Dawn Treader not leaving port

28 Jan

Disney has decided not to fund the third Narnia Movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Despite having a cast, a director, a script, and a bunch of work already done on preproduction, design, etc. they’ve decided to shut it down. That leaves Walden Media with all the work that’s been done, but no one to fund the rest of it. Apparently Disney is not sure it’s a good investment, particularly after the lackluster (comparative to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) profit made by the second movie, Prince Caspian.

This is a prime example of the movie industry mis-reading the signs. Not that I blame them entirely; in an industry where nobody knows anything and your continued existence depends on revenue, what else is there to look at but financial box-office/DVD results? In this case they saw diminishing returns and figured that’s the inevitable direction of Narnia films.

Not so, I say. The reason Caspian didn’t do as well is because the first movie simply wasn’t that good. The reason the first movie did so well is because it’s Narnia. People love Narnia, and they want to go there, and they want to love it. So everyone went to see the first one (it’s Narnia), but not everyone loved it (it wasn’t the Narnia they wanted). When the sequel rolls around, fewer people see it since they didn’t enjoy the first one and figure that the second one will be more of the same (more of the Narnia they don’t want). Pretty simple. But the Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a better book than Prince Caspian (and debatably better than Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe), and now that they’re all practiced in creating Narnia… the third time could be a charm.
I’m optimistic about their chances, but that’s because I’m one of the “few” that saw Prince Caspian. Since I suspect most of you didn’t (though most of you probably did see Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe) I should let you know that it was much better. It engaged me, brought me into a magical world with sights and creatures that I loved, and had a compelling storyline which didn’t feel like just connecting the dots to get from A to C. Some of the weaknesses from the first film carried over of course, most notably Aslan still being a mere cg lion with the voice of Liam Neeson, but his role is smaller in this one. Also this is entirely overcome by the fact that Reepicheep is in Prince Caspian. Eddie Izzard is the voice of Reepicheep, who is fantastic, and since he has a larger role in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader…

Prince Caspian was almost the Narnia I wanted. It was certainly much closer than the first movie, which is why I have high hopes for the third one. I hope that some other studio/production company will decide that Narnia is a good risk, and create it again. Once a King or Queen…
I’d love to return.

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5 Responses to “Dawn Treader not leaving port”

  1. kirawen January 29, 2009 at 2:01 am #

    I’d almost go with, Prince Caspian didn’t do well because Prince Caspian historically sucks. It’s apallingly dull compared to most of the other books, and especially in its unfortunate place sandwiched between two of the best. Rather, the two best, in my opinion.
    Also, Susan gets shafted in the series, and this version of Prince Caspian, I think, just emphasized that. Giving her a love prospect and then telling her she can’t go back to Narnia? Man, I hate Susan and always have, I’ll admit, but that is HARSH. Isn’t what happens at the end of the series bad enough?

    • junorhane January 29, 2009 at 3:34 am #

      Good point about the book being both not very good and sandwiched between the two best. The book being not great is, I think, part of the reason I enjoyed the movie as much as I did.
      They changed some things, fleshed out some things, and added some things and all in all (I think) improved the story. They added in some bits in London where the kids have to deal with the fact that they’ve already lived a whole lifetime (as royalty) but they’re still kids. They added in the love angle with Susan and Caspian (since they made Caspian older) and as cliche as the idea is I think it worked really well (made more bitersweet by the fact that they kick Susan out at the end, but at least it improves her character when she’s there).
      The fact that they made a movie as good as they did from the worst book gave me high hopes for how well they would do with Dawn Treader.

      • motherofjedi January 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

        And Dawn Treader is just the best, period. You’re right, I have not seen Caspian although I’ve thought about renting it, and you’re right that it’s because their Narnia was not my Narnia. But Dawn Treader!!! Please!!! and Reepicheep!!! Yay!!!

      • junorhane January 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

        You may get your wish…

      • kirawen January 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

        DT has always been my favourite, too. And Reepicheep my favourite character ^_^ Was neat seeing Warwick Davis in a Narnia movie NOT playing Reepicheep, and I like Eddie Izzard’s (vocal) performace.
        Was interesting to have an older Prince Caspian, though I still think it makes Susan get the raw deal even more than she does in the series. Also, I did just love how they touched on the subject of the kids having lived a lifetime only to have to re-accustom themselves to living in London as children. And return to Narnia as children…

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