Friday, May 20, 2011

Dawn Treader

Maggie was coughing when the movie came out -- coughing too much to take her to a theatre and interrupt others' viewing. So we waited for her to get better. But she was sick for SO long this winter that we never made it to the theatre for this winter's Narnia movie.

Last night we watched the dvd.

Now I'm glad we didn't pay for movie tickets.

If you think Narnia is about fantasy and adventure, then this wasn't too bad a movie. Sure, sure, they totally messed up the book. But some people don't mind producers freely adjusting the book for the video version. And some people don't know the book anyway. The effects were great. I loved the water pouring out of the picture frame. I loved the dragon. I loved the star. And Eustace's acting was superb; he started out as the most despicable little creature. Oh, and there were funny parts!

But ...

the reason I love Dawn Treader is the theology. I love how the book brings in Christian vocation. I love how they face trials and fears, and Aslan rescues them. I love Reepicheep's fervant hope for Aslan's country. But mostly I love baptism, and how Eustace is brought to recognize his sin, and Aslan tears away his Old Adam and makes him a New Man.

The video is stripped of its theology. If that was all that was wrong with the movie, even that would be okay. But the message that replaced the Christian theology was a works-righteous theology, where we earn what we get by trying hard to be good and brave and upstanding. The Aslan in this movie is not the Aslan I love, the one on whom my hope rests. This movie is just a story. And if that's all you want from a movie, it's okay. But if you expect Narnia ... and a story of Jesus and His love for you ... then Dawn Treader is a huge disappointment.


  1. This is EXACTLY why I didn't go see it. I figure that I have too little time to waste it on things like this. Oh yeah - I waste it on other stuff, sure. But I'd rather waste it on something "original" (like a funny sitcom) than on something that I love which has just been run through the wringer and come out the other side all mangled and ripped to shreds. Bleh.

    Not saying no one else should see these things, but when people start 'whining' about how I refuse to go watch movies (like Harry Potter, or Narnia, or even the new Hobbit), I wish they'd understand how you put it in your post. "If this is what you want, then great, go see it."

    That's not what I want, though. I'm very happy with the book. And only the book.

    But at least now you've removed even the SLIGHTEST temptation for me to pick up the new Narnia, so thank you! :)

  2. This is why I (and most of my family) didn't want to see it either. The baptism imagery in the book is my all-time favorite part in the Narnia books. I cry every time I read it. And I knew they wouldn't get it right.

    Now, I think the kids have all seen it on dvd thanks to a friend, and they all liked it for a movie, but all agree that it is not the book.

  3. We did go see it in the theatre and it is the last one we will pay money to see. My oldest three complained loudly how the directors ruined the book. I suspected the baptismal imagery would be omitted and it was. My kids were disappointed and so was I. If we hadn't been hoping for and expecting the real Narnia, we probably would have enjoyed the movie.