The Hardest Scene for The Magician’s Nephew Movie to Get Right | Talking Beasts

C.S. Lewis packed The Chronicles of Narnia with evocative imagery, but perhaps no scene is more awe-inspiring the the creation of Narnia itself. Whoever decides to helm a film adaptation of The Magician’s Nephew, chapter 9 might be their most difficult task. Listen to the podcasters discuss!

Watch part 2 of this discussion.

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle

4 Responses

  1. J says:

    To Ms. Greta Gerwig, Netflix, Mark Gordon and EONE, in case any of you read this:

    I hope the Narnia creation scene is an extensively detailed scene with a steady un-rushed pace. The audience is experiencing a real novelty; something onscreen they’ve probably never seen in such detail before (likely remembered as the visual centerpiece of the whole movie) so they won’t be bothered by the length of the sequence. And make it a long scene. From the moment the rings transport the 6 main characters from the Wood to the Darkness, to the moment Aslan proclaims “ NARNIA NARNIA” – 10, maybe 15 minutes of show-stopping, cinematic bliss: that would be wonderful. It doesn’t have to be that long, but a good film is never too long. As long as it’s good, we’re good!

    Sincerely, a homeless squatter on NarniaWeb. 😉

  2. Fireberry says:

    I am a Canadian playwright and I appreciate all points made. In 2018, I was part of a large scale “Magician’s Nephew” stage version at Canada’s Shaw Festival and I was very happy with and proud of the result. Fully appreciating Jack’s notes about atmosphere and sehnsucht. Hope all future adaptors do so as well!

  3. Col Klink says:

    I wrote a long comment on this episode last night but somehow it seems to have disappeared. 🙁 I don’t think it would have been taken down for content reasons. Here’s my second try.

    I actually don’t think it would be impossible for a movie to do justice to this scene with a literal or concrete depiction of what’s described. I can think of examples of cinematic scenes that give me the same sense of awe or a similar one. A lot of Studio Ghibli movies come to mind and the Fantasia movies. Of course, those are animated, and I don’t want an (entirely) animated Magician’s Nephew till we get a good one that’s not (entirely.) Maybe I’m just more easily impressed by music than the podcasters so it’s easier for me to imagine a soundtrack doing justice to Aslan’s song.

    In my comment on the last episode, I mentioned the Circle of Life scene from The Lion King as one that gave me the feel of this scene or something close. I know that sounded lazy because that scene also has a lion and a bunch of animals but that really wasn’t why I mentioned it. Well, OK, not solely why. 😉 That scene is supposed to be like an ancient ritual performed by animals that has nothing to do with humans. Watching it, the viewers aren’t supposed to be thinking of how they can exploit it as Uncle Andrew does the newly created world of Narnia. They’re supposed to watch and marvel like Digory, Polly and the cabby.

    I actually want Netflix or whoever to include the comedic elements of this scene with Uncle Andrew and Jadis. It could ruin the mood if done badly but if done well with good comedic timing and everything, I believe seeing the villains get comeuppance could add to the joy of the scene. I also like Aslan completely ignoring the characters in this scene. If Aslan were like that in every scene, it would be a problem, but it works great for me here and it creates a powerful contrast with his tears a few scenes later.

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t mind that we don’t get an origin story for the White Witch’s followers from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe even though The Magician’s Nephew gives us an origin story from almost everything else in that book. It just doesn’t bug me.

    I actually think this episode is unfair to Andrew Adamson’s LWW. It’s true that it severely truncated the coming of spring and the freeing of the statues and that’s a sore point with me. But it has plenty of slow-paced scenes that aren’t action moments. There’s Lucy’s first entry into Narnia and her ensuing conversation with Tumnus. There’s the scene of all four Pevensies journeying to Tumnus’s cave. There’s the scene of Peter, Susan and Lucy arriving at Aslan’s camp with the big buildup to seeing him for the first time. Sheesh, even the opening credits! Those are all joyful non-action moments that have time to breathe, and they have less innate spectacle than the creation of Narnia. I feel like someone who hadn’t seen the movie and just listened to the episode would assume the movie was nothing but action and that’s just not true.

    That being said, great episode!

    Congratulations to Mrs. Glumpuddle on becoming a doctor! I’m sure she had to work long and hard to get there.

  4. Bolton says:

    Magician’s Nephew has so many memorable images and scenes for an adaptation, this being on the list. Hopefully we’re gearing up to see that one first from Netflix. That won’t stop us from anticipating and discussing it though!