Whatever happened to Narnia?
It’s not that there aren’t any more films coming. After years of rumors that The Magician’s Nephew was going to come next, instead we are getting The Silver Chair. The film is being developed by the Mark Gordon company. The screenplay is completed but in the process of rewrites, and it was written by David Magee. Magee wrote for the film adaptation of Life of Pi , which as far as book-to-film adaptations are concerned was fairly decent so I have some hope.
But why did the Narnia we were expecting in 2005 never come to fruition? Maybe it’s the audience. Or maybe it’s Hollywood. I’ve read in different places that movie audiences are seen as disillusioned and more inclined to gritty, realistic action films than fantasy. Narnia isn’t supposed to be gritty and dark, it’s supposed to be an idealized world, an escape from the rough, urbanized society of today. The books worked because they were about ordinary children doing extraordinary things, and the battles between good and evil were very clean-cut. Narnia is a codeword for escape: it is the quintessential fantasy.