A Dreamer Walking

Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on January 8, 2011

Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is a perfect example of my last blog and my point of not making the message become more important then the actual story or vision of the film.

Yes, there are some very powerful messages in this movie. We are taken to a land that is very interesting and are introduced to characters that have a huge amount of potential. However, all they needed to do to create these things is read the book. In the movie I found the story, the conflict, and the characters all underdeveloped and hardly worth paying attention to.

It might be the love I have for the book that makes me so frustrated with the movie. I do not care if a movie adaption of a book goes away from some of the plot or takes away characters. I know the requirements of film and know that most books would take numerous movies to fully express. Cutting is just part of the process when it comes to adapting books to film. However, when I feel that a movie has not done a good job capturing the spirit of a book I have read, or worst yet, when I feel a book has not captured much of a spirit of anything, I get extremely frustrated.

In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we hardly see a spirit at all. There were whispers and hints of a vision for the film, but most of that was drowned out by sub par acting and too complex of a plot. Believe it or not, the CG character Reepicheep was the most believable and interesting character in the film. The other characters hardly seemed to believe in the land they were in and the task at hand.

There was Prince Caspian who wanted to reunite his kingdom and bring honor to his dead father. However, we did not experience the burden he was under. We did not see much of a struggle on why he felt the need to unite his kingdom and bring honor to his father. Because we did not see the struggle, the redemption at the end was not very fulfilling. It was one of the many cases of moments that did not feel deserved. This film relied on the audience feeling for the characters because the film said we were supposed to, not because they earned our love and affection.

There was a new character in this third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, in Eustace Scrubb. Eustace experiences Narnia for the first time in this movie. Eustace is a character who seems to hate everyone he is around. He treats his cousins Edmond and Lucy like dirt and cares little for the welfare of others. The big problem is that there is no explanation why he hates the world and all who lives on it. Will Poulter, the actor who played Eustace, did not seem to own the character he was portraying. With characters like Eustace, it is okay for the audience not to like him or her at the beginning of the film. In fact some of the entertainment comes from loving to hate characters like Eustace. He is a snot, but with all well known and loved “snots” in film, there is always a reason for their snobbery. Knowing the reason for the snobbery is the key to buying into the character and eventually believing in the change. This was not the case with Eustace. Eustace, like many other characters in the movie, seems to insult others because that is what is in the script and at the end he changes to become good because that is what the script requires him to do.

With each scene that went by felt like a scene that was cut too soon. I did not get what I felt I needed to get out of the scenes. We were given enough to move the plot along, but not enough to buy into the characters and why they were on their adventure. Lucy wants to be like her older sister. Edmond wants to be taken more seriously and not always treated like “second best”. The big question is WHY do these characters want to change? Why are these characters not comfortable with who they are? It is never really explained, and we never really see it in the characters eyes. I could not buy into the characters and because I couldn’t buy into the characters I could not by into the journey they went on.

There were some powerful messages in this film. Reepicheep makes a point of faith being one of our greatest gifts. Aslan the Lion and Lucy make a point about believing in yourself, rather then striving to be someone you are not. The problem is that most of these messages felt forced. They did not come from the heart of the characters or the story. The journey that the characters went on was supposed to be epic, but did not feel that way. The characters never seemed to be suffering from not having enough food or being at see for weeks on end. We went to plot point to plot point without discovering anything more about the characters or the land they were exploring.

The only critics that I have seen that give this movie a great amount of praise are those who are interested in the underline meaning of the message. Many know that the Narnia books and movies in a whole deal with a lot of biblical issues like Christ Jesus and redemption. It saddens me that Christians seem more interested in the message then the way the message is expressed. The reason why Christianity is ignored so easily is because of movies like Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The movie was not really bad. It wasn’t one of those movies that was appalling to watch or something I wanted to walk out on. However, it did nothing to demand my attention. It did not grab a hold of me and give me something that I felt I needed to think about and consider. It was just mediocre and thus it was (and is) easy to ignore.

If we want the message of Christ to be seen, then we need to go beyond the message and concentrate on who the message is for and why we are supposed to express it. We need to demand the attention of the public, by giving them stories full of life and characters who are believable and are devoted to whatever journey they are going on.

In my opinion, we have a long way to go.

One Response

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  1. Jose Siles said, on November 13, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Great example of your last blog post. Although it does begs the question as to how the filmmakers would have juggled so many different motivations for each of the characters? I’ve never read the books and I’m assuming those plot elements would have been handled differently but it always seems a like a pain to put all the pieces together without making the story feel a bit convoluted.

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