Cover your Aslan
Fun reading this morning in the New Yorker (December 12, 2005): film critic Anthony Lane dishes on "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe": It was only a matter of time before a major studio got its talons into C.S. Lewis. The only thing delaying any attempt to film his Narnia novels was the lack of technology; until recently, for example, there was no computer-imaging program powerful enough to re-create a wholly convincing wardrobe.
. . .And so to the conceit that, for decades, has stirred both the souls of the faithful and the loins of professional Freudians: first Lucy, then Edmund, then all four children feel their way uncertainly through the folds of a deep, furry passage and into another world. I read all seven Narnia books as a kid, not because I liked them (I preferred science fiction, surprise surprise, although when it came to fantasy, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series had my vote as best runner-up to Tolkien), but because I had pre-pubescent obsessive compulsive disorder and I had to finish any series I started. I remember enjoying only one of the books -- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Can't remember a single thing about it, though. I tried rereading Alexander's books recently, and found them to be thin gruel compared to Tolkien. Anthony Lane comes to the same conclusion regarding C.S. Lewis: When, as a grownup, I finally opened "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," it struck me as woefully thin soil, with none of the gnarled roots of lore and language on which Tolkien thrived. Well, we can't all be Tolkien, even if we're C.S. Lewis (or Lloyd Alexander). My favorite fantasies written in the last 20-or-so years, not counting Terry Pratchett's work: David Gemmell's Legend and Glen Cook's The Black Company, both of which taught me a lot about writing. They would both make splendid movies, too. Neither of those novels ripped off the Tolkien universe. I am soooo sick of elves and dwarves. D.