Funny how the tables always seem to turn over time. Look at world of children’s fantasy novel adaptations, for example: nowadays, every single mythical adventure — new and old — gets a chance to either reign at the box office, or rain on it. Why? Mostly, it’s because of that modern computer imagery technology stuff. Gone are the days of lame and limp animal co-stars whose only saving grace is their voiceover talent. Now we can make every variety of critter more interesting than ever before by having them talk, grow opposable thumbs, and even upstage their human stars.
The downside? More often than naught, howe’er, producers seem to forsake any sort of substance for their artistic style — leaving moviegoers with the solitary image of a great big animated turkey and nothing else. Now, if one were to adapt a children’s fantasy novel just a few short decades ago, producers would have had to elect the more classic (and usually preferred) “style over substance” method of filmmaking due to the limitations in the special effects field; limitations that, I should point out, were even more restricted when the producers in question were the BBC.
And that, my friends, brings me to Warner Home Video’s release of the BBC TV’s adaptation of The Chronicles Of Narnia.
Originally broadcast between 1988 and 1990, The Chronicles Of Narnia brings us a fairly modest account of the classic CS Lewis novels: “The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe,” “Prince Caspian And The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader,” and “The Silver Chair.” Each adaptation is divided into six episodes each, and each episode runs roughly in the neighborhood of thirty minutes. As you may have noticed, the second and third books have been combined in this instance, with “Prince Caspian” taking the whole of two episodes up before moving on with the series: apparently, the writers for this series must have thought “Prince Caspian” was a bit on the dull side and would not generate enough viewers. One wonders if perhaps Disney should have considered doing the same thing for their recent feature-length big-screen adaptation which failed to generate enough money in moviehouses.