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Sunday, December 12, 2010

I take daughter to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader and it is not terrible

I just got back from viewing "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I came home and looked up the reviews at IMD. There were a lot of people (when I first looked) that hated it!
I am more convinced than ever that I live in an opposite universe. I think every movie I have watched based on good reviews I have disliked, and many movies I have watched which had bad reviews I enjoyed.
There were some things in the movie adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader I was not expecting. I was amazed to see that the character of Eustace was right on. He was a modern kid. (Perhaps the term is "post modern.")
The Chronicles of Narnia have a lot of conflict between the 20th century science and pragmatism and the old ideals of God, honor, and country. They teach a belief in mysticism and a belief in God as a more philosophic construct than a scientific one. Alsan teaches one to "do the right thing." Time after time the crisis is solved by one person making a sacrifice for another, or standing up for what is right in the face of impossible odds.
Perhaps one reason I did not dislike the movie is that I did not understand how Voyage of the Dawn Treader could be made into a movie. Perhaps I gave it more leeway. In the book there is no real villain, there is no car chase, and there is not so much of a neat ending. There is major character development on the part of Eustace. They missed out on the pain of his "rebirth" in the movie, which I thought was important. Lucy and Edmond grow but don't essentially change, Prince Caspian also has a personal struggle in the book and we learn more about Aslan and Narnia but there is not the evil witch or the battle to the death, which makes up the formula for a movie.
The book is more of a series of adventures all of which have a greater meaning but are not deep philosophy. In the book Prince Caspian is on a quest to find the seven missing lords. On the way Edmund, Lucy and Eustace shows up. They get captured by very Arab like slave traders and escape through a grand bluff.
They visit a second island where Eustace gets himself turned into a dragon though greed and laziness. He gets out of the dragon skin through character development and pain and they move on.
Next they find an island with a pool that turns everything it touches into gold and there is a conflict over greed but everyone does the right thing and another lord is found.
Then there is Duffer's island where Lucy reads from the book of spells and where Lucy succumbs to a temptation to know what her friend is saying about her. And there Lucy  encounters Alsan (character development ensues)
There is the island where dreams come true. And where they find find Lord Rhoop who is seriously freaked out. They were not good dreams.
Then they go to the island of the star and it is Caspian's turn for a personal crisis.
Finally they reach the end of the world and discover Narnia is the inside of a sphere and Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy find a lamb, who transforms into Aslan and he tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia and that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world. Then they go home.
The movie differs in the flow of the story and in that the director was pretty desperate to find a solid plot line and so the story was changed have the dark island of dreams as the villain and the seven swords of the missing lords as some sort of magic key.
Most of the Christian elements were kept but if you were not brought up with a Christian framework you might not understand them. The seemed to jump out at me more in the movie than in the book.
I rambled a bit here but in short. The movie was not terrible. Don't believe the bad reviews. No it was not "Lord of the Rings" (which I didn't see) but then the book was about two inches thinner than Lord of the Rings and was written for younger children.
Perhaps I am just relieved they didn't completely ruin the story, but I liked the movie, it didn't offend me and afterwards we got an ice cream cone and I stopped by a record store and ordered a stylus for my turntable. Record store people are very entertaining.
I will complain about the price of popcorn and soda. $5.75 for a small tub of buttery popcorn and $4.50 for a small sodapop is insane. My wife filled our pockets with candy which we ate in defiance of the signs forbidding it. Also, the pretty but vapid girl at the ticket counter gave us tickets to the wrong movie. I ignored the ticket and went to the movie I intended to see. My daughter so such an innocent. She felt guilty about going into the wrong movie and sneaking in M&M's. I was going to suggest sneaking into another movie since we were already skipping Sunday evening services and going to a Movie on Sunday and so were destined for hell anyway. We could have gotten away with it so easily. But, I thought perhaps that was not a good influence  and so I resisted.

I wrote the first part of this out in a hurry as we are doing some Christmas stuff here at home. I will add that one of the reviewers made a crack about this movie being aimed at Christians and families and not the art crowd and that would bring in the bucks.
I thought about Eustace and his parents and it brought me a little laugh. If only there were a few less of the smug folks and a few more of the old style Godly and fair minded types of folks I remember from my youth. It is very sad that those types of people are being written out of our history. Their hidden sins are sought out and exploited because the clever people say that it gives the character more depth. The idea that it might me a good idea to keep our secret failings secret and to do our best to present a "stiff upper lip" and to maintain our honor and that most Christian folks are pretty good people, that idea is just not appreciated by the clever folks. Also, the concept that there were people with a solid moral compass who really spent their lives being kind and good and supportive and had no secret perversions is a concept that the modern intellectual cannot accept. To be blunt, not all priests abused little boys and not all nuns beat kids with rulers, and not all preachers were in it for the money. AND there may have once been a time when all the politicians were not crooks. That is probably just mythology.
But, I am not a clever fellow. I'm just a farmer and that is just fine with me...


  1. farmers may not be very clever but a lot of wisdom can be found in farming :)

  2. Here is a link to an article about how the post modern views of movie people influence their treatment of Narnia's characters.


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