Tag Archives: movie

Dawn Treader

Last night, we saw the new Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie.

To say that I was disappointed, would only cover part of it. I’m also perplexed why a movie maker who has proven that they can make a good movie (viz: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) felt the need to make such enormous changes to what was already a great story.

Dawn Treader has always been my favorite Narnia book. If there were a criticism to be made of it, it’s that there’s no great central quest in the story. There is a quest, but the story gets its interest from what happens along the way to the quest. It appears that Walden took this complaint and decided to dismantle the story and provide it with a Quest go to on. As a result, they pretty much ruined everything. They left out parts that I consider most important, and they inserted a very strange main plot for the action to move around.

Apparently a search for lost friends isn’t exciting enough to sell tickets? I don’t know. You can imagine someone writing the screenplay who hadn’t actually read the book, and thought that the dragon really needed more screen time, and that the seven lords thing wasn’t quite exciting enough.

We tried, on the way home, to figure out which bits they had done right. I don’t think we came up with anything.

We were disappointed with what they did to Prince Caspian, but what they’ve done to my favorite Narnia book goes beyond just disappointment. I think it dishonors Lewis. It’s normal for a film maker to take some liberties with the story, but to completely ignore the plot is inexcusable. Rather than saying that this movie is based on the book, they should rather say that it has many of the same characters, and a handful of the same locations, as a book that coincidentally happens to have the same name.

A Christmas Carol, Jim Carrey version

Warning: Spoilers.

Yesterday we went to see Jim Carrey’s Christmas Carol. It was very disappointing. Given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a great book, and add something to the list of great movies that have already been made of this book, he chose instead to add one to the growing pile of cheesy renditions. This one was somewhere below the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, although probably above the Jetson’s Christmas Carol. Patrick Stewart is still by far the best.

When making a lengthy book into a movie, one has to adapt. That’s obvious, I suppose. But the art is in deciding what to cut, and what to leave in. This requires that you actually know the story, and know what really matters in it. Carrey left out several of the most significant moments of the story, and altered a few of the other ones to the point of their being far less meaningful.

Some film makers choose to add stuff in, such as a cute animal companion, or an extra Marley. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Hint: It works when it’s clear from the start that you’re not trying to do a faithful rendition of the original.

This is where the Carrey version fails, and fails hard. It’s never completely clear whether he’s trying to do a faithful rendition. Some places, it seems that he is. The multiple faces of Christmas Past was not only well done, but really the first time that’s ever been done in a movie. The strict adherence to the script for the majority of the movie, occasionally translating phrases for an American audience, too, made it seem that he was indeed trying to be true to the book.

But then inserted here and there were things either wildly outside of the book – such as a lengthy chase scene, and a rocket trip to the moon. (Huh!?!) And also things were inserted that simply undermined the feeling that we were really visiting Scrooge’s past, such as Mrs. Fezziwig suddenly taking flight during the dance. It’s significant that the two scenes I hated the most from the movie are the ones most prominently featured in the trailers.

And the entire death scene of Christmas Present – well, I’m torn on that. It was a very interesting interpretation of something implied, not stated, in the book. Ignorance and Want were straight out of the 1938 Christmas Carol. But then it got positively weird.

Also missing: The scene where Christmas Present chastises Scrooge for presuming to judge who is the “surplus population.”

Altered: Christmas Present blames the church, rather than Parliament, for attempting to keep places of business closed on Sunday.

And, really, Christmas Present was just … creepy. In the book, Christmas Present is benevolent. Everything about him is benevolent. Yes, he laughs a lot, but it’s jolly, whereas in this movie Christmas Present is, for most of his time on screen, just creepy. He laughs far too much, and at all the wrong times, and is more hysterical than benevolent. To be fair, it’s hard to identify any movie that really gets Christmas Present right. Patrick Stewart does, and, strangely, the Muppet movie does.

While I was very pleased with the start of the movie – Marley was just about perfect – by about halfway through Christmas Past, I started feeling that this was just an opportunity to show off cool new technology. The technology (yes, the new 3D stuff is amazing) was the end, rather than a means to tell a classic story in a new way. And while I was initially fascinated with the rather unorthodox interpretation that the ghosts are just parts of Scrooge himself, this didn’t work for me, and made me feel like they did this just because it’s what they did in Polar Express.

I rather wish that we had gone to see it at the Movie Pub instead, so that instead of the gratuitous 3D, we could have enjoyed a meal.


Last night we went to see Caspian at the Movie Tavern.

The Movie Tavern is very cool – dinner and a movie, with a table at every seat in the theater. Well worth checking out if you have one in your area.

The movie was excellent, and also a disappointment. It is very loosely based on – one might say only inspired by – the book Prince Caspian by C.S.Lewis. There are small elements of the story here and there in the movie, but most of it is a work of original fiction. It seems that the movie makers felt that the story itself wasn’t good enough, and so they had to fundamentally change not only the story line, but also the characters of Peter and Caspian, by making them do or say things that Lewis’ characters would have never stooped to.

If you haven’t read the book, I expect that you can greatly enjoy the movie. It’s a great show, with fabulous plot twists and great action. If you’ve read the book – particularly if you enjoyed the book – you’ll spend the entire time saying, “that never happened! Why did they do that?”, pretty much from the first minute of the film.