Comic-Con: Quint on the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA panel! Aslan footage and other goodies!
Published at: July 18, 2005, 2:22 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the second big panel I saw today, Disney's THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. The panel had many guests (both live via satellite) and showed a couple previously unseen clips. Let's get to it, shall we?
The panel featured Howard Berger (the B of KNB EFX), Dean Wright (visual effects designer), Richard Taylor and Ben Wootten (Weta peeps) live and in person and later featured director Andrew Adamson and all four of the kids from the movie via satellite. They were in London doing ADR (Addition Dialog Recording) for the film, but took the time to sit in on the panel discussion. The over-lapping discussion and odd flow of the panel thanks to the 10 second delay was classic.
-It was revealed that at one point the studio wanted to adapt THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, but set it modern day... in LA... just after the Earthquake. They wanted to replace Turkish Delight with Hot Dogs. Thank God that didn't happen.
-There are about 1300 VFX shots left to finish before the December 9th release date.
-The director thought having Tilda Swinton as the White Witch would bring a certain sophistication to her evil, a good counter to Aslan's sophisticated good. They're really pleased with her.
-Andrew Adamson was asked about the voice of Aslan... and he announced/confirmed what "some internet sites have already guessed." Liam Neeson is the voice of Aslan. He has recorded and they were blown away by his performance.
-They were all asked about the religious aspect of CS Lewis' story. Adamson commented... He's making a film that tries to capture his memory of reading it as a kid, not necessarily his critique of it as an adult. He said that some people read it and come away with a good deal of spiritual values, yet others read it and see it as just a grand adventure.
He's being very faithful to that original material, so if you walked away from the book with a sense of spiritual fulfillment, then you'll walk away from the movie with that. If you walked away from the book having had a great adventure, then that's what you'll walk away with from the movie, he claimed. I like that stance, myself. I'm not Christian, but the parallels in the story doesn't turn me off of the inherent classic quality of the drama.
They showed a new "storypod," a series of behind the scenes documentaries that show on the Narnia website as well as a montage from the flick.
The Storypod didn't have much interesting in it, besides a look at Jim Broadbent as Professor Digory. He had a bit of a crazy white beard... a little Col. Sanders inspired, but more full.
The montage clip is where it's at. My criticism of the trailer and poster is that the film didn't seem to have it's own identity, but the look and tone of other fantasy films. I want the movie to be as great is the material promises it could be, so I keep looking for something to grasp onto. Today I saw some footage that gave me more hope for a stand out flick.
In the clip we see the kids having tea with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. The beavers were completely CG and not totally photorealistic, but a lot less cartoony than I was expecting them to be. The effects are done on them, either, so I don't have any worries when it comes to these guys. They tell the kids of the prophecy of the 4 sons of Adam and daughters of Eve taking over Narnia and that the White Witch will stop them at all costs because if the prophecy is fulfilled then she will lose her power.
The sequence show that really got my juices cooking was a bit about 40 seconds long that had Aslan walking through the creatures of the black up to the stone table. Those who have read the book know where this is headed. A bat-like creature taunts him as he nears the steps leading up to the stone table. He doesn't growl or roar at it, but his stare stops the taunt and sends the creature retreating.
The look on Aslan's face is 90% sadness and 10% humiliation. It was heartbreaking. The effects on Aslan were damn good. Still not 100% there, but really close.
I'm hoping for the best with this one. It looks like they're really nailing Aslan and his role in the story. That's half their battle right there. I gots my fingers crossed for this one.
Alright, squirts. I'm about to crash. I'll be back to catch-up on the panels that I let fall through the cracks during the craziness of the Con, including AEON FLUX, GHOST RIDER, THE FOG and ZATHURA. Not to mention my one on one interviews with 6 different people, half of which were adorable girls. It was a good Con!
Anyway, until then this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu!