Jason's Review of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I know I'm in the minority but Dawn Treader was my least favorite of the Narnia books. It's the only book not to have a "big bad", and I can never get as much out of it like I can the others. I had natural intimidations about the movie, but to my surprise they managed to pull off a better and entertaining story line. It is still weaker then the previous films, but they did not have much to work with in terms of source material. Or so I thought...
Every good author has notes about characters and story lines (that are still considered canon) but can never make it into the finished product. Remember Rawling revealed Dumbledore was gay, with no mention in her series. Tolkien did the same, and his notes will be used in The Hobbit Part 2. So how does this effect Dawn Treader? Well as every Narnia fan knows in the next book "The Silver Chair", the big bad -- known only as "The Lady of the Green Kirtle" -- has no real origin and only rumours and speculation from the narrative can give any hint to who she is or where she comes from. Is she the reincarnation of the White Witch? A relative? Someone else entirely? No one knows, that is until Douglas Gresham (Lewis' stepson) agreed to use the aforementioned notes. There is now a solid bridge between the two books. Look closely at the "green mist" in the film, and how it teases fans. Make your own judgement but remember the mist was never in the book; nor was the echoes of the White Witch; and it is amazing how it turned into a serpent (ok fine Edmund had a Ghostbuster moment). If that does not say future Lady of the Green Kirtle I don't know what does?
Although the elements from the book were present, things were taken out of order and placed in a new arrangement that still made sense. There were some character changes, additions and omissions, but regardless the heart of the story was alive. Some the alterations include Eustace as a dragon for a much extended period of time. In terms of additions, they creatively found a way to include Peter and Susan into the film, whom only got a passing reference in the book. Also we meet little Gale, a stowaway who joins her father on the Dawn Treader crew in a quest to find their mother/wife. Gale was never in the book and was probably added to fill the role of the young naive girl, which was once held by Lucy. Omissions were all over the place, of note was Aslan changing Eustace back from dragon to human in water. Everyone knows the allegory of that scene is Eustace's baptism, and the point where he stops being a dick.
Although this is the last time chronologically we see Lucy, and Edmund in Narnia -- until The Last Battle -- the scene where they had to say their goodbyes was heartbreaking. Eustace as we all know is destined to return to Narnia, and Prince Caspian will also have a role in the next movie.
There was a lot of heart and soul in this film, and it is clear the cast and crew put their hearts into this piece. Yeah the green mist and the quest for the swords were a new twist, but a welcome one. There will be much to ponder after watching this movie. I am curious as to what exactly are in those sacred notes. We shall find out in the next one, The Silver Chair.
N.B. Although The Silver Chair is the most logical choice for the next movie, there has been some speculation that either The Magician's Nephew, or A Horse and His Boy may be made first. Apparently they are waiting for actor Will Poulter to finish growing so he can properly meet the role requirements of Eustace for his next adventure.