Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I love this series of books. I was treated to a terrific adaptation of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was witness to the horrific butchering of Prince Caspian. The first was faithful to the original material, brimming with the life and vitality of Lewis' work. The second was deviant in the extreme, vapid and a treatise on how to mis-characterize in an adaptation. 

Enter Dawn Treader. I finished reading this wonderful book (again, 7th I think) within the past 2 weeks. Its a story of a nautical adventure in strange and uncharted waters, with little stringing the various chapters together but character growth and an ever present desire to account for all 7 of the missing nobles. 

Technically, this movie was well presented in 3d. Nothing on par with Avatar, but it didn't give me a headache either. Pleasant, but not worth paying extra for. 

What I appreciated immensely with this Narnia film was the accurate and meticulous characterization of the primary ensemble. Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, Caspian, Reepicheep were all done splendidly, vividly echoing their page-bound characters. This was a vast improvement over the previous film. 

The visualizations were stellar, an enchanting and vibrant world of fantasy from Lewis' fiction. The ship and the sea and the stars and the salt and the serpents felt real and concrete.  

The message was presented with alacrity, the avoidance of all temptations whilst striving to reach the land and quests Aslan set before them. Turn away from temptation and choose what is right, ect. 

What was excruciating to sit though was the plot deviations, such as the 'isle of evil' that sent 'green mist' amongst the sea seeking to devour all manner of creatures. The altercation of Eustace's dragon adventure was a horrific mistranslation of Lewis' tale. The addition of the 'seven swords to set the world to right' that needed to be laid upon Aslan's table. The alteration of the Sea Serpent from a rampaging monster of the deep, to something somehow created from the mists of evil.

I enjoyed this film, but to call it a representation of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader is grotesquely misleading. Nevertheless, I would recommend seeing it if you like fantasy movies, the Narnia series, or talking mice.  


C.S. Lewis Fan said...

I agree whole heartedly. I loved the visuals and the portrayal of the main characters, but I didn't care for the plot deviations. Still worth seeing, for sure, but I hope they stick closer to the book if they make The Silver Chair.

Stephanie said...

I loved Voyage! My favorite parts were the relationship built between Edmund and Caspian - ugh I'm gonna miss Edmund when he no longer comes back - and the temptations aspect. Lucy tempted by beauty, Edmund by power and position, and Caspian struggling with whether or not his father was proud of him. Really fantastic and well done. I agree the 3D was not worth the extra money though.

Palm boy said...

Lewis Fan, after seeing how well Aslan and Reepicheep have been handled on screen, I'm looking forward to how they manage a marshwriggle as a central character.

Stephanie, I agree with you on the temptations. Each character had his or her own battle to face, and it was well developed.