Thanks to the kindness of the World Evangelical Alliance I was privileged to go to the Royal World Premier of Voyage of the Dawn Treader last night in Leicester Square. It was a very glitzy event – with the surreal combination of artificial snow and real snow falling on the huge construction they had built in Leicester Square complete with Narnian Lamp Post and stage. It was a strange feeling to be on the red carpet and ushered into the main Odeon cinema while the stars had their VIP reception with the Queen and her entourage.
After the Royal Fanfare from the 5 trumpeters and a rendition of God Save the Queen on the Hammond organ built into the cinema we were straight into Walden Media’s new film.
I have always loved the Dawn Treader book and especially the opening where the Edmond, Lucy and Useless (Eustace) are sucked into the picture on the bedroom wall and into the open sea. The film delivered this scene with great effect and indeed the set pieces of action and beauty were handled really well.
The story in case you haven’t read CS Lewis’ wonderful Narnia Chronicles is set one earth year after the end of Prince Caspian with the Pevensey siblings split between two continents – Edmund and Lucy are in Cambridge staying with their Aunt and Uncle and their very annoying cousin Eustace. When the get to Narnia three years have passed and Caspian is now a handsome King. What ensues is a swash buckling sea Odyssey with a quest for 7 missing swords, a syren like battle with inner fears, a battle to master the dragon of your soul and a final battle with a sea serpent .
The film handles the quest very well – with a spectacular looking ship, beautifully shot action sequences and very impressive CGI dragon. There is also a faithfulness to the faith elements of the book – with the voyage resembling the church’s mission to “rescue lost souls”, a strong emphasis on trusting Aslan in diversity, and the final scene of Reepicheap; the most likable of all the characters in the movie, being ready to make the transition into “Aslan’s country.” It was one of the most interesting and inspiring depictions of death I have seen in a while. I sat there wondering what our 80 year old monarch was making of the film on the Royal Balcony and hoping the film’s message of hope beyond death and mission now was inspiring her as it was me.
Its a great family movie – go and enjoy it! (If its a choice I wouldn’t bother with the 3D version it adds very little to the film).