Friday, December 17, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

Lucy Pevensie: Aslan, will we ever meet with you in our world?
Aslan: You shall.
Lucy Pevensie: How?
Aslan: Because 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 knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.
~from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
When I heard the above quotation today while watching The Voyage of the Dawn Treader I felt it was spoken not just to Lucy. I felt it was meant for all who have journeyed to Narnia through either the books or films, especially the books, and by doing so have inadvertently encountered Christ through the person of Aslan. There were many basic lessons I learned about faith and prayer by reading the books of C.S. Lewis that have stayed with me my entire life, particularly in Dawn Treader. The "conversion" of Eustace Scrubb always impacted me, as did the island where dreams come true, and the deadly island with the pool which turns everything to gold. Like any story of a voyage the voyage comes to represent the pilgrimage which is this present life. Sailing to the edge of the world beyond which lies Aslan's country is a goal we seem to share with the crew of the Dawn Treader.

Although I enjoyed the new film, I found myself wishing that they had been a little more faithful to the novel. I did not see the need for introducing new characters and new subplots to the story, such as the little stow-a-way girl and her father, when the original characters are strong enough to carry the plot. Particularly in a film where the central characters are incredibly well-portrayed by able young actors, any extraneous personages diminished the simple power of the odyssey.

I also did not see the need for the subplot of the seven swords. The goal of the quest had been to find what became of the seven lords and adding the lost swords was just a distraction. Lucy's obsession with not being as beautiful as Susan seemed a little odd, especially when the actress who plays Susan is charming but not outstandingly beautiful, and Georgie Henley's Lucy is as cute as can be. However, because I enjoy seeing those particular actors in those particular roles it did not bother me overmuch; the performances were good even if some of the ideas were slightly off. Ben Barnes has really grown into the part of Caspian, chivalrous and kingly; I like Caspian much better in the movies than I do in the books.

The most entertaining part of the film is Will Poulter as Eustace Scrubb, the ultimate nuisance whom everyone hopes is going to fall off the side of the ship. Eustace's acute observations as recorded in his diary are as hilarious as in the book. I did not think I could EVER like him but by the end of the film I did. I can see young Mr. Poulter easily being the hero of the next installment.

The film was highly watchable for the sheer spectacle of it all, like the other Narnia films, and yet perhaps not as scary as Prince Caspian, and in that respect better for young children. The musical score and costumes were delightful as well. It is always a joy to visit Narnia, as long as I remember to bring what I learned there back with me into our own world. Share


Christina said...

This may be my favorite of the Narnia books. I love the part towards the very end where Lucy and Edmund are at "the supper of the Lamb"...brilliant. The Eucharistic imagery is so powerful.

Svea Love said...

Yay! So glad this was another delightful Narnia movie. I cant'e wait to see it :)

Julygirl said...

Enjoyed the Review.
One critic complained that it dwelt too much on the Christian theme, but one must remember the Narnia Chronicles are allegories,that is what they are about!! Also that the endless sailing of the Dawn Treader merged on boring, but I can see he did not get the connection with the "Pilgrim's Progress" symbolism.