Author Topic: Voyage of the Dawn Treader  (Read 766 times)

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Online Fiji

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Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« on: May 29, 2012, 03:55:57 AM »
My daughter held a virtual gun to our collective head and demanded we watch Voyage of the dawn treader.
I'm not exactly jazzed about my daughter liking CS Lewis but she gets to read whatever she likes (short of Twilight ... Christian apologist, ok, I guess, sparkling vampires ... HELL NO! I'm an ageing Buffy fan, after all!!!)
There are a few issues with Dawn Treader. First of all, there's Eustace. I guess he's supposed to come across as the skeptic who grudgingly abandons his belief in unbelief. But he ends up just becoming the stubborn hater. If you show us, real life skeptics, some kind of real, actual proof ... we will change our minds. (well, ok, me, at least).
Then there's a bit of a snigger moment during the first adventure. The three kids come across an island under the control of evil people. And how do we know they're evil? Because they're slave traders! That's an easy one, no brainer, person enslaves people, person is bad. And this from a staunch apologist for a religion that's A-ok with slavery. Snigger indeed.

Next is a bit of standard adventure movie stuff, treasure, dragons, monsters and Aslan/Jesus[1] saving the day (or at least Eustace). Which brings up the question of why Aslan/Jesus needs to abduct children from our world into his to fight his battles for him? He seems plenty powerful enough to do it himself.
Aslan claims that bringing them to Narnia makes it easier for them to recognize him in our world. But, here's the thing, there's a fundamental difference between Naria and Earth ... In Narnia, you can actually SEE the god! You can talk to him, people around you confirm that he's real and he works actual verifiable miracles. And, actually, even within the, what to call this?, Narnia-verse; even accepting all the rules that come with Narnia, you're still left with an Earth where Jesus is nothing more than a legend. There's no guarantee that Aslan is speaking the truth when he claims to exist on Earth too, only under a different name. This brings us back to why kidnap CHILDREN specifically? Aslan comes across as Machiavellan character who gets kids because they're young and impressionable. Give me the boy and I'll give you the brainwashed man, indeed.

Then, the worst part of the movie. The kids, Caspian and that talking mouse arrive at Aslan's country ... i.e. heaven. Caspian, and I understand this is not in novel, is offered the chance to ascend into heaven. He declines because his dad would be disappointed with him abandoning his task. Which is a nice way to skirt the inevitable 'if heaven is so great why don't I die right now and go there?' you get when you explain death to a small child by dragging in heaven.[2] So, Caspian doesn't go to heaven, which is a nice way of saying he won't kill himself. Ok, clear message, don't kill yourself. Right, I get that, as much as I like suicide lyrics, if at all bearable, don't kill yourself. However ... then, the talking mouse asks Aslan for permission to kill himself and Aslan goes ... 'ok'.
And even worse, the mouse goes through with it! And that actually WAS in the novel! So, CS Lewis, the Christian apologist, is ok with suicide?! ... Suicide for no reason other than, 'this life is neat and all, but I want more ... MORE!'
Luckily, my daughter didn't pick up on it.

So, there you have it. Ok as an adventure movie, horrendous for the moral compass.
 1. Yes, I know Lewis denied this but Aslan had this whole I'malive/I'mdead/I'maliveagain thing, so admit it, Aslan is Jesus, ok?
 2. Corrina, Corrina brings this up too, though no good answer is given
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 08:46:55 AM »
Haven't seen the movie yet - it's been on my Sky+ since Christmas!  So I'm basing all this on the book.

But I HAVE read the novels - and in them, Reepicheep doesn't commit suicide (as such)....he paddles off into the sweet sea and (presumably) lands on the other side in Aslan's country.  Metaphor maybe, but equally on of "go on and on to the farthest end" rather than suicide.

Good point about Aslan abducting the children - though is that not a parallel with what Yahweh does in this world?  Gets humans to fulfil his Will?

Odd thing is, even now that I see all the parallels and religious claptrap, I STILL love Narnia....perhaps exactly because Aslan actually appears and does things and you can ask him questions.  When people are in trouble and call in him, he WILL come and help (or, at least, will magically transport people to give help on his behalf.....IMO a world away from the standard Christian assertion that the man who gave you a lift in his car was sent by Jesus, because they are clearly a miraculous happening!).
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Online Fiji

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Re: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 09:23:01 AM »
He doesn't commit suicide, as such, in the movie either. Not in the shove sword through his own heart kind of way anyway. But he does voluntarily go to a place that is absolutely wonderful and that you can never return from (even though, I gather, he does in the next book).
So, suicide metaphore, right?[1]
 1. even though Lewis claimed Narnia is not metaphoric ... why than, is it so damned full of metaphores?
Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

Schrodinger's thunderdome! One cat enters and one MIGHT leave!

Without life, god has no meaning.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 10:29:10 AM »
I don't know.....I certainly never picked that up on multiple readings at many ages, though now you've said it I certainly agree its a valid interpretation. 

I always saw it more of a "some things you can never undo", which applies to a lot more decisions in life than we might think. 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Traveler

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Re: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 11:38:23 AM »
Not only is Aslan visible, but he's a LION. I can get behind a lion as god, at least for the sake of a story.  ;D

I, too, saw the sailing over the ocean thing as going to a real place, not dying. Same with the elves in the Ring series. There's always the thought that if they wanted to they could come back. But then I'm really good at suspending disbelief in order to enjoy a fantasy tale.
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Offline Timtheskeptic

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Re: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2012, 02:41:40 PM »
i have seen this movie a few times, but i neither hate it nor love it. i even see the first one, but not the second one. I already knew it was by a Christian who tries to make his Narnia like a story of Jesus. It's more like he was sugarcoating religion, except that he brings kids into fighting a war, has a lion get killed Jesus style, and talks about what is right and wrong and so forth.

I have been told by my late grandmother that this was a metaphor for jesus and all. Nevertheless, the stories seem to be just all about the Bible in an idea that it's all beautiful and magical. I'm fine with the idea of there being some mystical being like Aslan which can appear before you, talk to you and all, but the Bible itself is all "Just believe or burn."

Strangely enough, you can tell there's a lot of "sin" and "temptation" undertone like some warning. Those may be what keeps me from loving this story. I am down with the idea of teaching kids right from wrong, but the Bible is warped.
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