Review – Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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?

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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.

Lucy in the magicians doorway

Lucy in the Magicians doorway

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.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Eustace, Edmund, Lucy and Prince Caspian

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.

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10 comments on “Review – Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  1. Harvey Edser
    December 8, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I did enjoy the film of DT, but as a Lewis purist I couldn’t quite forgive the complete mangling of the book’s storyline to make it film-worthy. It felt a bit like the classic Morecambe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn – “all the right notes but not in the right order”. So it was quite a good story that happened to use the same names and places as the Dawn Treader, but it wasn’t the Dawn Treader.

    BTW Will, speaking as a fellow blogger you clearly have *way* too much time on your hands to be able to update your blog so regularly and thoroughly!! 🙂

  2. Will Cookson
    December 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    The difference is Harvey – you try and blog carefully and deeply! When I read the news and my twitter feed I just mark them up and throw them together! Also my new blackberry is a great help to blog on the go!!

  3. Harvey Edser
    December 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Damn, I need a Blackberry! A little more spare time also wouldn’t go amiss 🙂

  4. Will Cookson
    December 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    That’s what the middle of the night is for – listen to the ashes and blog – perfect combination.

  5. Harvey Edser
    December 8, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    I’m afraid sleep wins every time – particularly if it’s competing with cricket! 😉

  6. Angela Baker
    December 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    I must admit I wondered what the secret was to all this blogging!
    But Will, are you also composing your sermons as you blog?
    LOL at Harvey’s comments 🙂 I favour sleep over cricket (but NB not over footie). Just wish I could get some proper kip these days!

  7. Angela Baker
    December 10, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Back to the film though: I haven’t read the book, (I can almost hear Harvey tutting!), so couldn’t compare the two. I thought the film was fab, as an action movie with a wonderful Christian message woven through it in classic CS Lewis style.
    Nice one!

  8. Harvey Edser
    December 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    I’m *shocked* that you haven’t read the books – they’re second only to the Bible as essential Christian reading! Closely followed by Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter… 🙂

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