The Chronicles of Comercaliztion

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The market, the mind, and the Disney Company
So far, Disney has released a new Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Tredder. After I have seen the trailer, I felt excited to go see it; and who would not….All of the amazing visuals and special effects what kind of kid wound not go see it. Little did I know that Disney’s Narnia franchise is actually a source of income fueled by misleading mechanization and merchandise, poor rating assessment, and neuro-marketing. In addition, Disney leaves out some of the colorful morals and values in the movies, which can only be enjoyed, by actually reading the books. A few years back, I have seen the Disney version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe I was impressed at the quality of the special effects and was overjoyed. After that, I did not watch the low-budget BBC version again, but still my mom complained about the amount of dialog lost in the movie! However, the second film Prince Caspian did not impress me at all; it left out the story of how he grew up, which is detailed in The Horse and his Boy, which the Disney Company probably did not do because of the racial connotations in the story. The villain turning into a donkey is one of the examples of some of these connotations; and the so-called “Easterlings” is another example. For a long time, I could not wait for them to do Voyage of the Dawn Tredder, but even after Dawn Tredder came out, I was thinking about how they could interpret the other books, The Silver Chair and the final book The Last Battle.
However, along with that I was thinking about how they might exploit them as well. What would the action figures for The Last Battle look like, a unicorn with a bloody stain on its horn? A donkey in a dead lions’ skin, could there be some misleading mechanization involved in the next two Narnia movies? What is misleading merchandise; first, misleading merchandise is a group of products, usually toys and games, which are based off a PG or PG-13 movie, but are geared towards younger children. One example of this was when Lego sets based on Disney’s Prince of Persia were released during the beginning of its theatrical release, even though the ratting for the movie was PG-13. Probably the same pattern that is occurring with Narnia, is the same pattern that occurred a little while back with the Harry Potter movies when the ratting changed from family friendly PG to the more adult PG-13, especially when the forth and the seventh film came out. In 2000 when the first Harry Potter movie was released, it was deemed that both children and adults would enjoy the film and be satisfied with its rating. However, when the forth movie was released a few years after, children were scared out of their seats! Especially when the old Mr.Voldamort comes back from the dead…very traumatizing, is it now….ok people, little Jimmy needs to leave now because Mr. Voldamort is threatening to actually kill Harry! I mean really kill Harry…
My point is that the latter Narnia movies are probably something you do not want to take your eight or ten year old to see at the theater. At one point in the seventh book, The Silver Chair, there is a city of giants; and they are not the friendly type, like in Ronald Dahl or in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. They are slow, unintelligent, and even cannibalistic. In the book, the three characters Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum (a marsh-wiggle) enter a city of giants, whom are preparing for Harfang’s Autumn Feast, onto which they are intentionally planning to cook and eat them! In addition, similar problems like this appear in another recent film…Coraline. Yes, every parent remembers when the children were amazed by the world of the “other mother” which was so bright and colorful at the beginning….but when Coraline refuses to have buttons for eyes…..that is when things turn into nightmare fuel in a split second! When the film first came out however, the trailer seemed somewhat child-friendly like James and the Giant Peach did. Yes, everyone wanted to enter into this “magical world” not aware that when they saw it they would be scared in all two directions of fear, left and right exit anyone…

So why would a trailer not reveal the exact content of the film it is advertising? Leave that up to neuro marketing! This type of marketing triggers certain sensations our brains to either buy a product or in this case, go see a movie. Neuro-marketing studies determine what colors, shapes, words, or phrases are pleasant to the viewer of the trailer, for example with Coraline. Scenes with bright colors and shapes, and a critic comment that screams, “Take your child to this movie!” are surefire way to show the audience that this movie is “family friendly” even if the half of the entire film will scare the even most sensitive kid in the audience. The same goes for Narnia and Harry Potter as well, put in all the action filled and awe-inspiring parts of the film together with some important scenes and you got yourself a trailer that every age can enjoy. In addition, the key to good quality neuro-marked trailers is that they do not reveal the ending scenes so that you do not truly know the outcome of the film, and…number one is to edit out any of the terrifying or violent parts of the movie, unless you intend the movie to be dark or freighting for the audience.

Another question to ask yourself before you even watch the movies is, “what is the true theme of Narnia altogether?” What C.S.Lewis is trying to teach us is that imagination is an escape from the harsh realities around us, and helps us triumph over the fears that we see and experience every day. He also teaches us something that children today do not know about imagination, that it teaches us, and incites us to do good things within our lives and to others lives. When the children of the Narnia books, come out of the wardrobe they actually learn about each other and discover their true self’s; and learn that there are not only terrible and horrific things in life, but also there is joy and happiness in life as well. Essentially, they learn the similarities and parallels of the fantasy world and the real world. Fantasy is actually a reflection of reality; the reflections of the lessons we learn in life.

To me, Narnia cannot only be a book that connects to Christian themes but also connects to the Taoist principle of Yin and Yang, and the Buddhist principle of Karma. Good must face evil to create more good things in life, courage must face fear to create people that are more courageous, and Death must come in order to have new life….is that what Aslan is suppose to teach us in these films. If so, why are the Narnia films shown at churches as well as theaters? Does the pope know about this? Probably not, but just wait until the animated version of Tezuka’s Buddha manga is bought up by Disney, coming to theaters… and right in this Buddhist Temple!





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