The third Chronicles of Narnia movie opened this weekend. After the relative failure of Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader almost wasn’t made at all. I was one of the many fans disappointed with Prince Caspian. So although I desperately wanted The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to be made, I was uneasy about how the story and characters would be handled.
This is more than just a fanatic’s desire to see a book translated perfectly to film. Because C.S. Lewis wrote so much religious allegory into Narnia, this becomes a matter of religion as much as a matter of literature. If Aslan is not portrayed correctly, it is a slight against my faith, since Aslan is meant to convey characteristics of Christ. I don’t envy the screenwriters and directors their difficult task in translating a Christian allegory for the mostly non, and sometimes anti-Christian masses.
I went to see Dawn Treader on Sunday, and sat on the edge of my seat the whole time. After, I called Mum to tell her she had to go see it immediately. Mum’s the one who introduced me to Narnia as a child. We read the books aloud. We watched the BBC TV movies together. So, as the movies have come out, we’ve talked about them a lot, and I call her after each film to let her know what I think. I was able to convince her to go see the movie (along with Dadoo, Weasel and about 10 friends) on Sunday night after church.
The next day, we corresponded by email about the movie. Here’s what I wrote:
It’s been a little while since I read Eustace. That and Aslan’s Beach were the two things I was most worried about being tainted. But although there were changes made, I feel like those two scenes still resonated exactly as they should. I think I’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the movie better the next time, since I know it all turns out OK in the end. I started getting choked up at the un-dragoning of Eustace, lip started quivering at the sea of lilies, tears started pooling when Eustace described his experience with Aslan to Edmund, and by the end I was a mess.. I know they made quite a few changes, but I wasn’t bothered by any of it. They seemed to have hit all the really important points, and definitely nailed the characters and feeling of the book so much better than they did with . I do want to see it again. I was on pins and needles through the whole movie worrying about the un-dragoning of
I was not expecting to get emotional about the film. I knew that particular scenes are very personal to me, but I know them so well, they don’t pierce me like the first time anymore. But seeing them onscreen, knowing that so many people will get to experience this for the first time… it was amazing. I came out of the theater convinced that people should see this movie, and that The Silver Chair must be made.
I know that there’s quite a large question mark hanging over the rest of the series, since the actors are growing up quickly, and the studios don’t have a lot of confidence in the financial success of Narnia anymore. I think most of the problem has to do with marketing. And of course the fan disappointment with Prince Caspian put a damper on the enthusiasm for Dawn Treader. Hopefully, Dawn Treader redeems the series in the fans’ eyes and will be successful enough to give the studios incentive to carry on with the other movies. Personally, I’m not as invested in The Magician’s Nephew or The Horse and His Boy. But I’d love to see The Silver Chair and The Last Battle make it to production.
So GO SEE THE MOVIE. It’s well worth the time & money. No need to see it in 3D, though. It wasn’t filmed in 3D, so there’s no reason to pay extra just for some added effects. Personally, I find 3D distracting in live-action movies. For a movie as visually complex and stunning as Narnia, it’s completely unnecessary.