Director for Silver Chair

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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Apr 27, 2017 10:29 pm

coracle wrote:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:Unfortunately, the rather mild comment, "blithering idiot", is just perfect for SC, but may well fall foul of what we call the PC brigade.


Well LWW managed to get through "top geezer" and "cheeky blighter", so this should be fine.


Oh, good! And thank you for your quite unexpected bombshell news, also. :) However, the LWW terms might have escaped notice somewhat. Not everyone in the English speaking world really knows what a geezer or a blighter is, or appreciate these idiomatic expressions. But when people complain about someone being called a "blithering idiot", when that someone did something stupidly reckless and ill-thought out, perhaps the cap might fit a little too easily?
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Apr 29, 2017 11:24 am

Glumpuddle wrote:In many ways, he seems exactly like the kind of director I have been begging them not to hire. ;)) For years, I've been saying "please don't just hire someone for practical reasons. Don't just get a director you can easily control who has VFX and child-actors experience. Take a risk on a real auteur." I look at Johnston's resume and he seems a lot like what I was fearing... except that he has actually made some pretty good movies.


I've been thinking about this the past few days. If I were a billionaire and could fund all of the films myself, I'd definitely take a risk on an auteur. I had been hoping to see this kind of choice, but after further considering the current state of Narnian filmmaking, I can understand why they would want to go with someone safer. (And frankly, I'm not sure that isn't what I myself would recommend given the circumstances.) They're trying to revitalize a franchise that has been dormant for many years. Going with an auteur could produce a great film, but it could also produce a flop (and those two scenarios aren't mutually exclusive). What then would happen to the rest of the films yet to be made? Would it be the end of Narnia movies for a long time yet?

So at the least I am sympathetic to the decision they have made here, and I am certainly very heartened by the fact that Joe Johnston seems to be one of the best of the "safe" choices. But like you, I don't want "safe" to mean that we get a heartless blockbuster with unnecessary action scenes and one-liners defusing every bit of atmosphere that tries to take shape... and I would also counsel the filmmakers that such a film would be more dangerous for the health of the franchise as a whole than taking a risk on an auteur would have been.

All that said, I would definitely recommend that they go with an auteur for The Last Battle. Ideally it will be the last film anyway, and frankly that book will need one.

Reepicheep775 wrote:On one hand, I definitely see what you're saying and atmosphere-killing humour is one of my major pet peeves in film. The example that immediately comes to mind is the dialogue at Aslan's Table in VDT (e.g. "You are most beautiful" "If it is a distraction for you, I can change form" "NO!!"). That was a scene that should have been filled with an atmosphere of awe like it is in the book, but any atmosphere that had been building up was instantly killed in that moment and was never recovered.


The profound failure of that scene was the primary reason why I vowed to never watch VDT again. ~x( I'll probably have to break that in order to competently comment on the franchise, but just thinking about it makes my blood pressure go up. ;))

One thing that I notice about Joe Johnston after watching a few of the videos on his YouTube channel is that he seems like a pretty serious man with a dry wit. He doesn't appear to be someone who feels the need to pepper everything he says with brevity, so hopefully that won't be the case for SC either. (I think it also bodes well for not misunderstanding the character and wit of Puddleglum.)

PuddleCheep wrote:I do wonder if he will have as much control as Andrew Adamson did over the movie? I hope that if David Magee's script is as good as we hope it is, I just hope that Joe respects it and that he'll work closely with Douglas Gresham.


My ideal scenario is that Magee's script is brilliant and that he and Johnston will be something of a Narnian dream-team, with Magee bringing the storytelling chops and Johnston delivering on the aesthetic. When I was reading about some of Johnston's past films on Wikipedia, a critic said of 1991's The Rocketeer that the filmmakers seemed more interested in the Art Deco production design and visual effects instead of imbuing the storyline with "inspiration, which may be why it finally feels flat".

That's one of my main concerns with Johnston — that we'll get a movie that looks great, but the heart of the story itself will be somewhat lacking. And to be sure, I think that the aesthetic of the movie is really, really important. Narnia, as a place, wasn't that memorable in the Walden trilogy. It felt like more of a backdrop most of the time, and it's really key for me that they capture the magic of Narnia going forward. (Corporeal dryads!! Ahem. :P) Seriously, when most of the remaining stories left to be told only have Aslan and the world of Narnia in common, it's vital that Narnia is dazzling. So I'm hoping that Joe Johnston will do a great job creating a world feels organic and real and gets under your skin and makes you long to visit, but I'm also hoping that David Magee's talent will do a lot of the heavy-lifting for inspired storytelling, and together they will ultimately deliver a film that is balanced both in aesthetic and story.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby narnia fan 7 » Apr 30, 2017 6:15 am

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I don't want "safe" to mean that we get a heartless blockbuster with unnecessary action scenes and one-liners defusing every bit of atmosphere that tries to take shape

I think all fans would agree with that. The main problem I think with VDT and just a little with PC too, is that they went to far in that direction. Focusing more on trying to make it like every other fantasy movie at the expense of what makes Narnia special and unique.

Over the past couple days I've been watching some Q&A videos that Joe
Johnston has on his YouTube channel. And his answer to the question at 15:50 in this one caught my attention.

That along with David Magee as the screenwriter gives me a some hope that SC won't just be a just another fantasy blockbuster all about action and spectacle, and that maybe, just maybe, it could have some of the books depth.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Anhun » Apr 30, 2017 7:21 am

fantasia_kitty wrote:While I know that Joe Johnston is perfectly capable of directing excellent films (yay October Sky!), so was Michael Apted (LOVE Amazing Grace).


The important thing to consider, when analyzing a director's resume is to look at films that have similarity to Narnia. Most importantly, do they get the concept of truth in fantasy? Most of Apted's best works were biography or documentary. His one foray into fantasy (because James Bond is essentially fantastical) proved that he considered truth and fantasy to be mutually exclusive constructs.

When looking at Joe Johnston's history, the most relevant items are Jumanji and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. On the bright side, both of these films have realistic, meaningful character development. Especially with David Magee on the script, I would be very much surprised if Jill's personal journey is altogether ignored or botched. Also, Jumanji demonstrates that he's not afraid to let a children's film get dark.

On the downside, Joe Johnston is first and foremost a visual effects person, and his characters frequently take a back seat to effects. This could potentially ruin a character-driven story like The Silver Chair. So on the whole, it could be worse, but I have some very serious reservations. SC has a heroine who's a victim of bullying and a villain who's a metaphor for depression. It should be an important, powerful movie with effects, not an "effects movie."
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby mm1991 » May 02, 2017 11:29 pm

Late to the party! I'm very hopeful with this director. Maybe it's not the best-case-scenario but it's certainly not the worst case. Of all his movies I've actually seen, I have enjoyed them. And it seems none of them are just "explosion movies" like....the director who shall not be named. This gives me hope that he is a solid pick and will try to do the material justice.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Ryadian » May 08, 2017 11:41 am

Anhun wrote:The important thing to consider, when analyzing a director's resume is to look at films that have similarity to Narnia. Most importantly, do they get the concept of truth in fantasy?


This is an excellent point, and as someone who, like fantasia, thought Michael Apted would make a great director for VDT, I'm trying to bear this in mind as well. ;)) One thing that speaks to me, though, is that one of the two of his movies that I've seen is Captain America: The First Avenger (the other being October Sky). I fully admit that I'm a huge Captain America fangirl and I'm somewhat biased, but one reason why I love that movie is that they took a concept - an unabashedly patriotic supersoldier who fights Nazis and tech out of 50's sci-fi comics - that is so out there and dated for modern audiences, and rather than be afraid of it, they fully embraced it. Of course, they adapted some things to make it more accessible for a modern audience, but I feel that they were very true to the original character. This is something I felt the Walden movies were very bad at - they seemed afraid of old-fashioned values and characterization, and to be perfectly honest, I sometimes felt like the filmmakers felt like they were "smarter" than the story was, if you know what I mean. CA:TFA did not feel like that at all.

In terms of adaptation faithfulness, granted, with Captain America, they were adapting a character concept and a general story, rather than a book with very specific plot elements that need to be adhered to. But, from what I understand, October Sky was also true to the source material (reality and the book that Homer Hickham wrote about it). Besides, in terms of adaptation, while I would like one that sticks to the letter of the source material, if I had to choose, I'd rather take one that understands the spirit of it.

Of course, I'm also trying to bear in mind that directors don't operate in a vacuum.
;)) Those movies also had good casting, good writing, etc. But, at least I'm convinced that Joe Johnston can tell a good story with the right team, and I'm hopeful that he'll do a good job with TSC.


The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:And to be sure, I think that the aesthetic of the movie is really, really important. Narnia, as a place, wasn't that memorable in the Walden trilogy. It felt like more of a backdrop most of the time, and it's really key for me that they capture the magic of Narnia going forward. (Corporeal dryads!! Ahem. :P)


I know I'm pulling this quote slightly out of context, but I just had to say - YES!!! SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS!! :P (Sorry - dryads and stars were among the most interesting parts of Narnia to me when I read/heard the books,
and I was thoroughly disappointed with both in the Walden movies.) When thinking about how I want the movie to go, I tend to neglect the visual aspect of things (I'm a writer, not a designer :P ), but absolutely yes - please let them build the WORLD of Narnia as more than a generic fantasy backdrop!!
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 10, 2017 12:25 pm

Joe Johnston's comment in that video is heartening indeed, narnia fan 7! :D

Anhun wrote:On the downside, Joe Johnston is first and foremost a visual effects person, and his characters frequently take a back seat to effects. This could potentially ruin a character-driven story like The Silver Chair. So on the whole, it could be worse, but I have some very serious reservations. SC has a heroine who's a victim of bullying and a villain who's a metaphor for depression. It should be an important, powerful movie with effects, not an "effects movie."


I've been thinking about what Glumpuddle and daughter of the King were saying on the recent podcast about what a director does with a script (i.e. all of the potential ways that a script can be interpreted and shot) and I was reminded of a video I saw recently where David Magee describes his creative process:



(I am SO envious of his assistant Luke. :P)

Near the beginning of the video, Magee says: "When I first finished college, I had studied to be an actor. I actually feel sometimes like I'm a better actor in my head—working out characters, improvising what they might say to one another, finding the story on the page—than I ever was on stage. Understanding what comes out of an actor's mouth, and how an actor thinks when they sit down to perform something is key to what I'm doing. It's the actions that you have to translate to a film. A character does something, a character wants something and tries to achieve something. If the character is wandering around, looking at pigeons and thinking about his childhood, you have to find a way to manifest that in action or you have to cut it."

So while on the one hand a script alone is inert and requires a director to give it life, I also get the sense that Magee will be involved with the interpretation of his work, specifically in terms of the characters. That helps assuage potential concerns about Joe Johnston delivering something visually stunning while lacking in emotional backbone. Of course the director is ultimately at the helm and we'll just have to wait and see what happens, but all in all, I'm continuing to feel optimistic about this filmmaking team. Magee is known as someone who tells great character-driven stories and it wouldn't make sense to bring on a director that wasn't interested in doing the same. I hope Johnston and Magee develop a great working relationship!

Ryadian wrote:
I wrote:And to be sure, I think that the aesthetic of the movie is really, really important. Narnia, as a place, wasn't that memorable in the Walden trilogy. It felt like more of a backdrop most of the time, and it's really key for me that they capture the magic of Narnia going forward. (Corporeal dryads!! Ahem. :P)


I know I'm pulling this quote slightly out of context, but I just had to say - YES!!! SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS!! :P (Sorry - dryads and stars were among the most interesting parts of Narnia to me when I read/heard the books,
and I was thoroughly disappointed with both in the Walden movies.)


:))

We should start a movement! The Society for the Depiction of Corporeal Dryads, anyone?? ;))
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Impending Doom » May 10, 2017 12:53 pm

Honestly, after sitting on this for a while, I'm feeling rather indifferent about Joe Johnston. Nothing in his filmography particularly jumps out to me aside from October Sky. He's clearly a talented and competent director but his past films lack that special spark I was hoping for.

When David Magee was announced, I remember a feeling of comfort and excitement just by looking at the style of films he had been involved in. But what has added to my level of confidence in David is through the way he writes about The Silver Chair on his Twitter. You get a real sense for his passion, excitement, and commitment for the project as a whole.

As of right now we have no idea of what Johnston thinks about the series. Not even a quick quote from him in the press release (which was a bit strange). I think that's where my hesitation lies - I just don't know enough about him. Thankfully he'll be answering some questions in his next video so we'll be able to really get an understanding of why he decided to direct The Silver Chair. As well as some specifics on what direction he wants to take it in.

That will help determine what my expectations are for what Johnston at the helm of The Silver Chair actually looks like. Exciting times!
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Glumpuddle » May 10, 2017 1:12 pm

Impending Doom wrote:He's clearly a talented and competent director but his past films lack that special spark I was hoping for.


That's an excellent one-sentence summary of where my feelings seem to be settling. Because of this announcement, I am more confident that The Silver Chair will be good... But I have very little hope it will be great.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Anfinwen » May 12, 2017 8:17 am

I went back to the Facebook page today and noticed this post.
Hopefully this means that Mr. Johnston will be an interactive and engaged director and will keep the fans in the loop. I hope we can look forward to some fun tidbits, updates and glimpses behind the scenes. Another company that whose products I enjoy is currently engaged in driving away their fans by a lack of communication and openness. I really hope all those involved in SC realize that this isn't a new story to keep under wraps but a popular series with a fanbase that wants news! So far they have done a good job of giving us what they can and allowing us to grow excited. Things like that little post help fans to feel that they aren't being marginalized.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Glumpuddle » May 13, 2017 6:25 pm

Anfinwen wrote:Hopefully this means that Mr. Johnston will be an interactive and engaged director and will keep the fans in the loop.


It looks like that's a good possibility. :D Which would be really fun for us of course.

But personally, if I was in Joe's position I would want to stay focused on making the movie and not worry about fans peaking behind the curtain before it's ready to be lifted. Imagine a professor peaking over your shoulder as you're writing a paper. I would want some space. ;))

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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Impending Doom » May 13, 2017 6:56 pm

Glumpuddle wrote:That's an excellent one-sentence summary of where my feelings seem to be settling. Because of this announcement, I am more confident that The Silver Chair will be good... But I have very little hope it will be great.


Given where we are at in production - that's not a bad place to be.

As long as David Magee is attached to write The Silver Chair I will be excited and first in line to see the film. When you have a screenwriter of that caliber (regardless of the director) on a project there is loads of potential for it to be great. Not trying to under play the role of a director but I just think we're undervaluing the importance of the screenplay a bit. Most issues people seem to have with Johnston fall onto the script rather than his directing abilities.

You don't need a Spike Jonze when you have a script from a two time Academy Award nominee. It would be nice but at the same time an experienced, talented, flexible, director (Joe Johnston) is more than able to translate that on the big screen and make it something special.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Rogin » May 13, 2017 9:10 pm

So The Silver Chair is finally happening, eh?

Considering how little we know about the movie, I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful. Even if I wasn't a Narnia fan, hearing that Joe Johnston was directing a David Magee script would definitely peak my interest. That seems to be the reaction from the mainstream media which is a positive. It's something you want on your side -especially following Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

It's crazy to think that a Narnia movie will be filming this year. Still hasn't sunk in yet. Hopefully this momentum can continue with casting announcements!
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby fantasia_kitty » May 21, 2017 5:02 pm

Well, I'd be lying if I said I loved everything Joe Johnston said in his Q&A ;))

HOWEVER, I am feeling very positive about the fact that he's reaching out to the fans of the book. That says a lot to me, that he's willing to communicate with the "lowly fans" :P ;) And it's more than that. Anything you give hard-core fans, they're going to tear it to pieces with their over-critiquing and instant rush to judgement.

So Joe Johnston, if you see this, THANK YOU for involving us so soon in the production and I look forward to following the movie news (and overanalyzing it... I won't lie :P ;) ).
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Movie Aristotle » May 21, 2017 9:28 pm

I would like to echo fantasia kitty's thoughts. I'm honored by the amount of time Joe spent answering questions. While a few comments made me want to jump to conclusions, after further reflection I don't see anything to be alarmed about in the Q&A. His openness was very appealing and his honesty quite generous.

Overall, I think Joe has shown himself to be rather winsome.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Skilletdude » May 21, 2017 9:51 pm

Joe Johnston's Q&A video was very refreshing to me. He quite honestly tells us that he won't shy away from reworking scenes and dialogue when he feels it necessary, that the film will maintain Christian themes but not in an overbearing manner (like the books themselves), that his goal is to make a commercial film (not an overly dark or artsy one), that the special effects techniques will ultimately need to be cost-effective, and that he won't be pidgeon-holed into including any previous actors, design elements or creative choices in the previous films.

All of these answers, I think, are delivered very transparently to the concerned fanbase. I know not all of it will be received with excited approval, but the truth is he doesn't need our approval. I do think Johnston is wise for being so open with the fans so early, purely from a marketing standpoint. Who better to promote a film adaptation than the already dedicated fans? I have no idea if he will successfully preserve the novel's "essence", but this attempt to be forthright with us is deserving of respect.
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