Episode 81: ‘Dawn Treader’ Film Analysis, Part 8

Posted April 22, 2011 4:31 pm by Rilian

Running time: 50:15
The “undragonning”: It stirs the heart of every Narnia lover. How close did the film come to doing the book justice in this regard? glumPuddle and Warrior4Jesus join Rilian as they discuss the visual aspects of the undragonning, the way it fit into the story and also add a new perspective to the question of whether Eustace earns his redemption in the film.

 

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30 Comments For This Story

  • Benjamin says:

    Did not like the ‘fairy’ feel of the un-dragoning…

    • Neverland Child says:

      For your imformation, it was not to ‘fairy’. Believe me, I know fairy! I liked it! Cuz in the book, it took forever!! Just ripe his skin off and be done with it!

      • Arvan says:

        But you see, that’s the whole point. It’s not "easy" or "quick". Sure, they shouldn’t have shown Eustace repeatedly removing his own skin, but surely once? It’s fairly obvious that the filmmakers are just trying to appease people like you who want "instant gratification". I wouldn’t be surprised if VDT was your favorite of the three films, because there’s always something happening. It goes so quick that you don’t even get to breathe.

        Frankly, it did have a "fairy" feel to it in the movie…

  • Roger says:

    Good podcast. This was another part of the movie where the movie is not based on the book. Any similarities between the book and the movie are purely coincidental. Aslan could have had Eustace the dragon follow him through a portal to a pool and we could have seen the dragon scales laying next to Eustace. I think that the whole development of Eustace was done poorly. I agree with you: They missed the point of the dragoning. They were overly concerned about the PG rating. You all brought up good points.

    • DOECOG says:

      Well I heard the films have to be PG otherwise they can’t get the rights to the books. But still if they can’t show a Lion clawing a dragon when the Lion is freeing the boy from his dragonish self, what are they going to do about the scene in HHB (assuming it ever gets made) where Aslan claws Aravis’ back up.

  • Conina says:

    I’m pretty sure that Wagga is a "she" not a "he."

    I thought you guys were dead-on about how in the book the dragonning is a bad thing and in the movie, they lose sight of that. I think it the "cool, a dragon!" attitude weakens the film.

  • Warrior 4 Jesus says:

    Yes, Wagga is a woman. Also, in Australia we would pronounce her username as "Wog-ah" but that’s okay. I had fun discussing the undragoning with the guys.

  • narnia_fan12 says:

    Eustace DOES break down and start crying as a dragon. Right afterwards, Reep tells him of his adventures with that other dragon… Lol. πŸ˜›

    • Arvan says:

      Yep, he does cry some real big tears (were they steaming hot though?)

      Thing is, Reep still tells him he’s great and extraordinary because of his dragoning. Which is not the point in the book…

      • stateofgreen says:

        The CGI budget was so low they could only afford one steaming tear instead of many…he definitely cried much more in the book….lonely and isolated. The dragon didn’t cry enough in the movie. πŸ™‚

      • Ionic Bonding Rocks says:

        So they had enough money to waste on some huge, drawn-out sea serpent scene and they only had enough money for one dragon tear? That’s pathetic.

      • stateofgreen says:

        @IBR….I was being sarcastic about the CGI budget for tears… πŸ˜€ It’s not really true, though sometimes I wonder if it could be….given how Apted mentioned the CGI Reep and dragon were expensive….

  • E. Stephen Burnett ("Dr Elwin Ransom") says:

    The transformation of "a dragon may be somewhat helpful, but overall it’s an inconvenience and even a terror to others" to "dragons are cool and becoming a dragon was the best thing that could have ever happened to Eustace and the ship’s crew" showed how little the movie’s writers grasped β€” or wanted to grasp β€” the real story’s theme of redemption.

    That sank any supposed cleanup afterward about how Eustace supposedly couldn’t "do it" on his own. What we *saw* fought what we were *told*. And again the movie’s humanism was exposed.

    • Non-negotiable Comment says:

      This film is VERY insidious in its approach. They spend the first 10-15 minutes meticulously crafting what appears to be a faithful, respectful, adaptation, but, then they SUBTLY start to twist and bend the fabric of Lewis’ message and intent at every possible opportunity. The moment that Lucy, with a little smirk on her face, half-mockingly asked Reepicheep "Do you really think there IS such a place?", in response to his reference to Aslan’s Country, told me everything I needed to know about how much these writers understood the characters and the story. Lucy would, literally, DIE before EVER questioning the existence of Aslan’s Country. They might as well have just started flashing "WARNING! FLAGRANT STUPIDITY AHEAD!" in bright red letters on the screen. That moment was a sickening harbinger for what was to come.

      Every key moment of the film–even those that, aesthetically and content-wise, APPEAR to be identical to moments in the book–are somehow just… not… QUITE what they should be. The undragoning is just another example of this.

      The movie is Dawn Treader-flavoured (I’m Canadian, my people use u’s) bubble-gum. At first, it kind of smells nice, and tastes pretty sweet. But, soon, your jaw gets tired of chewing, it loses its flavour, and you just want to spit it out. I think that stupid green mist must have been swirling around a lot of writers’ meetings.

      • Rilian says:

        I use u’s because it adds more flavour to language. I’m not Canadian or British; I’m just a rebellious American πŸ˜›

  • Not Of This World says:

    I thought the Undragoning was great.

  • Arvan says:

    If only they’d listen to Tom Sawyer. He should have been a screenwriter and adapted books to screen!

    Even if they don’t understand it, they ought to just trust the book:

    "I’ve seen it in books; and so of course that’s what we’ve got to do."
    "Don’t I tell you it’s in the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what’s in the books,
    and get things all muddled up?"

    Why shouldn’t we add an evil Green Mist?
    "Because it ain’t in the books so–that’s why. Now do you
    want to do things regular, or don’t you?–that’s the idea. Don’t you reckon that the people that made the books knows what’s the correct thing to do? Do you reckon YOU can learn ’em anything? Not by a good deal."

  • Not Of This World says:

    Are you guys in the same room doing the podcast or are some of you on the phone? It sounds like you guys are on the phone. Anyway great podcast, guys.

  • Louloudi the Centaur says:

    The undragoning scene really needed to be extended. Just because there’s a high tech sea serpent battle going on and Edmund almost gets eaten two-three times doesn’t mean we can’t get a more than 47 second scene of peace and Christianity at the max. The purpose was to show redemption how it is supposed to be, not the "Jesus is your sidekick like many think He is nowadays".

    However, did Eustace earn or receive baptism by grace? Now, from this point, this is especially my opinion, and feel free to argue. He battled a sea serpent, got injured, crashed, woke up, back to a boy. One would think it was by he got turned back because he did something really heroic. But, think back to when the Dawn Treader was stuck with no wind. The crew might have had to eat Eustace if they didn’t find land soon. Eustace, wanting to live, took on the task of bringing them to Ramandu’s Island. When they got there, he was very exhausted. Did Aslan just pop out of a bush and claw his skin off after a hard task? No. What I am trying to say is I think the idea of Jesus is not a sidekick was there, but the turn out was misleading.

    Again, I thought the scene needed to be at least 2-3 minutes long to receive the idea of baptism and Eustace needing help. Didn’t like the scene too much overall.

  • Not Of This World says:

    Me too!

  • Arvan says:

    I will say that I liked the reflection of Aslan in Eustace’s eye… that was really cool.

    • stateofgreen says:

      That would have been even cooler had they developed the rest of the scene as it was in the book…it was way too short and it didn’t really emphasize Eustace’s redemption in the right way. It did make it look like being a dragon was cool. In the book being a dragon was misery for Eustace and his character is changed as a result of him suffering and being forced to reflect on his character as a boy. Badly done Walden/Fox. πŸ™