I got excited when I saw the announcement that The Silver Chair was going to be the next Chronicles of Narnia to be released. This is one of my favorite books in the series and it’d be awesome to see this book come to life in a big way. I don’t know about the rest of you , but The Chronicles of Narnia were a big part of my childhood. My parents read us the books, we watched the cartoon and we owned (and watched repeatedly) the BBC movies.
The BBC movies had their issues admittedly. The people in animal costumes, the horrible casting of Lucy, and the special effects in general.
They grew and learned (some) from their mistakes. Granted the special effects by the time The Silver Chair was made weren’t much better. The owls were very odd and the serpent at the end with the purple blood was not very believable. The really good bad thing was definitely the earth men jumping down into the lava. I laugh every time I see that sequence. They did, however, do a much better job casting Scrub and Pole and the biggest, most amazing thing they did was cast Tom Baker as Puddleglum.
I can’t say that I had really understood his character before or appreciated the humour behind it until Tom made him come to life. The dry, straightforward delivery is genius. I can’t re-read this book without Tom Baker as my Puddleglum in my imagination. All the other characters change and evolve, but Tom Baker IS Puddleglum.
So here’s my request/hope/desire please, please casting people recast Tom Baker in this role. If he could revisit this character again with a larger special effects budget it could be epic. Or if Tom is too old or not what they are going for visually I really hope that the person cast in this role will watch how Tom plays it and take notes.
Most importantly I hope that Hollywood doesn’t feel the need to add a new plot line to this awesome story like they did with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (which admittedly is one of my least favorite of the books). I do believe Dr. Jon Sprinkle summed it up best when he said:
“I’m glad they’re making it, because what we’ve had too much of in Hollywood lately is bobance and bounce and high spirits. We’ve got to learn that life isn’t all fricasseed frogs and eel pie. We want something to sober us down a bit.
Now a movie like this — an adaptation that will be compared to a version shown chiefly on VCRs, with actors who will mostly be in front of a green screen, shot in 3D for its limited run in the theater and filled with action sequences that aren’t in the book — will be just the thing. If that doesn’t steady a chap, I don’t know what will.”
(Who is Dr. Jon Sprinkle? From UA’s website: Dr. Jonathan Sprinkle is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. In 2013 he received the NSF CAREER award, and in 2009, he received the UA’s Ed and Joan Biggers Faculty Support Grant for work in autonomous systems. Until June 2007, he was the Executive Director of the Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests and experience are in systems control and engineering, through modeling and metamodeling, and he teaches in controls and systems modeling.—- and he’s also my brother, but doesn’t all that other crap sound more impressive?)
Remember, “many fall down, but few return to the sunlit lands.”
Here’s a clip from the BBC version to leave you with: