia books aren't that driven by plot either. Some are more than others I suppose, but I never doubt that the heroes will succeed in the end; I'm almost never in the edge of my seat because of suspense. So many moments in the books were bypassed or sped up because the plot had to be moved along (e.g. winter turning into spring in LWW, the romp in PC, nearly all of VDT). In my opinion, as long as this trend continues to happen, the true spirit of the books will never be captured on film. Those moments are often the heart of the book to me. It could be argued that this could be achieved in live action as well, but I think animation can do this better.

A dilemma faced by film-makers attempting to adapt Narnia into a live action film is how to create the land of Narnia itself. It can look fantastical and run the risk of looking fake against live action characters (think the live action Alice In Wonderland and some of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). This obviously isn't good, because Lewis writes Narnia as a real place, not a dream or imaginative world. The other option - which the first two films, and to a lesser extent VDT, took - is to make Narnia look photorealistic and physical. The problem with this is that Narnia doesn't look otherworldly enough. It just looks like some of the nicer portions of our world. The crucial theme of longing in Narnia could be achieved better by making Narnia look beautiful in an otherworldly way, so that you can understand why the characters would long to get back once they're out of Narnia. With the current films, if you want to go to "Narnia", just hop in a plane and go to New Zealand, the Czech Republic etc. In animation, the backgrounds can look more stylized, but because the characters are also animated there isn't a a disconnect between real characters and fake background. The animators would also have to take great care not to let the characters to look to cartoony, because C. S. Lewis loathed Walt Disney's characters. ;))

I don't expect any of the remaining films in the current film series to be animated, but I hope there is an animated reboot sometime in my lifetime. And I would want 2D animation, not 3D animation, just because I don't think 3D would be right for Narnia. I'm still hoping there will be a 2D revival in the future. They're different mediums - 3D isn't the "next step" after 2D - and they both have different strengths and weaknesses. 2D has a more magical and old-fashioned feel, so I think it would be better for Narnia.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Jul 20, 2014 12:34 am

One question for people interested in this topic... which kind of animation do you think is better for evoking emotion in the audience?

At first I was tempted to just say 3D, but I think that's largely due to Pixar's frequently superior storytelling than the medium itself. And then I remembered that I can't even watch The Land Before Time anymore without crying my eyes out. :(( :P So, I think this is largely dependant on the storytelling and the kind of atmosphere that's created.

Meltintalle wrote:Sleeping Beauty was the other film that sort of leaped to mind when thinking of what the Chronicles might look like. Or maybe101 Dalmations?


This screencap kind of reminds me a little bit of Polly in the Wood Between the Worlds. Such beautiful animation!

101 Dalmations is an interesting idea! I hadn't thought of that.

CorazonBandido55 wrote:The Narnia films have already started to be adapted to a live action film. Not only had there already been so much effort put into real action across three films, but by switching to animated films, it would create a disconnect between the existing films. This would in turn feel like a "step down" from the previous films, making less studios willing to help finance the franchise. Narnia needs all the momentum it can get.


Yeah, I'm not really in favor of switching over to animation in the middle of this current series either. I'm hoping for a clean reboot of the entire series as animated films in about ten or fifteen years from now.

Reepicheep775 wrote: The crucial theme of longing in Narnia could be achieved better by making Narnia look beautiful in an otherworldly way, so that you can understand why the characters would long to get back once they're out of Narnia. With the current films, if you want to go to "Narnia", just hop in a plane and go to New Zealand, the Czech Republic etc. In animation, the backgrounds can look more stylized, but because the characters are also animated there isn't a a disconnect between real characters and fake background.


Great point. I've often felt that one of the primary problems with the current film series is that it's hard to fall in love with the world of Narnia itself. Sure, it's very beautiful, but it's not anything we haven't already seen before.

Reepicheep775 wrote:I don't expect any of the remaining films in the current film series to be animated, but I hope there is an animated reboot sometime in my lifetime. And I would want 2D animation, not 3D animation, just because I don't think 3D would be right for Narnia. I'm still hoping there will be a 2D revival in the future. They're different mediums - 3D isn't the "next step" after 2D - and they both have different strengths and weaknesses. 2D has a more magical and old-fashioned feel, so I think it would be better for Narnia.


I've heard that 3D animation is less expensive to use for large projects, but I'm not really sure if that's true or not. That's one of the reasons why the Paperman short caught my eye, because if that's the case, then the hybridized animation might make a return to 2D more feasible for film studios. I would love to see a comeback for 2D feature films regardless of whether they're more expensive or not, though.

When I try to imagine what a 3D animated Narnia film would look like, there isn't really any film that I can point towards that looks like the picture in my head. Maybe something a little like the animation in The Adventures of Tintin, except much better, and heavily influenced by Pauline Baynes' illustrations? Gah, it's so hard to describe. :-?
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Meltintalle » Jul 20, 2014 12:41 pm

Yeah, I'm not arguing to switch over the current series to animation; I'd want a full set of animated films to go with however many live action films we end up with here. :)

I really liked the end credits for Voyage; where they took Pauline Baynes' illustrations and animated them... I don't think you could do a movie like that, but stylistically it looks like the books came to life.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Glumpuddle » Mar 22, 2015 10:55 pm

Just posted this topic as a poll on the homepage (scroll down, bottom-right).

I have been entertaining the idea of an animated Narnia film for the past few months...

Admittedly, my knee-jerk reaction is... At least half the fun of an adaptation of a book is getting the chance to see beloved characters live and breath for real. You wouldn't quite get that satisfaction (imo) in an animated version. BUT, I think it would probably be better suited to capture the spirit of the book. I may have more thoughts on this soon...

Like Meltintalle, I enjoyed the style of Director Tomm Moore's "The Secret of the Kells." I also liked "Song of the Sea." (Both films received Academy Award nominations). What would you all think of a Narnia film done kind of in this style?


(Sidenote: "Song of the Sea" had a budget of less than $10 Million... and looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous imo)
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby CorazonBandido55 » Mar 23, 2015 1:46 pm

I thought this was actually going to occur and it freaked me out when I saw it on my Facebook feed. My opinion still stands: bring on the live action version!
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Firecycle » Mar 23, 2015 2:16 pm

I was going to point out that there already is an animated Narnia movie, but I suppose we could probably do a bit better than this.

According to the review (One single review, a dubious source) it's actually pretty good, but it looks like something from Carebears.
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Re: An Animated Narnia Film Series?

Postby Impending Doom » Mar 25, 2015 8:08 pm

I think it can work well but if this was to be announced, I'd be pretty upset. I'm up to the idea of doing the entire series in that style some day but I want this current series to actually finish. At this pace it will be longer rather than sooner.
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