This is from way back when the BBC made great kids stuff all the time with seemingly no effort. Part of the charm of the series is how extremely dated it now looks. I’m amazed how enthralled I was at the time but it’s still a lovely romp through hilarious special effects and some wonderfully overdramatic acting.
Of the four books they made (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Prince Caspian,The Voyage of the Dawntreader and The Silver Chair), it was Dawntreader that had the most effect on me and still does. Those silent windswept islands with their secrets and mournful solitude. They are still endlessly fascinating to this day, like a ghostly Polynesia if you will.
when rereading the books years later, I found that they are so much more wonderfully effective. Imagine everyone who has ever picked up The Magician’s Nephew seeing in their mind Narnia being created from the same words but with millions of different versions floating around the cosmos of collective imagination. Great stuff, not only that but each of these hundreds of thousands of Narnia’s grows ever more complex and old throughout the books, giving you the pleasure of your own ages old world to explore.
The main pleasure I derived was this aging. As each story establishes itself, the time that Narnia has lived through without the children from our world immediately changes your perspective on your own created world. It becomes more lived in, less bright and shiny, dog-eared like a favourite book that has been read so many times. It’s this clever and simple device which draws you in and makes you care about the world and characters and keeps the stories fresh.
The Chronicles are some of my favourite carefree escapism, that seem to transcend any certain genre, although I have chosen to put it into the genre of Children’s Literature for the purposes of classification on here. Interestingly I find that the recreations stretching from the old cartoon and BBC productions, right through to the modern film versions are each compelling enough for a few rewatches from time to time and have at there forefront the maturing of Narnia as well as the main protagonists.