Friday, December 24, 2010

A Very Informal Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review

Warning: there is a high likelihood of spoilers lurking in this review.

Second Warning: this review is coming from a filmmaker, whose opinions of a film are somewhat influenced by technical things. Pardon her, if you would be so kind.

I just got back from the theater. Wow.

 Unlike the last two films, the director of Voyage of the Dawn Treader was Michael Apted, and the composer was David Arnold, both which I thought were superb choices.


I asked around the van on the way home and took a tally on how many people were still dry-eyed at the end. 2 out of 6 people hadn't even teared up. Oh man, was my mom crying. My sister cried too, and she never cries during movies. Never. Well... almost never. The two dry-eyed people in question were my nine-year-old brother and myself. For the record, I came very very close to tearing up. However, very very close is different than actually tearing up. In my book, anyway.

I have to say, though, that for condensing a book like that into two hours, they did a commendable job. Fitting all those islands and all those adventures in must have been a challenging job, to say the least.

I've sensed this unspoken don't-blab-too-much-about-the-movie rule in the blogosphere lately. Well, sorry! I'm going to break the unspoken rule. Heh, heh.

Allow me to focus on the positives for a moment:

I really, really liked Eustace. I've never seen Will Poulter in a film before, but he made a great first impression on me. Despite the character he plays, he was likable. And in fact when Eustace throws off his grouchiness at the end, he was awesome. Great casting there, for sure! *applause*

The graphics were pretty good. Though a few times it was painfully obvious (to me, at least, but I'm a filmmaker, pardon me.) that it was a layered shot. However, overall they did a really swell job.

The music was beyond awesome. However, I'll let EFC exhaust that topic instead of doing it myself.

The sequence in which Lucy is tempted (with jealousy of her sister, Susan) which is followed by Aslan meeting with her spoke to my heart. It was probably my favorite scene in the whole film. Shoot, the Lord was talking to me there! Aslan says something along the lines of, "You underestimate your value" or something like that. Lucy wants to be here sister, and has a dream in which she sees what life would be like if she wasn't Lucy. And what she thought she wanted turned out to be terrible.

The song at the end by Carrie Underwood made my mom cry. In fact, it's made my heart swell and melt simultaneously every time I listen to it. *sniffs*

A few things I found unsatisfactory:

To the people who are loyal to the books and the books alone, and found Prince Caspian a disappointment, then I would actually suggest you not watch the movie. Like Prince Caspian, it was a poor adaption but a pretty good movie, book aside. However, there were moments that the book shone through, and when that happened, it was really great. It was mainly at the end that there were direct quotes from the book, and it was... ah, but I digress.

Having to cover dufflepuds, slave traders, enchanted water and a dragon in a mere two hours, plus a sea serpent, and the darkness filled with nightmares, and Aslan's table, the moviemakers certainly had their hands full.

I felt, though, that no one was done full justice. The slave traders were given a mere brushing over, and besides that, the state of the island is much different than the book.The dufflepuds were given a brief nod, and then we moved on. The enchanted pool and the treasure that turned Eustace to a dragon were on the same island, presumably to save time. It felt... half-baked, I'm afraid. At least, most parts did. And those that have read the book can sympathize and understand, though, and I hope that you book fans will be as gracious as possible. Considering the circumstances, the moviemakers did a fair job, in all honesty.
But I felt like it moved too quickly. It felt more like a drama/fantasy film was trying to be an action/sci-fi film. Other times, it felt too big. You know? Like the filmmakers were trying to turn Narnia into Lord of the Rings. It happened only a few times, though. But it definitely moved waaay too fast for a drama/fantasy film.

There were almost no explanations for anything, and the characters took pretty much every odd happening in stride without questions, leaving the audience scratching their heads momentarily before carrying on.

And because it was shot with 3D in mind, watching it regular was making me and my mom dizzy. Plus, there was a lot of (unnecessarily, I think) shaky camerawork. Not all of the cinematography was lacking, though, don't get me wrong. But as I look into the technical things alot, and it's practically a second nature for me, I found certain shots distracting.

But after coming home, and then thinking about the movie the next morning, I had to admit... however much I could take the movie apart, the Narnia charm and magic came through. And I decided that I liked the movie. Very much. I would definitely see it again.

The one thing is that that the end with the epic battle with the sea serpent (that looks like it belongs in a sci-fi film) the beastie gets very creepy, and the whole battle is intense. Just a note if you have young kids ;)

And when they come to Aslan's table for the first time, they find the rest of the missing lords sitting there in a spell. The guys' eyes are open and they are covered in brambles and stuff, and it could scare some kids, but the scene is quick.

That's my two cents. Your thoughts??

*charges into the sunset* For Narnia! For Aslan!



Amaranthine said...

you have more followers than me. *sniffle*

I haven't seen this movie yet. I WILL though, before the showtime runs its course. I have movie passes that we never use. I left you an award on my blog. :)

Marian said...

Thanks for the review! We're planning on seeing this next week. It was one of my favourite Narnia books when I was a kid--all the islands had such a wonderfully eerie, subtly-scary tone to them, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to have made it to the movie version. :P

I'll be really disappointed if The Silver Chair is very inaccurate, though... And Magician's Nephew being perhaps the hardest to translate to film, I've pretty much given up hoping for a faithful movie version.

Have you listened to the radio drama versions?

~Miss Raquel said...

YAY!!! Glad you FINALLY got to see it!!!!!! ;) And that you enjoyed it...

I thought that it was a bit short, but yes, I think they did a remarkable job in squishing it altogether.

And yes, Eustace...he reminded me a lot of Edmund - just in the sense that at first, you think he's a jerk, but then later, you can't help but love him! :)

Prince Caspian...*sigh* anything with him is good in my book ;) *heehee*

Anyway, we'll talk more, girlie!!


Everyone's Favorite Composer said...

If I'm going to do the music review, then I first need the music. I'd be happy to do it though! I'll try not to get all technical.

Princess of Endor said...

I must agree with you on the best scene. I think I really needed to hear what Aslan had to say.
I teared up. But then, I tear up on everything these days. LOL!
I think it did move too fast.

@Amarathine, still talking about followers, are we? :P

Jake said...

Great review. >_> The reason some movies are epic and some movies aren't, in my opinion (not that its the law or something XD) because they simply didn't devote enough time and effort to it. LOTR is epic...and it is looooooong. <_< Methinks that these movies would be better if they simply devoted more time to it but *shrug* you never know. >_>