Thursday, December 30, 2010
I finally went to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader the other day. My expectations were low, having seen the trailer and dreading what they were going to do to the book, and they were basically fulfilled. I wasn't disappointed but my expectations were not exceeded by much.
They didn't hack the plot to pieces quite as much as I thought they would. Except they just couldn't resist Hollwoodifying the story. It apparently needed a more compelling overarching storyline than a simple quest. So they invented an evil green mist. Very cinematic. And apparently Every Single Character needed a personal journey, or some personal demon to overcome. Painful! Not to mention cheesy. And waaaaay too busy. The movie just did not flow well, what with all these subplots.
Almost everyone knows the partially allegorical nature of the Narnia Chronicles - and I was surprised to see they had left some things in that were almost explicit in their allegorical sense. But these things often betrayed the signs of fiddling, of the fiddling of people who don't understand religion but think they can speak for the religious. I was particularly annoyed by the conversation between Lucy and an entirely superfluous character, a little girl whose mother has been taken by the green mist: [paraphrase approaching]
"How do I know I will ever see my mother again?"
"You just need to have faith."
"But Aslan didn't stop her being taken."
"Just have faith. I promise we'll find her."
Again, painful! Faith in what, precisely? That life on earth is fair? That Aslan prevents anything difficult ever happening? Argh! It's such a distortion of the concept of faith!! But it's a nice cliché that Hollywood likes and at the sound of which C. S. Lewis would have torn out his hair in frustration.
I did think, however, that it wasn't entirely bad. Fiddling with the plot produced some fairly okay results in some areas - for instance, extending the appearance of the dragon was fun. I think that Ben Barnes is very pleasant to look at. Some of the cinematography was pretty cool. And I also think that the kid who plays Eustace Scrubb is very promising. My hopes for The Silver Chair have not been left shattered.