It’s not often that we get any news out of Narnia, but the latest isn’t all bad: Director Greta Gerwig, whose films include Lady Bird, Little Women and the upcoming Barbie flick, is set to direct at least two of Netflix’s Chronicles Of Narnia films.
Gerwig is a talented director, and I think she’ll do a fine job with whichever of the films she helms, whether that’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or The Silver Chair.
I’m more concerned with Netflix being in charge of these films. I have two reasons for this. First, if it’s not going to be another animated adaptation (more’s the pity) then I’d like to see this on the big screen, at a theater, not just on streaming. Cinema is being robbed of all kinds of potential by these direct-to-streaming releases, and moviegoers are being given short shrift.
Second, Netflix has a bad track record. Not only have they cancelled promising projects like The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance, they’ve made it clear that faithful adaptations are low on their priority list. What faithful adaptations do come out (Lockwood & Co. or I Am Not Okay With This) seem to be cancelled almost instantly. Meanwhile, big fantasy properties like The Witcher are butchered beyond recognition.
Narnia presents unique problems for Netflix. C.S. Lewis was a man of faith, and one of the great Christian apologists of modern times. Narnia is a Christian fable at its core, and one that cannot be properly adapted without leaving its religious themes intact. But Christianity is far from en vogue these days in the entertainment industry, especially with big streamers like Netflix. Not that Netflix is above preaching—it’s just usually a different Message being preached.
How will Netflix reconcile the potentially opposing influences of modern social justice politics and Lewis’s Christian allegory? I have grave doubts that the company will even try. I’m usually such an optimist! You may not believe me, but it’s true.
I look forward to all these adaptations like I look forward to falling in love—knowing full well that it always ends the same:
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