The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

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The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

Postby Doctor Know » Jan 31, 2019 7:05 pm

Ever since 2001, with the success of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter at the box office. There have been a dozen or more other adaptations of fantasy books turned into movies and shows. However, not all have been met with success and acclaim. Hollywood never did find the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, but they didn't stop trying. I'd like to discuss what we liked about these adaptations, why some succeeded and others failed.

In our corner:
Chronicles of Narnia:
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


The Competition:

Middle-Earth:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Harry Potter:
Sorcerer's Stone
Chamber of Secrets
Prisoner of Azkaban
Goblet of Fire
Order of the Phoenix
The Half-Blood Prince
Deathly Hallows Part 1&2
Fantastic Beasts 1 and 2

Disney Live Action and Remakes:
Alice in Wonderland
Oz The Great And Powerful
Cinderella
Maleficent
Beauty and the Beast
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Prince of Persia
John Carter of Mars

Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
On Stranger Tides
Dead Men Tell No Tales

Inheritance:
Eragon



Lemony Snicket:

A Series of Unfortunate Events Film and Netflix

His Dark Materials:
The Golden Compass

Percy Jackson & The Olympians:
The Lightning Thief
Sea of Monsters


The Twilight Saga:
Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn 1 and 2

A Song of Fire and Ice:
Game of Thrones

The Saxon Stories:
The Last Kingdom


I scratch my head wondering why the Narnia films after LWW didn't do better. They came out at the right time and to the right audience. People love swords and sorcery. But they just couldn't break through to reach LOTR and HP success.
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Re: The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

Postby Col Klink » Jan 31, 2019 11:03 pm

I guess "normal people" just don't like the Narnia stories as much as those other ones. Except for maybe The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, none of the books is part of our culture like Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. Don't ask me why not. :-??

I guess the easiest answer is that the movies weren't as good as those movies you listed. (Well, the answer that the public has bad taste is equally easy, I suppose.) I'm guessing though that a lot of those movies and TV shows are also worse than the Narnia movies were. I'm really not inclined to analyze all of them to figure out what worked and what didn't. ;))
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Re: The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

Postby Reepicheep775 » Feb 01, 2019 1:29 pm

I can think of two possible reasons.

1) The Narnia books are thought of as "children's books".

Arguably, Harry Potter is also a series of children's books, but I think they shifted more towards YA as the series went on, whereas Narnia is definitely children's literature. It doesn't matter how good a children's book is, some people won't be able to get into it simply because it's a children's book. I've seen the same thing with animated movies.

2) The Narnia books are thought of as "Christian books".

In a sense they're right. Aslan is pretty much Jesus and there is a lot in them that is spiritually relevant for Christians. However, when a lot of people think of Christian fiction, they understandably think of preachiness and poor story-telling. Even I do and I am a Christian! :p

In the era of the Walden Narnia films I would often hear Narnia as the subject of jokes, much to my dismay. It seemed like no one really took them seriously - ad it was usually for those two reasons.

And then there is the weird thing that Col Klink pointed out that I have never understood. Everyone knows LWW, but for some reason the rest of the books just aren't in the public consciousness. I don't get that at all, but I could see it being a contributing factor.

It is interesting that in an age when the concept of "fandoms" is so prevalent that the Narnia fandom has never quite reached the mainstream. I wonder what it would take to walk into a Hot Topic store and see Narnia merch. :p
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Re: The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

Postby coracle » Feb 01, 2019 3:32 pm

Col Klink wrote:I guess "normal people" just don't like the Narnia stories as much as those other ones. Except for maybe The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, none of the books is part of our culture like Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. Don't ask me why not. :-??


I can't vouch for Alice in Wonderland (although it has had a long time for successive generations to read, plus numerous film and stage adaptations), but one major factor with the Potter saga is that it was seen as a big money-maker by the publishing world. In their 20 years of existence, so much publicity was lavished on these books, with personal appearances, huge merchandising (everything from lunch-boxes to costumes), long articles about rags-to-riches Rowling and her supposedly original creations.
In fact, she was a well educated woman with a good grasp on the literature of several countries, and was not working because she was a full time mother (separated from husband). She drew from a number of conventions of children's stories and traditions, and mixed in some of her own ideas. She was capable of working with the publishers/publicists, and the rest is history.
No, I'm not a fan, totally the wrong generation, but I don't actually hate her books.
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Re: The Narnia Film Trilogy and Other Book Adaptations

Postby Doctor Know » Feb 06, 2019 4:38 pm

It is curious that the general audience don't seem to have the same love or knowledge for the Narnia books that came after LWW. For the PC and VOTDT I will say they performed a lot better overseas than they did domestically.

I don't know what they could do to perform better.
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