Sunday, December 12, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Review and Refelction

It was my 23rd wedding anniversary on yesterday and Kris  and I went out to the movies as part of our celebration (it's the low budget time of the year). we went and saw Andrew Andrew's adaptation of CS Lewis's 'The Voyage of the Dawn treader' from his Chronicles of Narnia' series. I have read and read the books to my children and love the story. AS A christian I cannot help but cry when reading or watching the death and Resurrection scene in' the Lion, Witch and the Waldrobe' which despite Liam Neeson's recent comment that Aslan could be any religious figure is CS Lewis' Christ figure in his story.

I haven't read the voyage of the dawn treader for many years but found as I do with many film adaptations of Book's, myself  saying I'm sure that wasn't in the book. And there is a lot in the film that is not in the book. I guess when you've CGI'ed a dragon you don't just want to use it for a short time and with 3D in mind  an aerial dogfight between the dragon and a sea serpent makes cinematic sense. It was obvious that some of the CGI effects (like a buzzing WW2 spitfire in the opening sequence) were designed for 3DLikewise making an external character of evil itself is helpful in a story where people find themselves tested and tempted, it gives a chance through special effects to visualise the inner struggle, just in case people don't get it, and to provide a classical good verses evil fantasy plot line. Having said that I must say the movie was great and I enjoyed it.

I appreciated the fact that the characters were tried and tested and faced real temptations. that they were ith the help of faith and with the help of the one they have put that faith in faced and over come those temptations and trials. Popularity, Power, wealth, Self-centeredness were all faced and over come. As were the haunting and dark shadows of past failings and insecurities. Edmund was constantly taunted with his past failings and a sense of inadequacy. Lucy faces a developing sexuality and comparing herself to her older sisters beauty. Eustice Stubbs (so well cast as all the children have been) portrayed self centeredness so well and it took some dragonician (a play on words) events and the friendship of a talking mouse to change his character.

AS with al the previous movies the scenery is totally amazing and magical. The Dawn Treader itself is wonderfully fashioned to be faithful to the original illustrations in the book. It was great to have those illustrations used in the closing credits as it tied the remediation of film into the the books.

The climax of the film was well done and moving. Caspian and Reepicheep the mouse meeting Aslan at the shores to his kingdom beyond the sea. The way in which Caspian is able to assert that he is called to serve his people rather than follow his own desires and wants saying "I want to be a better King' And Aslam's affirmation 'You already are' is a great moment for people who choose service and leadership. Edmund and Lucy were able to show very clearly that while they had been summons to Narnia yet again in our hour of need that as they had faced that, they had grown to as people to the place that they no longer needed Narnia to continue their own journey. They needed to know Aslan by another name in their own country and context. Reepicheep's setting sail in a coracle to the home of  the emperor over the sea (Aslan's father) bought tears to my eyes.   This CGI furry mouse had become such a loved character and one that showed such ventures as friendship, loyalty and a willingness to face adversity with courage and faith, is heading off on his final, be it eternal, adventure.

All in All a good movie. One I have many reflections on. The metaphor of life and faith as a journey, an epic sea journey I one that if you are a regular on my blog you will realise that I love. It was good to have a cinematic presentation of the wrestles that go in, on that journey, both hardships and trials and wrestling with inner temptations and our innate fallenness and to be reminded of Jesus ability to help and to encourage along the way.  Eustace Stubb's gives me particular hope as I am aware of all my own faults and failings and wondering how could I have a part in Christ's plans and purposes as we see transformational change happen in his character.


  1. I like this post and all, but um...
    It's ASLAN. (Not Aslam...)
    *Loyal Narnia obsessive freak* Just... pay attention to the books, you'll see.

  2. Shealy the just what can I say humble apologies. I've just edited it.

  3. I would like to say that aslam is an old english variation on the name. But alas my spell checker simply does not know it's English Litrature and let me down (again)