The runaway success of fantasy-oriented movies such as the Harry Potter series and, of course, The Lord of the Rings has started a trend of sorts. Since those movies were actually quite good, there is already a very high bar to jump for anyone else who wants to jump on board the gravy train.
Anyone who wants to make a fantasy movie these days will need to be prepared to invest in a top-quality script, state-of-the-art special effects and well-known, Oscar-worthy actors and directors who can get people sitting in the theater seats.
The latest addition to the fold is the first of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, currently in pre-production and slated for a late 2005 release. It's always hard to believe that something you imagined so vividly in your mind can be translated accurately to the big screen, but it can be done, as Peter Jackson showed us.
My feelings on this particular movie are mixed as far as cast and crew. Of course, a movie this early into production can change cast and/or crew if somebody sneezes wrong, but so far the director is Andrew Adamson, who is best known for directing Shrek and (brace yourself) Shrek 2. The ice queen will reportedly be played by Tilda Swinton. I'm not her biggest fan, but based on what I have seen of her work, a villain role (which the ice queen most certainly is) is more appropriate for her.
So did Peter Jackson redeem at least one genre of movies? Perhaps in part he did, but I'm willing to bet that studio heads aren't happy about this trend at all. Investing hundreds of millions of dollars into production and marketing is something that the suits have become more and more reluctant to do. All I can say is, it's a good thing the reality movie genre has mostly crashed and burned at the box office; otherwise, we would be overrun with unscripted drama on TV and in the theaters.