The Case of Walden Media
Walden Media is the company notably behind the latest adaptations of the first three volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia, that is, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Andrew Adamson, 2005), Prince Caspian (Andrew Adamson, 2008) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Michael Apted, 2010). The company was created by Michael Flaherty and Cary Granat at the very beginning of the twenty-first century, and it intended to ‘recapture imagination and rekindle curiosity’1 through family-friendly films adapted from children’s books that were either bestsellers and/or featured on school reading lists. An educational goal was thus at the forefront of the creation of Walden Media, whose founders wanted to take advantage of the possibility offered by cinema in that field, so as to forge a better link between film entertainment and education, notably through specially devised educator’s guides to Walden productions.
However, there is more to this than meets the eye, and though Walden Media is a secular company that employs Hollywood insiders and professionals who ‘aren’t there for any kind of spiritual or philosophical reason, they’re just there to make movies,’2 it is not by chance that this company came to be at a precise moment in American history. As William D. Romanowski points out: ‘As a crucial medium of communication, movies are enmeshed in, and bear the marks of, religious, cultural, and class conflicts throughout the twentieth century’3 and Walden Media does reflect the American society it was born into. Indeed, not only...
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