Deep Magic in C.S. Lewis' Land of Narnia
- Thursday, December 01, 2005
It’s certain that a collective sigh of relief can be heard from Narnia fans around the world. This adaptation of their venerated tale is the real thing.
A Narnian Invasion
As with any film of this magnitude, there will be dozens of ancillary tie-in products. For starters, Zondervan is releasing the seven-book collection, repackaged with images and artwork from the film, in addition to creating a multitude of new companion pieces. Toymaker, Hasbro, has the action figure rights; and Hallmark will produce greeting cards, stationary and ornaments. But don’t slip into despair over a perceived lack of Narnian mementos: You’ll also be able to purchase Narnia-licensed toothbrushes, T-shirts, throw rugs and footwear, not to mention a complete line of jewelry, calendars, bank checks, bedding and porcelain dolls.
Tapping a particularly lucrative vein, Jeff Sehring, Senior Marketing Manager at Buena Vista Games, expects big things from the video game version of the film and says his company will be taking advantage of the holiday shopping season for a “full-throttle marketing push for "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" video game on a worldwide scale.”
Narnia materials may even be used in schools. Walden Media, professing a firm commitment to education, has created numerous resources accessible to educators free of charge and has partnered with such organizations as Reading Is Fundamental and the American Music Conference to develop activities designed to encourage learning.
But first and foremost in the minds of all music lovers is the exclusively crafted music that will bring the film to life. The stunning soundtrack by Harry Gregson-Williams (who recently scored the "Kingdom of Heaven" soundtrack) was recently joined by EMI’s “inspired by” soundtrack featuring some of the top names in the Christian music community. It’s a luminous keepsake collection featuring Jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, tobyMac, Bethany Dillon, Rebecca St. James and others. (Surprisingly, Jars of Clay is the only non-EMI artist included on the soundtrack.)
Denise George, Director of Artist Development at EMI Christian Music Group, says the partnership between the Christian music company and Disney was a no-brainer, pointing to crossover artists such as Jump5 as examples of previous successful relationships between the two.
“I think it’s a natural pairing,” she says. “Because of our past relationships, it was just kind of a natural growth when Disney was looking at the global brand release for the ‘inspired by’ soundtrack. EMI offers the kind of global system that Disney was looking for.”
It’s no surprise when you consider the breadth of Narnia’s artistic fan base, but A-list artists lined up for the chance to be a part of the project, some turning in four or five tracks. “This wasn’t just a perfunctory deal for these artists,” George said. “They took it so seriously. There is such passion in these songs because they are truly ‘inspired by.’ There was not one artist that we had to say, ‘Hey, read this book and write a song.’ They all came to us.”
Sparrow recording artist Bethany Dillon recounts her delight at participating in the soundtrack.
“I remember going through 'The Chronicles of Narnia' with my mom when I was learning how to read. ... She’d read a page; I’d read a page. Those books are so epic and captivating. ... It tells the story that everyone wants to be a part of. It has so affected my faith – from relating so much to the character of Edmund, to loving the good and dangerous hero, Aslan – and has drawn me closer to the heart of God.
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