Dawn Treader — more gratuitous battles!

It has been evident for some time that the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will make major, major changes to its source material.

Last month, producer Doug Gresham hinted that he was “ambivalent” about the changes on this film in a way that he hadn’t been on the previous two films, and a press release issued last summer suggested that King Caspian and the other characters will now be embarking on their journey not simply to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia, as they did in the book, but to “save Narnia, and all the astonishing creatures in it, from an unfathomable fate.”

Now, director Michael Apted has revealed another development that is giving some Narnia fans pause. In a recent interview with the Australian version of Empire magazine, he stated:

“This is a lot more psychological; it’s not a big action movie. There are a lot of different locations and adventures but, apart from a huge battle at the end with a sea serpent and a dragon, this is a character story. The quality of the book, and the appeal of the book, is that it’s more of an emotional than a swashbuckling adventure.”

NarniaWeb.com responds:

There are definitely a lot of positive lines here, like “not a big action movie” and “a character story.” But I’m sure that the bit that will leave everybody talking is the line “a huge battle at the end with a sea serpent and a dragon.” Is this dragon Eustace? If so, did they move Dragon Island to the end of the movie? Or just the bit where Eustace turns back into a boy? Only 11 months of speculating to go!

Meanwhile, in other news, the Washington Times ran a story on New Year’s Eve quoting someone who quoted a former script adviser who said the film was “drifting” from C.S. Lewis’s original vision. It’s hearsay, sure, but where there’s smoke, there tends to be fire, and right now it seems like there’s a lot of smoke.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).