Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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 ~

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7 Responses to Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  1. Cherilyn says:

    We are planning a family movie night to see this and I’m sorry to hear it isn’t like the book. We were pretty sure though that Disney wouldn’t keep the Lewis flavor for long. We were also disappointed with Caspian in this way.
    Thank you for the heads up.

  2. RJ says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Melinda!

  3. carri says:

    The movie is RARELY like the book! I am constantly having to calm Kera down because of this “injustice”. I do agree with your assessment of the book. We are going to see the movie this afternoon. I will try (as usual) to separate the book from the movie and try it take the movie at face value (a product of hollywood produced for the sole purpose of making money). I am looking forward to the special effects. (Perhaps the green mist was an attempt to help the viewer visuallize the evil that had permeated Narnia??)

  4. hopeinbrazil says:

    I watched the movie yesterday and I agree that it did not reflect the book perfectly. One thing that I thought they captured was Reepicheep’s humor and valor. He was my favorite character from Voyage and I was glad he came out all right in the film. I guess it’s a good thing when books don’t match up to their movies. It keeps us reading. =)

  5. AMEN! TOTALLY agree with everything you said and liked how you pointed out that the movie goes against the very rules of Narnia! Well said!

    It bugs me that the book is so utterly Christian in nature and values that we’re being fed a watered down version and being happy with it. This book is powerful, along with the messages “hidden” therein and it didn’t need help of the evil green midst (which, as you pointed out, didn’t really add a THING to the movie because you’re never really explained what the source of the evil is. It’s just a green midst. Big WHOOP, really.)

  6. Krista says:

    I’m a friend of Carrie’s and just came over from her FB comment. You’ve written a lovely rebuttal (if they can be called that!). I’m not so much an analyzing person, but there definitely were some parts of the movie that didn’t quite sit right with me although I couldn’t put it into words. And it’s been 6 years since I read the book! 🙂

  7. Chrissy Roe says:

    I agree with most of your points, I am saddened about the added evil and green mist. I didn’t mind the twist of the story as much, it added a climax, but I do agree that Aslan was pictured unnecessary and “tacked on”. It was a good movie in itself, but I wish it had more of a Christian theme to it – like the book.

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