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The A-Z Blogging Challenge is something that I am taking part in for the first time. It has been going for a few years and is more popular that ever. The premise is very simple. Each day in April with the exception of a few Sundays, bloggers from around the world blog for 26 days in April with each day’s blog beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, so April 1st is “A”, the 2nd is “B” and so on. The subject of each blog can be anything as long as it is to do with the appropriate letter. Some people blog about anything, some people theme their blogs. I hope you enjoy reading some of my posts and if I would love to read your comments about my challenge.

“C” is for Chronicles Of Narnia.

hildren’s stories are always a great way of getting a movie franchise off the ground because they will instantly appeal to the masses and also to the adult audience who like the original stories if they are based on books. We shall visit more of these later in the blog challenge, but here at just letter “C” we encounter our first kid’s series with The Chronicles of Narnia.Based upon the highly popular series of novels by C.S. Lewis written in the mid 20th century, the complete series was seven fantasy stories. There have been a few incarnations of some of the stories, but in recent years they have been turned into big budget Hollywood’s movies, well some of them at least.

The most famous of course is The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, the first in the series. I do remember reading this book when I was a child and was looking forward to a modern remake of it on the big screen. The movie from 2005 seems so long ago now, but at the time it was highly anticipated as an alternative to the Harry Potter movies. The first movie tells the story of how Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund come to discover the world of Narnia by entering through a seemingly ordinary wardrobe in the house of Professor Digory Kirke. There they will help a talking lion and many other animals save Narnia from the evil clutches of the White Witch who has plunged Narnia into an eternal winter.

I enjoyed the movie and thought that it was something different from the darker overtones of the Harry Potter stories. It was of course a huge success starring the likes of Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy and Anna Popplewell amongst voice the talent of Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone, Dawn French and Rupert Everett. Quite an ensemble. So following this hit, the next in the series was greenlit.

Moving on, it was another three years before Prince Caspian was released in cinemas. This part of the series charts the story when the Pevensie children travel back to Narnia for the second time to find the Kingdom in ruins and the rightful heir Prince Caspian in hiding in the woods after his uncle Miraz usurps the throne. I found this story a bit slower but it did introduce some new characters and acting talent such as Eddie Izzard, Peter Dinklage and Ben Barnes. Dinklage has gone on to bigger and better things (Game Of Thrones) but Barnes’ work has been more sporadic. We’ll see him again in a minute though…

The movie was successful in terms of making more than its budget, but in comparison to its prequel, not even close to it. Considered a “moderate success” it was enough to warrant making a third movie in the series, but it would no longer be backed by Disney. Perhaps they saw the writing on the wall as regards the future of the franchise. One of the problems I saw with this series was the ages of the “children”. Already young adults by the time this movie came out, it was always going to difficult to keep it going.

The third story in the franchise is The Voyage Of The Dawntreader. This time, accompanied by their cousin Eustace. The two younger children, Lucy and Edmund, have to help the now King Prince Caspian defeat an evil on an island by rescuing seven lords whose swords hold the key to winning the battle against said evil. The fact that the story focusses on the younger children nipped a potential problem in the bud with the likes of Anna Popplewell now a grown woman, and certainly not very childlike anymore. Disney had decided not to produce the movie and it was put on hold for a year until Fox decided to back it. As with the previous film, it did reasonably well at the box office, but even the 3D aspect to its release didn’t make it any more successful.

I liked the story itself, but I didn’t find myself very involved with the characters and I could only see one way this franchise was going to end up. The future as it looks at the moment isn’t that great for the Narnia series. There have been debates over which story should be remade next, the actors are quickly getting older and it is going to be no earlier than 2014 before a new movie can be made because of the Lewis estate’s option to sell more of the rights. It’s a legal thing although there appears to be no bad blood between the parties. Personally I don’t think there will be anymore movies in the franchise and if there are, they will probably be straight to DVD movies or made specifically for TV. It’s a shame, but I think they have just taken too long to make with not the expected return when compared to Harry Potter or Twilight.

Thanks for reading. Remember to have a look at some of the A-Z Blog Challenge’s other bloggers. There is plenty of variety to go around.