Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Movie Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Emo Harry Potter got you down? Then you need an injection of good old fashion Christian optimism in Michael Apted’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third film in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) are former Narnian royalty living out World War 2 with their intolerable cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). Eustace has a penchant for collecting insects, terrible social skills, is a meticulous note keeper, and has impeccable hygiene; all symptoms of a burgeoning serial killer. But before Eustace can preserve Lucy and Edmund in formaldehyde, the trio is whisked away to Narnia via a magical painting. They reunite with Prince Caspian (now King of Narnia) and set off into the Eastern Sea to investigate the disappearances of the seven Lords of Narnia. Along the way there are dragons, magic swords, sea serpents, magic spells and a Very Important Lesson is learned by all. 

It’s a simple and straightforward story, but it’s wonderfully charming. Does it stray from the book? Oh yes, in spectacular Hollywood fashion, but it works. Heck, my love of this movie stems mostly from the deviations from the book. Virtually everything the dragon was added for the film, and it’s almost exactly what my 12 year old self wanted to happen when I read the book all those years ago. Voyage of the Dawn Treader was a great book, but the changes made it into a much more exciting movie than it would have been otherwise.

Some people are off put by the Christian allegory in the Narnia series, but it’s not like Aslan (Liam Neeson) is telling the kids to burn down abortion clinics and vote Palin. The morals are fairly universal. Well, except for the parts where Aslan practically says “hey, I’m Jesus.” Christians will love that aspect but every body else will just be rolling their pagan eyes. Even if you ignored the Christian themes, the overall moral of the story is to overcome greed and self doubt. When every other movie in theatres proclaims the virtues of uninhibited violence, sex, and avarice, it’s probably healthy to have a dose of selfless humility.

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