The movie was a disappointment.
I went to watch Voyage of the Dawn Treader with high hopes. Although the book is not my favorite of the Narnia stories, I thought the sea-faring adventure might lend itself quite well to a movie adaption. It would have too. But unfortunately the movie differed fairly significantly (in my opinion) from the book.
One of the underlying themes of the movie had to do with a green mist that was spreading its evil influence and power throughout Narnia. Caspian, Eustace, Edmund, and Lucy are set on an adventure not solely to rescue the seven knights of Narnia but to retrive seven Narnian swords (entrusted to the seven lords) in order to break the power and influence of the green mist.
That is where my first two objections to the movie begin.
#1 – The movie did not follow the book. When a book is perfectly good, why mess with it?
#2 – The movie added a lot of unnecessary magic. The magical, evil green mist was an addition to the story and frankly it didn’t add much. There was enough “evil” in Lewis’ book that a wicked, mystical mist was not needed.
#3 – The story was not true to the rules of Narnia. When reading the Narnia books, one is impressed with the order and purpose behind what is happening in Narnia. The Narnian world revolves around Aslan. He is the one who gives order and purpose to the world. He called the world into being and he is the one who ends it in the final book. Without Aslan, there would be no Narnia.
In the movie however, Aslan has an insignificant role. In fact, through almost the entire movie, Aslan is pushed to the background. Instead of looking to Aslan for strength, there is an emphasis on looking inside yourself and being yourself. There is a self-esteem message going on. This message is really against the grain of the books.
Aslan does show up at the end of the movie just before Reepicheep sails to Aslan’s country. But since his appearance is almost solely at the end of the movie, he feels a bit tacked on to the story. Instead of the story revolving around Aslan, the children and Caspian seem to fight the forces of evil almost entirely apart from Aslan. They mention him several times but the movie never really acknowledges Aslan’s important role in Narnia
#4 – Eustace’s redemption was watered down. One of the best part of the books when I read it was Eustace’s redemption and transformation from a bratty, spoiled child into a young man who actually cares about others.
In the movie, Eustace was a dragon for a significantly longer period of time than in the book. Again, his redemption seemed to be in part a matter of just making himself a better person. In the book, Eustace’s redemption seems to be a clear illustration of how sinners cannot fix themselves. Only God can do that. Aslan is the only one who can fix Eustace’s dragon problem. In the movie, Eustace’s redemption seems to begin before and apart from Aslan. Although to the movie’s credit, Aslan is the one who finally sheds Eustace’s dragon skin.
So ultimately, I was disappointed with the movie. The book is much better than the movie.
~ Melinda ~