Adapting LWW

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Adapting LWW

Postby Col Klink » Apr 17, 2019 9:53 am

Let's discuss how Netflix should adapt The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It seems like fans had the least amount of adaptation complaints about Walden's take on that book.

How should it start? Both the BBC miniseries and the Walden movie began with the Pevensies getting on a train and traveling to the Professor's so I feel the Netflix LWW should start differently. But I honestly can't think of a better idea for beginning the story. :)) They could start with the Professor's house, maybe even show the wardrobe waiting for someone to open it, and then show the refugees arriving. But that would make it look like we were supposed to identify with the characters already living their, not with the main characters.

Speaking of the characters living at the professor's, I think it would fun to see Ivy, Margaret and Betty. I think they appeared in the miniseries but weren't identified by name. They weren't in the movie at all. Since Netflix apparently wants there to 3000 characters in this series, they might as well give the maids their moment in the spotlight. ;))
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby JFG II » Apr 17, 2019 12:31 pm

Great topic to talk about, Col Klink. I have had a lot of ideas on how to expand the start of LWW, but I keep going back to the book’s version. It just feels best, for now. The three maids though, that would be a fun expansion! Having to deal with four kids along with the scary McCrady.

Personally, I’m fine with differences at the beginning or expansions from the book as long as they fit with Narnia at the point that the story takes place. Also I think it depends on whether or not LWW is a sequel to MN or not, because if LWW is the second half of season one, or something like that, then it might be best to start like a follow up to MN.

Regardless, I still think starting with individual shots of Peter’s, Susan’s, Edmund’s and Lucy’s faces would be best, because that’s how to book starts. Four children. That’s what it’s about.
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby Col Klink » Apr 30, 2019 2:47 pm

I've come up with a new idea for telling the story but I don't think anybody here will like it. ;)) Actually I don't really think I like it much at least not as the start of a Chronicles of Narnia franchise.

The idea is that they could do something along the lines of the 2015 made-for-TV movie, Peter and Wendy, or 2015 animated French movie of The Little Prince. There would be a framing device of some modern kids reading the story and it would resonate with the events in their lives. Don't ask me how.

The thing is I wouldn't want all of the books to be adapted that way. I want them to be presented as their own stories and not as fantasy sequences in the context of a new story. But if it was done well, I feel it could solve my dilemma with LWW. On one hand, I think it has been adapted enough already and a new version should have a fresh twist. On the other hand, I love that book and I bristle at the thought of it "needing" major changes. :)) An adaptation such as I described could stay close to the book while still feeling original.
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby Cleander » Apr 30, 2019 6:42 pm

Col Klink wrote:I've come up with a new idea for telling the story but I don't think anybody here will like it. ;)) Actually I don't really think I like it much at least not as the start of a Chronicles of Narnia franchise.

The idea is that they could do something along the lines of the 2015 made-for-TV movie, Peter and Wendy, or 2015 animated French movie of The Little Prince. There would be a framing device of some modern kids reading the story and it would resonate with the events in their lives. Don't ask me how.

The thing is I wouldn't want all of the books to be adapted that way. I want them to be presented as their own stories and not as fantasy sequences in the context of a new story. But if it was done well, I feel it could solve my dilemma with LWW. On one hand, I think it has been adapted enough already and a new version should have a fresh twist. On the other hand, I love that book and I bristle at the thought of it "needing" major changes. :)) An adaptation such as I described could stay close to the book while still feeling original.


My *limited* experience with these kind of "bookend stories" is that they're really hard to keep consistent with the spirit and flavor of the original story, and can run the risk of being corny. (A good example of this would be the Lamplighter Audio Dramas.) It also makes it automatically feel like a dumbed-down story just meant for kids (as if the audience is incapable of relating anything to themselves unless some modern kids who are just like them can emphasize the points of the story for them). Trying to work modern kids into it would probably remind some of the old fans of the horrible "Edmund-gets-tempted-by-cheeseburgers" idea... :-s
(Sorry if that sounds harshly critical btw. I'm just exploring where this idea might go.)

Original ideas can be great, but they're also dangerous when trying to adapt a beloved classic (we're talking about THE most famous and beloved Narnia book here) because people expect it to retain the same feeling and personality of the original. A "modern edge" is really hard to add when (or if) you're trying to retain the old classic feel.
A totally faithful adaptation still has yet to be done imo, so maybe that would be the way to go for this one. And with Gresham at the helm, we might have a good chance at that!
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby fantasia » Apr 30, 2019 6:57 pm

Actually the Walden movie started with the bombing of London. And even though I have no memory of this, I believe the animated version of LWW started with Lucy rushing out of the Wardrobe saying "It's all right, I'm back!" or something like that.
Personally I'd like to see them start off with meeting the Professor. I think the book is cute where they meet him and he's funny looking and Edmund is trying not to laugh and Susan thinks he's an "old dear." It was one of the things I didn't care for with the Walden version where the Professor was off-limits to the children, so it'd be nice to see a relationship start up right away. :)
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby Col Klink » Apr 30, 2019 7:24 pm

(Sorry if that sounds harshly critical btw. I'm just exploring where this idea might go.)


Don't worry. I was expecting you to feel that way. Remember? ;)

A totally faithful adaptation still has yet to be done imo


If I can say so without sounding argumentative, my opinion is different. The Radio Theatre drama was very faithful except they cut out the robin and a few other things. If I remember correctly, The same thing could be said of the BBC miniseries. The 1970s cartoon was very close except they cut Father Christmas and changed the setting of the "earthbound" parts of the story to America circa the 70s. The Walden film made more changes than other versions but it was at least broadly true to the story and it kept the robin. ;)

Now it's true that none of these is totally faithful in the sense of being word for word. But I'd say storytellers have true enough to it that I'm not pining for a super faithful adaptation. It's also true that I don't love any of these as much as I love the book. In that sense, the ultimate adaptation (for myself, not necessarily for other people) has yet to be made. But I don't see any reason to believe the Netflix version will be that ultimate adaption yet anyway. ;))
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Re: Adapting LWW

Postby JFG II » May 01, 2019 5:53 am

Start with the four children. After the opening credits, start with a shot of Peter looking at something, then a shot of Susan looking, then of Edmund, and lastly of Lucy.

Next shot: all four kids outside the mansion. Don’t show their parents, or the Germans, or anything or anybody not mentioned at the beginning of the book. Then have them meet the Professor, and have them get to know him. Exposition will fill in some story gaps. Don’t make it an action film like the Walden film. Keep it simple.

It might even work to have Mrs. McCrady and the maids shown from the waist down like in E.T. or Peanuts, with Digory Kirk being the only adult the kids feel akin to, because he’s been there before.

With a few scruples, I like the Walden beginning, because that adaptation was an action film, so it made sense to start with an action scene. But from the children’s POV. Not with the German fighter pilots. That went too far too early. Also the teary farewells at the station was just emotional manipulation with no payoff. I still like it, but the book isn’t about that. Not about action or even emotions. It’s about atmosphere,

I agree with Col Klink on Netflix & LWW: I’m not expecting it to be the ultimate adaptation.

But here’s the thing: Netflix HAS to do it well. Otherwise this “universe” they wish to create will not materialize - at least not in its entirety.

Most people (myself included) who love Narnia love it because we love LWW. Most normal people are curious about the other Narnia stories, but aren’t looking forward to them the way they would be for LWW: LWW brings out the expected joys and wonder. Call it ignorance of the other books’ more complex joys. (There’s a reason most people think of a snowy winter when they think of Narnia, not of other seasons.)

If LWW is just ok, the series will suffer, or even be canceled from a lack of viewers or reviews, etc.

LWW HAS TO WORK WELL, and work better than the Walden movie. That film only got two sequels, and it was a good movie! They better put in the effort to make it great.
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