Let's talk about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, shall we?
Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are summoned one last time to Narnia, but instead of traveling with their older siblings, Peter and Susan, they bring along their younger cousin, Eustace Scrubb (who has, in my opinion, one of the most evocative names I've ever encountered. Describes him to a T). They find themselves reunited with King Caspian on a ship called the Dawn Treader. Caspian, having secured Nania and winning himself some peace, is sailing east to the Lone Islands, searching for seven lords who fled his evil uncle.
As it turns out, all is not well. A great evil is brewing in the eastern oceans, one that threatens to consume all of Narnia. Only Edmund and Lucy and their companions can free Narnia from its grip.
If you've read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis, you're probably scratching your head about that last paragraph. I certainly was while sitting in the movie theater. I was a little disturbed at some of the liberties that the director took in this movie. The book's story centers around Caspian's quest to find the seven lords simply to find them. Narnia isn't in jeopardy. There's no "big bad" lurking in the shadows, waiting to devour everyone. And yet, even without the high adventure, Lewis's book is a fun read.
The movie is a little . . . off, I suppose you could say. It's a fun ride, that's for sure. It was great to finally see the Dufflepuds brought to life. But the newly tacked on adventure quest didn't mesh with Lewis's original material too well. They tinkered with the plot and added in some stuff that made me roll my eyes (i.e. the three lords at Aslan's Table and when they were restored; way to miss the point).
But what made me smile is what the director kept in. Eustace's journey hews very closely to the book and that was a good thing. Like I said, the Dufflepuds were awesome, even if they were only in there for a brief moment.
But best of all, they kept the line. THE line, the one that helps explain what Narnia is all about. Aslan says it to the children right at the end of the movie and it's so important, I'm going to quote it from the original book:
"I am [in your world too]. But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
Given who Aslan represents in Narnia, it's great that they kept that key statement intact and didn't fiddle with it.
So I guess, all in all, this was an okay movie. I worry, though, about future adaptations. If they continue to stray too much, Narnia might become unrecognizable. But for now, it was good to join them on the voyage.