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VDT Fan Edit Experiment

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VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby NarnianTourist » Apr 18, 2018 10:31 am

Hello, to all of my awesome and unaffectionately profound friends of the forum! I am conducting a little creative experiment on the VDT film adaptation, and thought I would share my ideas with you guys. Opinions, thoughts, and general suggestions are welcome!

So, it's pretty common knowledge among all of us that the VDT film was...well, not the best. Obviously, the film failed miserably to capture the joy, atmosphere, themes, and overall point of the character-driven, Odyssey-like journey the late great Lewis intended for the original novel. It barely feels like anything remotely related to Narnia, as the generic (yet commercially viable) "save the world" plot line is the primary focus. These are all complaints that we have discussed to death, and likely will continue to talk about.

However, what makes the movie much worse in my opinion, is in it's filmmaking; the dialogue is cringe-inducing. "You know I'm braver than both of you!" "Ohhhh, THAT mansion", and so on. It somehow sounds childish and cheesy, and not intentionally. Cinematography is sloppy, shaky, uneven, and feels less like a cinematic experience and more like a made-for-tv film. Nearly every single close-up of the characters is shaky, awkward, and takes you out of the film. The editing is rather choppy and a bit too fast at times. Musical score is uninspired and rather bland, especially in comparison to the first two films. The pacing is INSANELY rushed. It is barely four minutes into the film before the kids are already in Narnia, with barely any atmosphere or character beats established before that. Aside from the basics, such as Eustace being a brat and Lucy wishing she looked like Susan. But everything is so rushed, the viewer barely has time to process it before they are sucked into Narnia. The tone is ridiculously all over the place, due to it's frantic plotting.

Long story short, the fact that the film barely makes any effort to resemble the original book is a disappointment. But what really adds salt in the wound is how frantically unfocused the filmmaking seems to be. The aforementioned issues with the directing, editing, dialogue, cinematography and so on make the viewing experience confusingly dull at best, and annoyingly crime-worthy at worst. I think the film wouldn't bug us so much if it was just a slight bit more watchable and...well...competently made. Nothing against Apted, he clearly was managing a production that was out of his wheelhouse. He has on many occasions, discussed his disdain for the original novels. A fine filmmaker, but he was perhaps the wrong man for this job.

In my spare time, I have been attempting to experiment with creating a fan-edit of VDT. I realize I can't change the plotting, lack of focus, and passionless script. However, I am wondering if it's possible to retool the finished product into something slightly more watchable. Examples being trimming lazy and cringe dialogue, changing the score in various sequences to establish a more direct and fitting tone and overall mood, and perhaps adding various other elements to enhance the overall quality of the piece and slow down the pacing a bit. It's only an experiment, but I would love to get some of your thoughts and suggestions.

This is the original opening:

This is my version:

Again, discussions, thoughts, suggestions and opinions are more than welcome!
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby Anfinwen » Apr 23, 2018 3:30 pm

Something similar was done with the Hobbit movies. I think it's an intriguing idea, but there are major hurdles. Part of the problem with VDT isn't just what was added, but what was changed or left out entirely. For example, an edit will never give us the correct scene in the Lone Islands - Bern buying Caspian and then helping overthrow Gumpas.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby narnia fan 7 » Apr 23, 2018 3:55 pm

I agree with pretty much everything you said about the filmmaking. Looking back at it now VDT seems like a movie that no one involved was really excited about making, and I think that comes across in the final product.

A fan edit is a really interesting idea. But I honestly think the movie is too fundamentally flawed to really be improved all that much.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby King_Erlian » Apr 24, 2018 5:32 am

Gosh, this is depressing. Reading this would make anyone think that The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader was the worst film ever made, which I'm certain is not the case (I thought the second Hobbit film was much worse, having far less to do with the original source material than VDT did). I enjoyed VDT and continue to do so, although I agree the book was considerably better.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby coracle » Apr 24, 2018 1:06 pm

Hi Narnian Tourist, that was not what I thought you were going to use. I'm sorry to point out that Disney did not distribute this film, so perhaps you could change the opening 30 seconds to something by Fox?
The wartime London scene was interesting but rather long. What does it come from?

Moving onto the VDT opening sequence I noticed the iron railings being carried to the truck, and thought it was a shame this was never explained in the movie.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Apr 25, 2018 2:16 pm

I think the pacing of your edit is a definite improvement, NarnianTourist!

Back after VDT came out, I used to fantasize about turning it into a foreign language film with subtitles that followed the book more closely. ;)) For instance, I love the wondrous dialogue in the book when Ramandu's Dialogue explains why the three lords are sleeping at Aslan's Table, but it's changed in the movie for no reason. There's no time for the atmosphere to build and no appreciation for the lyrical words that Lewis wrote. I'd love to see a fan edit of that scene with the pacing fixed and subtitles with the original dialogue or even an actress reading the lines.

Anfinwen wrote:Part of the problem with VDT isn't just what was added, but what was changed or left out entirely. For example, an edit will never give us the correct scene in the Lone Islands - Bern buying Caspian and then helping overthrow Gumpas.

I've occasionally watched very old films where footage had been lost and the way the modern editor worked around that was to use what pictures they had available with the surviving dialogue playing over them. Some people might find that unwatchable, but I've never minded it much and it gives you an opportunity to use your imagination a little. And "found footage" films are their own subgenre, too, so you could potentially draw inspiration from that filmmaking style for missing scenes.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby CorazonBandido55 » May 02, 2018 12:34 pm

I was actually ok with the opening of VDT. But then again, I am not frustrated by the film. It’s not a perfect movie, but I can accept it with its flaws. Visually, it’s the most gorgeous Narnia installment. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t have made a different film, but what I see as flaws are a bit different.

I probably would’ve shifted the plot of the film from the seven steak knives :p to the goal of finding out what is at the worlds end. The climax would’ve been the discovery of the Lilly ocean, and I would’ve made the Last Sea feel more mystical; maybe give the sky a pinkish hue with floating specs of light everywhere.

I also would’ve developed the romance between Caspian and Lilliandil. I would’ve had the voyagers stay in Ramandus Island for a time and allowed both of them to share deep conversations in a romantic, yet epic setting. Maybe make a castle or temple at the island.

Just some ideas.
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Re: VDT Fan Edit Experiment

Postby Col Klink » Aug 10, 2018 12:49 pm

I'll grant that VODT could have used some tinkering ;) but I confess that I'm not sure how your opening improves it, NarniaTourist. :ymblushing:

Your credits scene mainly has to do with World War II, something which has little or nothing to do with VODT's plot. Shouldn't an opening credits scene set up a movie's story or themes or mood or something?
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