Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

"Voyage of the Dawn Treader could be a great movie," I thought. The movie that got made, however, is not that movie. Not only is much of the original content left out, a number of things that get played up are either small incidents or not present in the book at all. So, as a big fan of the book, I was not sure what to think.

I liked the reinterpretation of the story of Lucy and the Magic Book; they used it to launch a whole theme about jealousy, temptation, and identity. Similarly at the end, when Caspian has to make a decision about what he's going to do next, he says,
“I’ve spent too much time wanting what had been taken from me and not enough being grateful for what has been given to me.”
Awesome. And - though not from the book - very much in the spirit of the story.  

They did add a lot of conflict and violence that might be hard for the youngest viewers to watch. Three new fight scenes in the first 15 minutes? And the rather funny scene with the sea-serpent transformed into a terrifying 20-minute night battle?

There are are a couple of scenes that celebrate faith and believing, when believing is just believing that what you want to happen is going to happen. What kind of faith is that? Pretty watered down, but much what you'd expect from Hollywood. Then, in the scene where the crew is about to go to the dark island, Caspian gives a speech to stir up their courage. Do it "for Narnia!" he says. "For Aslan!" he says. "For Narnia!" they echo, cheering. Some of the characters are starting to weep. Narnia! Wait, what happened to Aslan? Are they just like people in my country who adore their own, destined-to-decay nation and only give lip-service to God?

When Aslan does appear, though, he is well played. When Lucy asks whether she can see Aslan again, even if she can't return to Narnia, Aslan says yes. The line is straight from the book:
"But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
What else? The cinematography and effects are brilliant; the boat is gorgeous. The writing's not brilliant, but the acting is quite good. Overall, I would recommend this movie.

1 comment:

shantijoy said...

Very similar thoughts. Not sure how it would be I'd someone hadn't read the book.