Here is the new trailer for the third Narnia movie. I think this is a good time to make some predictions. Then after the film comes out, I'll come back and review it, rant, maybe rave, and see if I was right at all. So here's what I think.
1. I am optimistic that this movie will be better than the first two. Why?
First, because it has a different director. Andrew Adamson directed the first two very, very poorly; now Michael Apted is trying his hand. Apted knows how to direct a serious, non-cheesy, high-quality religious film: he directed Amazing Grace. He also knows how to do a special effects action blockbuster: he directed 007: The World is Not Enough. He's also done a bit with fantasy; he produced Fancis Ford Coppola's 1992 Dracula.
Second, because I think it's the kind of book Hollywood can handle. It's the most hodge-podge of the Chronicles, and it's kind of light compared to the others. Not really, of course, but it's not as heavy on theology, consistent mythology, and ideology as the others (but see my last prediction). It's bright, fun, adventuresome. The characters are delightful and various. However...
2. I predict that there will be a new plot line developed to hold the story together. I imagine that the director/producer/screenplay writer will not think that Lewis provided enough motivation for the Voyage. He provides two, as you remember: Caspian's reason for journeying is to recover or revenge the seven Narnian lords his usurping uncle Miraz sent out on wild goose chases. Reepicheep's motivation is to reach the end of the world and, beyond it, Aslan's country. While this is sufficient motivation for each character individually and is quite fine for the book, I think that Hollywood is going to devise some cheap, facile, end-of-the-world reason for the journey. Now, after having watched the trailer, I seem to be confirmed in this prediction already. There's some "We have to save Narnia from total destruction!" nonsense at the end.
3. There will be quite a few thrills of Sehnsucht, even with the inevitable, sicking cheapening process the people and their archetypal roles will go through. Amongst the poor jokes, juvenile humour, unnecessary risks and stunt suspense, there will be moments of high and lofty beauty: the Ship herself, the Magician's book, the white lilies in the Silver Sea, sometimes the music, sometimes a facial expression, sometimes a curve of the camera, sometimes the sky over the sea. Note: I didn't see any hint of dragons, which would be patently absurd and a bigger cop-out than the deletion of Bacchus and his Maenaeds in Prince Caspian. If there are no dragons (sea- or land-), I'll want my money back. And will weep. And another side note: What are Peter and Susan doing in the trailer?!?
4. I am certain that they will leave out the Christology with which the book closes: the broiled fish, the lamb becoming a lion, the final speech. Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that they got to know Him in Narnia so that they would be able to know Him better by another name, i.e., Jesus, in their own world. I'll wager there won't be any of that. And other theologically important moments will be cut or watered down: Reepicheep's longing for heaven, the cross-like Albatross, the hellish nature of the Island Where Dreams Come True (oh, it will be bad enough, I'm sure, just not hellish), the punishment of the Star Coriakin, Aslan's comments about coming and going, the Biblical nature of the story in the Magician's book, and (most of all) every rich supernatural suggestive detail on Ramandu's Island. It's almost enough to keep me from going to see the movie. But I lived through the blasphemy of Prince Caspian, so I guess I'll make it. With more psychological damage.
...and, while we're on the topic of films, who can barely wait until Harry Potter 7 part I???!!!