Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Why Magician's Nephew Would Make a Poor Movie

I recently finished rereading The Magician’s Nephew as I work my way through Narnia again. Ever since seeing the trilogy produced by Walden Media (which was my introduction to the franchise) I’ve wanted to see the other four books adapted into movies like the others. However, like I’ve said about the Prince Caspian and Dawn Treader adaptations, which we’ll get to after I reread those books, some of the Narnia books would have made poor movies without some artistic liberties. As my first example, let’s look at Magician’s Nephew. 

The biggest issue is that there are so few action scenes. Some of the most exciting scenes of the Narnia movies were action/battle scenes—and some of those had the most artistic liberties. However, for Magician’s Nephew, the escape from Charn and scuffle in London were probably the most action this book had. So unless those action scenes were expanded, the actio aspect of Magician’s Nephew would be almost non-existent. I’m not even sure where they could insert a battle or action scene contrived specifically for the movie, like they did in Prince Caspian. It’s not exactly like there’s even a battle scene in the book to begin with. Maybe flashbacks to the destruction of Charn, I suppose?

To compensate for the lack of action, you’d have to make this movie more about the emotions. Diggory felt neglected by his family, Polly felt hurt and bullied by Diggory, and Frank felt claustrophobic and trapped in the city. You’d have to amplify these emotional ordeals to make the conflict strong enough to get viewers invested. Maybe some flashbacks to Diggory’s father or Frank’s childhood with the right music to underscore the feelings? I’d love to see Diggory facing the Witch, knowing he’d chosen to not save his mother… heart breaking. I guess besides that scene, I’m not sure how you’d draw in viewers and get them invested in the movie. It’s different than in a book. 

All of that being said, it would be visually stunning, with the birth of Narnia and death of Charn. CGI has improved so much since the trilogy of movies came out about 15 years ago—though we should all be impressed by the CGI of the mythical creatures, especially Aslan. To see Charn fall apart with some despairing score or to see Narnia grow out of the Earth with a majestic soundtrack, I’d probably end up crying. 

Comment on our Facebook or Instagram. Let me know how you’d make Magician’s Nephew engaging and entertaining. Or maybe you’d disagree and you think it would adapt well. Maybe we’ll get to see it in live action. I can only hope. 

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