Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
INTERVIEW—Behind the scenes of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
lions in the Bible
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
How can I be (and feel) forgiven for what I’ve done wrong? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
If God created Satan, and Satan is evil, is evil God’s fault? Answer
What is the Christian perspective on war? Answer
|Featuring||Simon Pegg (Reepicheep), Tilda Swinton (The White Witch), Liam Neeson (Aslan), Ben Barnes (King Caspian), Skandar Keynes (Edmund Pevensie), Georgie Henley (Lucy Pevensie), See all »|
|Director||Michael Apted—“Amazing Grace”|
|Producer||Fox 2000 Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Walden Media, See all »|
“Return to magic. Return to hope. Return to Narnia.”
“Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is the third in The Chronicles of Narnia series and the first directed by Michael Apted, who directed the great film “Amazing Grace” as well the Bond film “The World Is Not Enough.”
One will quickly be stricken by the differences in “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and its predecessors. Most obvious is the human element. “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” focuses much more on human characters and human emotions than the previous films. Except for Reepicheep, every one of the central characters are humans. This allows the viewer to identify better with the human element.
In the third chapter of Narnia, Prince Caspian sets sail to find seven swords scattered across the kingdom. In each case, one or more of the characters falls prey to temptation. Whether lust for wealth, greed, power, or vanity, all must face their sins in order to emerge victorious. Their journey takes them across the seas to the end of the world, but no comparisons to a certain pirate movie are applicable.
Of the original crowd, only Lucy and Edmund return. The older children can no longer return to Narnia. Since this pattern would continue into the next story, Lewis introduced Eustace, a spoiled child who makes the young Edmund look like a spiritual giant by comparison. Eustace will, of course, return for the “Silver Chair,” Narnia’s fourth installment (and one best suited to be translated into a film). Here, he is introduced as the young immature brat who undergoes a life transforming event.
Spiritually speaking, the story focuses on temptations and how they hamper our spiritual walk. It shows how the enemy uses our own selfish desires to take our focus off of God and our true purpose in life. We become embedded in our own selfish aspirations and neglect those which we should be promoting.
Morally, there is nothing offensive, except that very young children will be exposed to magic and some mild bloodless violence. The magic element is one which is controversial, but has been dealt with previously. Anyone familiar with C.S. Lewis’ stories is already well aware that magic plays a crucial part in the films. There is “dark magic,” and then there is the power of Aslan, but there also appears to be a sort of “neutral” magic in the film which is not developed. There are scenes where incantations are used without any negative connotations, nor any glory to God (Aslan). Parents who have issues with magic might take offense at this, but it is also a good opportunity to discuss these issues with your child. One can look at it as a teaching opportunity.
In reviewing a film like “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” one is invariably struck with comparisons to the previous installments and questions as to which is better. The truth is that there is no answer. The first film was strongest in terms of its spiritual allegory. “Voyage…” is strongest in its human application. The fantasy world of the first film still encompasses the third film, but there is less emphasis upon fantasy. Does less CGI mean a better film? Some will definitely say “yes.” To be sure, there are still plenty of fantasy creatures and special effects, including a dragon and a sea monster, as well as mysterious mist which appears with evil. “Voyage…” is no less a fantasy than the other films, but it is a movie which explores human frailties. I offer no opinion as to which film is the best, but I assure the reader that The Chronicles of Narnia remains on firm footing with the apt direction of Apted, and a human script.
NOTE : This review is based on the 2D film and not the 3D version.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.