C. S. Lewis, the man behind the Chronicles of Narnia books, used his experiences gained while serving in the British army during World War I to serve as inspiration for the popular book series. Three of Lewis’ books have been brought to life on the big screen, the most recent of which is “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” released in December of 2010. The movie became available for DVD and Blu-ray on April 8th.
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” originally written by Lewis in 1950 and published in 1952, was the third book in the series, but is the fifth when going by chronological order. Lewis himself made the first edits to the book. Since Lewis is a native of England, born in Oxford in 1898, the British version was published first. Lewis decided to make the changes after he read the proofs for the British version, but was too late to make changes before initial publication. Prior to the release of the U.S. version, Lewis made two changes.
The first was a minor change in the wording for the description of Eustace. The most substantial change was Lewis’ decision to rewrite the ending of Chapter 12 (“The Dark Island”) to be more descriptive and imaginative. In an unusual move, when HarperCollins took over the publication rights to the series in 1994 they decided to ignore the changes Lewis made and used the original text.
Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroni are credited with writing the final screenplay for “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Previous incarnations of the story combined it with plot elements from “The Silver Chair,” telling the story of the Narnians being held hostage and subsequently rescued. Ultimately, some of the plot elements from “The Silver Chair” made it into the finished movie. Other changes from the book include the setting. Unlike the first two movies, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is set in England during World War II with Edmund anxious to join the war.
Eustace’s journal entries are used for comedic effect in the book, but serve as narrative to advance the story in the movie. The movie is far less character-driven than the book, sacrificing some character detail for more action scenes. Proving this point, there are over 1400 special effects shots in “Dawn Treader.” This is especially true of Caspian. Some of the islands mentioned in the book are missing or not in the original order.
Critically, the movie was well-received. While continuity is an issue, overall the movie has been praised for retaining the basic elements Lewis originally wrote in a way that will hold the audience’s attention. While not reaching final totals of the previous two movies, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” was still a global box office hit bringing in total gross revenue of $410,983,624. Walden Media President Micheal Flaherty has confirmed that the next movie will be “The Magician’s Nephew.” Details of the project, including a release date, have not yet been announced.
This was a guest post by John from HMV.com where you can buy the Chronicles of Narnia DVDs including the Voyage of the Dawn Treader online now.