Movie Review: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! Last night, we did a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. As it is, over the Christmas break, my in-laws took my wife and I to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Unfortunately, it’s been awhile since I’ve read the books, but this one made me think “Perhaps I should get those down again soon and go through them once more.” Be warned of spoilers in advance.

I did recall some references, such as Eustace having a name that he almost deserved. In my understanding of the film, Eustace is a reductionist through and through. He doesn’t want to bother reading serious fairy tales. He only wants to read about facts. Of course, it’s questionable how many facts he knows. There is even a work that has made Richard Dawkins out to be Eustace, which I found interesting since I was thinking of a Dawkins type when seeing Eustace.

Whatever Eustace sees for awhile, he is tempted to think there has to be some explanation other than what is most obvious. It cannot be he is really in another world even though he was in a bedroom and then it filled up with water and he came out in open sky. Everyone must be in on a hallucination or conspiracy of some sort.

I believe it is only when Eustace comes face to face with a reality that he cannot deny does he change his tune. That is the reality of when his greed turns him into a dragon. At that point, he cannot deny both his greed, which is the evil inside of him, nor can he deny that he is a dragon. It is then of course that Aslan is able to help Eustace.

Interestingly, seeing the talk of Eustace reading makes me think that Lewis in this work is telling us much about knowledge. Consider the gnomish creatures who kidnap Lucy saying “This one reads!” They want her to go and break an invisibility charm that has been put on them by the one that they call “The Oppressor.” Not remembering this part of the story, I was preparing for Lucy to find a powerful enemy, when in reality, she found an old scholarly man who was not really an oppressor, but was one seeking to help the creatures.

Why? They could not protect themselves and part of the reason was that they could not read. They had no real access to knowledge in society then. Those who are not aware of the great ideas will be at the mercy of those who are. We need to read non-fiction so others will not do our thinking for us. We need to read fiction so that others will not do our imagining for us. Of course, we can benefit from the knowledge and imagination of others, but we should hone these skills that exist in us as well.

The biblical references I find quite strong such as Aslan’s table and I was pleased that the movie put these in. Aslan’s table was a place that could not be approached in violence and so a charm was put on the lords who sought to use it as such. We could also keep in mind that at Aslan’s table, there is truly only one Lord.

We should also appreciate the numerous references to temptation. We can all seek to be someone else, such as Lucy sought to be Susan, but we should all seek to be ourselves. That does not mean we cannot admire others or seek to emulate them in some ways. We should however not seek to be them. It does us no good to be jealous of another, something I still have to learn in many ways.

For Edmund, it was power. He wanted to be free. He didn’t want to be seen as “younger king under Peter.” He wanted to be king in his own right. It is however in realizing who he is in himself that enables him to be able to defeat the serpent. He does not need the power of the White Queen. He does not need to defeat the serpent to prove he is a man. His defeat of the serpent demonstrates that he is a man. He is a man in his own right, though not Peter.

Reepacheep was of course a favorite character again. It was a truly moving scene at the end to see him cross over the water and enter into Aslan’s country, a country which is made for hearts of those like him. Why are we sad at that? It is not for Reepacheep. He didn’t even experience the pain of death. He simply passed over. It is because of our loss. We have an attachment to this character and until we pass over, we will not see him again.

Special thanks to the producers also for including Lucy asking if they’d ever see Aslan in their world. Aslan tells them that in their world, he is known by another name. The purpose of bringing them to the world of Narnia and knowing him there was so that they would know him better in their own world. My wife and in-laws and I were quite pleased to see that.

I also found that the 3-D effects of the movie were just spectacular as it looked like objects were really coming at me. Every now and then, I’d lower the glasses to see if things looked different and indeed they did. The movie was incredible overall and had me spellbound the whole time. I found it to be the best one yet.

I also do think it’s family-friendly. Don’t hesitate to bring the little ones to see this one. It’ll give great openings for more conversation.