Well I have just got back from our exclusive preview of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As usual I always have a bit of apprehension when taking hundreds of people to a cinema. In this case just over 450 people came. With under two weeks notice (and the weather) it was a lot effort to organise and thanks to everyone who helped – especially Nigel. The question is was it worth it?
Well the short answer is yes. This was the first film I had seen in 3D (I know loads of you this is like ho hum) and it certainly had parts where the 3D effects added to the enjoyment of the film. But although the 3D was entertaining and added to the film the main part of the enjoyment came from the plot of the film (and even the merging and some of the changes) that departed often from the book. One could see why this happened as otherwise there would have been far too many island hops and it gave the film a central thrust and focus.
It also added tension to some of the places that there was little real tension in the book. So, for instance, in the first island – the Lone Isles – the camera work and scenery and the rethinking of the slave trade helped to create a superb scene – with some good wit and humour from Eustace. In fact Eustace was the best character in the film – certainly stopping it descending into being too pretentious and heavy. Some good acting, good lines and a character who develops.
The Dufflepuds were great fun and amusing and the library sequence with the snow falling was very appropriate with the weather of the last few days.
So, given the strong Christian imagery of the books how did the film fare? Well I would say remarkably well without becoming too preachy. Issues of temptation and the results of failing were explored (I thought the part where Lucy longs to be as pretty as Susan and the consequences was particularly well handled – echoes of Its a Wonderful Life). Wheras I felt that the makers of the previous two had cut out key scenes to do with reflection about Aslan this wasn’t the same in this film and it ended with a theological reflection – again without being too ponderous.
Things I would have liked to see more of was a development of Edmund and Lucy. It would have been good to have had more on ship banter time to grow their characters. When, at the end, they have their parting scene I didn’t find myself so involved as I did with the ending of Prince Caspian.
Having said that, overall a its a great film for a family. It doesn’t break any great moulds – but that can get a bit wearing if you expect that from every film. It held to the main themes of the book well.
All too often we see such a segmentation of the film market that you can’t find a film that you can all enjoy. This film is one that the whole family can enjoy. We had young children all the way through to the elderly who enjoyed the film.
We have put up on the website how we came to get an exclusive preview of the film and some additional pictures – thanks to everyone at Fox.