Hollywood has pretty much written off the Narnia movies as not very good and not really worth paying attention to. The first film was beautifully done – Georgie Henley is a magnificent Lucy Pevensie and Skandar Keynes was perfect as Edmund, and both young actors are the best thing about the series – but the filmmakers did a terrible job adapting Prince Caspian. Eliminating Caspian’s backstory may have gotten us into the story faster but destroyed our ability to give a damn.
So one hopes that The Voyage of the Dawn Treader works out spectacularly:
because the Narnia books were, followed very closely by the Wrinkle in Time books* and Walter Dean Myers books, my favorite books as a child and I’d like to see them make all the books into films.
Of course, the likelihood of the rest of the books being adapted into films depends on how well Dawn Treader does.
But, the truth is, the books only get harder to adapt at this point – the fifth book, The Horse and His Boy, is so racist it will require tremendous care to adapt it – so the studios have got to put up or shut up. They can’t be afraid of the material or the fact that the Pevensies are largely absent for the rest of the films.
If the filmmakers are smart, they’ll follow the Harry Potter film template: first couple of movies are crappy, but the studio invests in better directors and writers to ensure that the subsequent movies rock.
My guess though? They don’t have it in ’em. Dawn Treader does better than Prince Caspian, but not overly so and so they will either stop making the films or make The Silver Chair and then stop.
But I hope I’m wrong.
*I’m a proud heathen raised Southern Baptist/Lutheran, so I’m sure there is something interesting about books with such strong Christian themes having been – and remaining – my favorite books as a child.