Movie thoughts: Can Narnia be fixed?

It took a month, but the Narnia movies will continue under a new distributor.:

Twentieth Century Fox has agreed to co-finance the third movie in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series, pending approval of the final script and shooting budget. If all goes as planned, Fox and Walden Media, which controls the movie rights to C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s books, hope to be begin production on “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by late summer so it will be ready for holiday 2010 release.

First, however, Fox and Walden have to hire a screenwriter to do another pass on the script that was last rewritten by Richard LaGravenese, whose credits include “Freedom Writers” and “The Horse Whisperer.” The movie companies are looking to make the film for about $140 million. Michael Apted, who made “Amazing Grace” and the 1999 Bond flick “The World Is Not Enough,” is on board to direct.

Producer/author Mark Joseph has some ideas about how the series can be fixed. One of those is finding a new director since he is not thrilled about the choice of Apted to replace Andrew Adamson:

Some saw hope when a new director signed on to direct the third installment, but this choice only compounded the problem. As head of the Directors Guild, he had proudly led the charge in crushing traditionalist groups who had invented devices that allowed desperate red-state films fans to clean up their favorite movies, then cemented his status as being out of touch with the types of fans who made up Narnia’s base when he seemed to brag to reporters about gutting the biopic of the devoutly religious British lawmaker William Wilberforce of its religion:

“Then this script arrived, which was pretty much a straight biopic of Wilberforce – which probably veered more into his Christian side than it did the political side,” he had said. “So I thought if I could persuade them to put the politics right more in the front of it – to make that the engine of the story, and certainly deal with his belief system and his religion and all that – then this might be something that would really be good for me to do it. So I did manage to persuade that, on all sorts of levels because I said it makes the character more interesting, because his political skills and political achievements are enormous, and we would move away from the idea of kind of making him an artifact, a kind of saint-like figure; it would give him real personality, real dimension.”

Joseph goes on to say that Apted’s reluctance to embrace the Christianity of the Narnia stories would make him a poor choice and lists  10 ways that the Narnia films can be saved. As I mentioned in a comment thread, you would enjoy the movies, but I am so thankful for the books. You would do well for your children and yourself to read them. They are a treasure.