Sunday, January 9, 2011

Movie Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I normally only make it to the theater about twice a year because I hate spending that much money to see what is generally dreck. However, this was actually the second movie I’ve seen in as many weeks (although the first one of the new year). I told you before about how exciting I found The Fighter, but you guys I have been DYING to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader since well before it even came out. Like pretty much since I found out they were making new movies out of the books. I have loved these books since I was a very small child and my dad read them out loud to my brother and me.
Visually it is fantastic. The beginning in World War Two England manages to be both dreary and war torn without falling into the grey overtones that so many period pieces fall to. Narnia is a beautiful place and I think the cinematographers did a fantastic job overall.
The big problem with this one, is that I’m not sure the screen writer actually read the book before he wrote the script. There are some fairly major changes to the story as Lewis wrote it that I can understand (i.e. changing what temptation Lucy falls to while reading the magic book). And then there is the change to the story that I don’t understand and that took up so much time they had to change almost everything else about the story to accommodate it. I refer here to the evil green mist. Yeah, if you’ve never read it, that is not in fact in the book. One of the places they visit is indeed an “island” where your dreams (not fantasies, but actual dreams) come true, but it is a brief scene, not some extended “villain” throughout the story. They had to sacrifice some of the most powerfully moving parts of the story like a boat of Narnians to the green mist storyline, and I was just befuddled.
Had I never experience the story as Lewis actually wrote it I would have found this movie fairly fantastic. Therefore, I have to assume that the fact that I find it merely okay is because I am a die-hard Narnia fan. It is the Narnia stories that fed my love of epic adventures and high fantasy. From reading my brother and I these stories (I was about 4 the first time I heard them), my dad moved directly onto the LotR trilogy and I will always have fond memories of both of those series because of those memories.
If I was grading this movie I would have to say-
Standing on it’s own merits: B
Held up to the book: C-

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