#237: Dress up for “Dawn Treader”

Today would have been a GREAT day to fall through a painting into another world.

I did at least have the next best thing, which is two hours in Narnia.

Oh, and CJ and I dressed up before we went.

The cat’s eyes are glowing because she’s eeeeevvvvviiiil.* Observe her powers of wriggliness:

So…the movie.

I’ve read all seven Narnia books many times, and I really like the first two films (especially the second. In my opinion, the changes made – especially the battle scenes – were brilliant, and improved on the book).

I knew “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” had funding issues (it was eventually produced by Twentieth Century Fox instead of Disney), and the previews didn’t show anything at all to tell me what it would be like. . . so I went in with a certain amount of trepidation.

Sold! Sold to the girl sneaking in with a ship’s cat!

This film was good – really good. I think any kid will like it. If you liked the first two films, you’ll like this one too.

Once again they took enormous liberties with the book, and once again I believe it was the right choice – giving it a unified plot, for one thing. (Side note: I don’t actually like fantasy macguffin plots such as “put the magic thing on the magic thing to save the world from eeeeevvvvviiiiillll” but it’s better than “keep sailing for, like, ages”.) I really liked the development of Edmund and Lucy as both characters and actors – in many ways, that was the best part, and their problems were real problems that I related to (as a bonus, they’ve grown less whiny). The scene in which they enter Narnia is genuinely excellent, and there’s a great sense of, “We’re in a freaking FANTASY WORLD!! AWESOME!!” which I always appreciate. It puts the characters in the same emotional place as the audience, which makes everything more fun. And, the script was funny.

“Was it something I said?” (said by a Minotour immediately after it attempted to greet a hysterical Eustace, who immediately fainted).

It was a shame C.S. Lewis (and the original illustrator, whose work is shown in the credits) was so very lacking in nautical knowledge, but I doubt anyone who hasn’t sailed on a tall ship** would be bothered. The ocean scenes felt good, and that’s always the main thing. In my opinion, it’s less scary than the first two, with the exception of one scary scene at the climax.

Eustace was genuinely annoying (which he was always meant to be), but the filmmakers were smart enough to keep his annoyance-establishing moments brief. The actor has good comedic timing, and did a good job of growing unannoying during the film. I hope I get to see him in another film, although I’ll miss Lucy and Edmund badly (remember how annoying Edmund used to be? They’ve done great casting work). Reepicheep, surprisingly, wasn’t annoying at all – three cheers for the voice talents and general charm of Simon Pegg.

Unfortunately, one of the (arguable) flaws of the book came through in the film louder and clearer than in the book itself. C.S. Lewis was a man writing in the 1950s, and although I find the books charming he’s definitely writing “down” to children at times. The movie didn’t stick to just one moral – it gave us a few, loud and clear, in monologue form. That was a real shame, since most of the moral content was told perfectly well by the story itself . It’s possible a different person would find the morals inspiring.

The feeling of some scenes is quite different to the book, and it’s best to just go with it rather than thinking, “But I remember that scene being funnier/scarier/etc”. For me, the three most important scenes were the fall through the painting, Eustace’s second transformation (you know the one I mean), and Reepicheep’s destiny. They were all there, and given the constraints of film, I’m satisfied.

Aslan is much like he is in the other two films, which I always found satisfactory but not brilliant (I know other people found Liam Neeson brilliant, and they’ll most likely continue to do so).

The insertion of the actors for Susan and the White Witch (and, briefly, Peter) worked fine. Caspian was great, although his character wasn’t as well developed as Lucy and Edmund (or Eustace).

In terms of the characterisation, this might be the best of the three. If you love Narnia for the allegorical stuff, this may be your favourite. But I still like “Prince Caspian” the best.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars – I wasn’t utterly blown away, but I will definitely watch it again.

————-

Are you hating Christmas at the moment? I know I am. Here’s some more darkly funny material for my sarcastic peeps. (The moral is: Some Christmas specials are special in a different way.)

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2004/12/01/the-10-least-successful-holiday-specials-of-all-time/

There’s a bit of adult themes (thank YOU Dorothy Parker!)

And here’s a random photo of me last Monday – the day of the 12,000 words (which, thank you, I did). During the day I also went shopping, went to work, and cooked dinner for five people. I wrote 1600 words while the five people were in the room (Miss Manners I’m not). One of them put their hat on my head, and CJ took this photo.

When it comes to writing binges, I am not easily distracted.

You can see pirate ships in the background on the right, and the open-plan filing system of Daily Awesomeness on the left.

*Yes yes, mine are glowing too. Whatever.

**did I mention I threw up from the top of the mast? I did? Oh. Well, good.

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4 Comments

Filed under Daily Awesomeness, reviews

4 responses to “#237: Dress up for “Dawn Treader”

  1. Ben (Crispin)

    You should write a book: ‘Accessorising with Cats’…

  2. W

    Nice hat! :P

    I too can testify to catty wriggliness.

    • twittertales

      W: We both know that screaming “ahhh!!! Boogaboogabooga” and running at a cat isn’t a tradition greeting among felines. Yet for some reason, you do it every time. You’re a bad person.

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