Friday, April 8, 2011

"Every year you grow..."

The DVD of Voyage of the Dawn Treader arrived today and, having seen it for the first time, I can honestly say I enjoyed it. My expectation for films of books I love isn't actually very high and this film exceeded those expectations. The president of Walden Media, Michael Flaherty, gave another interview, this time to Christianity Today, in which he discussed the successes and failures of the series and plans for the future [The Magician's Nephew is next]. He also answered some questions about some of the choices made for Caspian and  Dawn Treader:
The part I was most disappointed in was the un-dragoning of Eustace. I know that for the sake of children, you couldn't show Aslan ripping Eustace apart. But it didn't seem evident that Eustace had first tried to tear off his skin, on his own. We just saw him scratch his chest one time, and then we saw Aslan pawing at the sand, and then we saw this transformation. Have you heard complaints that the un-dragoning wasn't handled well?

Yes. And we could see that coming even before we showed anyone the movie. What's interesting is that when you read the book, you actually don't see that scene; Eustace just recounts it when he gets back in the boat. We wanted to show it, but what we ended up doing was reinforcing that message when Eustace says later, "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do it myself. And then he came towards me. It was a good hurt." Visually, I was pleased with it. But yes, there was a response where people wanted to see lion paw firmly placed in dragon flesh and ripping it off. That was a common disappointment.

Another big thing for people is Aslan's speech in the end, when he tells Lucy she'll know him by another name in her world. That dialogue was kept in the film, but I've heard there were some feisty conversations about that and that some people wanted to cut it.

With all the Aslan parts, particularly the dialogue, there's always a very spirited and healthy discussion, and generally any time there's a discussion, the tie goes to C.S. Lewis. So we always come to the agreement, "Listen, let's not think that we can reinterpret this and do a better job than Lewis. If we disagree about this, if people think there are different ways to say this, let's just make sure we preserve what Lewis said." That's a mistake we made with Prince Caspian, where we changed Aslan's dialogue with Lucy. [In the book, Lucy says: "You're bigger, Aslan." Aslan replies: "That's because you are older, little one." Lucy: "Not because you are?" Aslan: "I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger." In the film, Aslan says to Lucy: "Every year you grow, so shall I," which carries quite a different meaning.] We didn't get that one right. We learned our lesson from that. And so as we were trying to figure out the dialogue with this one, we decided that we would just go back to verbatim what we had in the book. .... [more]
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