Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book/Movie Comparison: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

A long time coming! After a brief summary, I'll look at Characters, Setting, Theme, What Was Gained by Film Adaptation, and What Was Lost by Film Adaptation.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was written by CS Lewis in 1952. It was released as the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia, but now is regarded as the fifth because of chronological events of the series. Edmund and Lucy Pevensie return to Narnia with their obnoxious, spoiled cousin, Eustace Scrubb. They're taken aboard the Dawn Treader, where King Caspian is searching for seven lost Lords that his uncle banished from the land. The story follows their journey as they search for these men, coming across dragons, one-footed Duffers, merpeople, and Aslan's country. This was my favorite book in the series, so I was excited for the film adaptation.

The movie came out in 2010, and I just saw it about a month ago. It stars Georgie Henley as Lucy, Skander Keynes as Edmund, Ben Barnes as Caspian, Will Pouter as Eustace, and Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan. Produced by Walden Media, it's the third in the film franchise.

I LOVED Will Pouter as Eustace. He was so perfect, and the writing did him justice. They really captured his arrogance and also his transformation later with the dragon incident.

I feel like in the Narnia movies they try to give every character a little journey, even if it's not very convincing. For example, in this movie, Edmund was still struggling with being less than Peter. To me, Lucy's 'struggle' with wanting to be Susan was a little more believable, but it still fell a little flat to me. It was like the writers just put it in there to feel like there was character growth.

As for the other characters, I adored Reepicheep, as usual. I wanted to see more of the Duffers because they're so amusing. A ten minute scene hardly did them justice.

As with the other Narnia movies, I really enjoyed the setting. The vast landscapes, the various creatures, the magical feel to it all. I think the film did a good job in capturing that childlike wonder of the books.

That's one of the reasons this book is my favorite; we see so many new things beyond Narnia. Aslan's Country was pretty sweet.

(spoilers from here on out!)

I think the book was more focused on adventure and discovery. They had the whole world ahead of them and they weren't really sure where they were going. The writers saw there wasn't one coherent conflict holding it all together, and so they added 'the darkness.' This mist appears in the beginning, taking human sacrifices.

I don't know how to feel about this. I realize that if it strictly followed the book, viewers may have been like, 'Where is this story going?' But the mist/darkness seemed so generic. Oh, if we don't do something, all Narnia will be taken! All three swords have to be together on the table! Here's a giant sea serpent! I think they could have been more imaginative. I did like how Eustace was the one who put the three swords together; he's so awesome. (side note: I want them to do The Silver Chair, but The Magician's Nephew is next. Oh, well, I like that one too.)

What Was Gained by Film Adaptation:
Like I said, the film had one conflict holding everything together. There was a mission, there was something big at stake. Other than that. . .I can't think of anything.

What Was Lost by Film Adaptation:
I already mentioned how much I missed the Duffers. I wouldn't have minded a movie without an underlying mission; I liked the sense of discovery, but I realize it wouldn't have made a great movie plot.

To be honest, this wasn't my favorite of the Narnia films so far. The darkness made it quite cheesy towards the end, but since it was my favorite book, it was a thrill to see scenes and characters made real.


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