03 December 2010


Twelve Things about The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"

12. Why can't all adaptations be like this? The film is hardly flawless, but it has great respect for both the source material and the characters. Yes, the filmmakers have "changed" a lot of things--but I'd say they had to, for the sake of making a good movie. Unlike today's MG/YA Fantasy writers, C.S. Lewis never teased himself with the thought that his books might be made into blockbusters someday and that the action scenes should be written accordingly.

11. One change which I think really improved the story was the combining of Deathwater Island and Dragon Island. (You've read Locus Focus: Take Twenty-Nine already, haven't you? Just my shameless plug for the week . . .)

10. I've also always been a big fan of the way the characters, particularly the Pevensies, are developed in each movie. I've become especially fond of Susan--who has a surprising lot of screen time in this one--and can't wait to see what becomes of her in the next four movies.

9. You know who my favourite character is in this movie?

I think he's simply wonderful. =D

But I kind of enjoyed his rotter self more than the "new and improved" version. =P I think conversion takes most of the spunk out of him. There's no reason one can't be a Narnian and a smart-ass at the same time, you know.

8. And my favourite line is something Lucy reads in The Magician's Book--the first lines for the Spell to Make Hidden Things Visible. All I remember now are "Like the P in psychology" and "Like the truth in theology"--but it was all lovely, I promise!

7. Some Narnia loving friends of mine were appalled to hear that the White Witch makes another appearance in this movie. (I guess I would have been, too, if I knew the novel well enough to remember on my own that she isn't actually in it. =P) Watching her pop up again, my reaction was mostly, "Oh, it you again?" . . . but I also thought she made sense!

As I've mentioned, I really like the way the movies actually probe the psyches of the characters. It is reasonable for Edmund to remain haunted by his history with the White Witch--and we get a more disturbing, albeit age-appropriate angle when we see her as an older, more experienced woman taunting a teenage boy, whom she has once held in thrall, with his desire to prove himself a man.

6. Now for the "Girls and Adventures" angle . . . I can see why the filmmakers wrote in a totally new character to give Lucy some company. Even with Susan's extra screen time, Lucy is the only girl. But seeing that this new girl's only purpose is to help Lucy stop wishing she were someone else, I'm not very impressed.

5. Worst part of the movie? The ridiculous green mist which "eats" human sacrifices and shows up, like some anti-Aslan, whenever the filmmakers want to make it very clear that TEMPTATION is taking place and that DANGER is right by. (Oh, honestly . . .)

4. Sounding kingly has got to be the hardest thing in the world. I cringed listening to Ben Barnes try to pull a Henry V.

3. Then there's Reepicheep . . . Almost ten years ago, I made a project out of reading The Chronicles of Narnia aloud--just for the heck of it. And I gave Reepicheep the "shrill, piping" voice that Lewis says he has, heightening the comic effect whenever I came to his more martial lines. Simon Pegg, on the other hand, takes Reepicheep's character in a whole other direction, giving him a dignity that he doesn't have to squeak for.

If you like the composition of this illustration,
you'll be glad to know that the filmmakers did, too! =)

While I believe my interpretation of Reep is great for read-aloud, I'm glad Pegg decided not to make Reep a figure of (too much) fun. That would have been too Disney, you know?

2. The inclusion of Edmund's torch is really clever. Not only does it give us great continuity, but it does something for either plot or character development whenever it pops up. Which is to say that it's not just there as a cutesy joke about Narnians being fascinated with our technology. (And well, you know, they really aren't.) It just strains my credulity a little that its batteries have lasted so well after its three years in Narnia.

1. One of my favourite bits is from the ending, the "teaser" for Jill Pole--who is, in case you don't know your Narnia, one of the main characters in the fourth Chronicle. Hearing her name, I got really excited for the fourth movie.

Image Sources: a) The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" poster, b) Eustace and Reepicheep, c) The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" book


Meredith said...

Ooo, I need to go to the movies! Thanks for warning me about the green mist. It sounds good otherwise.

Enbrethiliel said...


Prince Caspian is still my favourite. What did you think of that one, Meredith?

mrsdarwin said...

What do you think about children watching it? I'm not worried about inappropriate content, but whether it will be too intense on the big screen for my susceptible 7- and 8-year-olds. I can't wait to see it, myself.

Avid Reader said...

I can't wait to see it. I love your good/bad comments. It sounds like the good out weighs the bad. I'm also glad that it looks like they will continue making movies of the series. I think they've done a pretty great job.

Enbrethiliel said...


Mrs. Darwin: I don't think it's too scary. If I had anyone that young to take to the movies, I'd definitely take them to see this one. =)

Well, okay, the crew run into a monster that looks a little like Predator--but we expect that sort of thing from sea monsters, don't we? =P And the slavery storyline is sanitised as only Disney can do it, so there's nothing very dark there. Even the human sacrifice isn't really worth its name. Perhaps your girls might feel sorry for the lords who turn out to have been imprisoned for years or to have died awful deaths . . . but there's that Disney sheen again to spare us. I actually think the book had scarier bits!

(In sort of related news, did you hear that the new Jane Eyre will be an R-13 because Mr. Rochester will be flashing his bum??? I blame Andrew Davies for putting Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt and starting this trend.)

Avid Reader: Thanks! =) I admit that I was really skeptical at first--and even refused to watch the first two movies until a friend twisted my arm. LOL! But the good does outweigh the bad, particularly in the areas of character development, and I don't hesitate to recommend any of these to the staunchest Narnia lovers.

Jillian said...

Yay, I'm happy you liked this one. It comes out here Christmas day so my family and I are thinking of watching it that night! I have to agree the Narnia movies are really good portraying the events as well as the characters!

ps - you've been tagged ;)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Jillian! =)

Hmmmmm! I had no idea we were getting it so much earlier than the rest of the world.

Maybe I should do Narnia Day over . . . ;-)

mrsdarwin said...

It opens here in the States tomorrow.

My girls have heard Dawn Treader (read by Sir Derek Jacobi, mm) many times over, so they know the story. But sometimes they get overly excited or scared seeing movies in the theater. Maybe I'll see it first, just for review purposes, of course.

Mark in Spokane said...

Great post! Now I want to go see the movie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts -- I'm linking to your review!

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Mark! =) I appreciate it.