The First Dawn Treader Footage

Walden Media and Twentieth Century Fox hosted a Narnia event for Christian leaders this weekend in Los Angeles. My wife and I were privileged to be able to attend and to represent NarniaWeb. On Friday night, we attended a panel discussion moderated by Hugh Hewitt with the filmmakers and were able to see a few minutes of Dawn Treader. I’ll share with you some initial thoughts and information gleaned from the event, but I don’t want to spoil too much for our readers. I’ll tell you, though, to start off that I absolutely loved what I saw of the film and loved what Michael Apted had to say about his vision for the film.

Narnia Panel Discussion

The first group in the Narnia discussion panel was Professor Devin Brown of Asbury College (and author of Inside Narnia), Walden Media President Micheal Flaherty, and Douglas Gresham, the stepson of C.S. Lewis. They told the story of how Walden got the franchise in the first place and about how this film came to be. Gresham also shared some anecdotes about life with Jack (C.S. Lewis).

The next panel was made up of David Weil (CEO of Anschutz Film Group) and Elizabeth Gabler (President of Fox 2000 Pictures). David told the story of moving the production from Disney to Fox and Elizabeth shared that she had flown to New York to try to secure the rights to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at the same time that Walden was doing so. She was disappointed not to secure the rights to make the films so when the opportunity came up to work on Dawn Treader she jumped at it.

Concept Art

Next, Michael Apted and Mark Johnson were interviewed. He shared that this is a very character-driven film and that it is not going to be a film that has special effects without any real content. He said this movie is about temptation and learning how to overcome it, wrapped in an adventure story. Michael then took us through a 20-minute presentation with concept art and a few still frames to give us the basic outline of the movie. He described the five islands, where we’ll see them, and what will happen on each one. He also pointed out how each island will have a different and unique look to it.

I’m not going to go into a lot of depth here or share a lot of spoilers, but I will tell you that the concept art looks very good. Some of the still shots in particular show the tremendous work of cinematographer Dante Spinotti. There were shots of Goldwater and the sailing Dawn Treader which blew me away. Just the concept art that we were shown of Aslan at the end of the film made my heart catch in my throat.

Apted’s description of the movie’s storyline made a lot of sense. I can now see the storyline complete with changes that they’ve made and the rough outlook seems like it will work really well.

A Super Trailer

Finally, we were treated to about five minutes of the film. The format was that of a trailer, with small 5-20 second scenes one after another. There were some shots that weren’t complete yet and still needed the full CGI treatment. Toward the end of the presentation it began to feel a bit more like a trailer with quick shots and cuts back and forth. I’d say the whole piece together could be described as a super-trailer.

Without giving away too much, I will mention a few things about the footage we saw. There were shots of the transition into Narnia and some shots onboard the Dawn Treader with Eustace (quite funny). We saw some interaction between Lucy and Gael and quite a lot of shots of Lucy in the magician’s house. There were a few finished shots of Reepicheep, several “beauty shots” of the Dawn Treader sailing, and some incredible shots of the entrance to Aslan’s Country from the end of the film. Liam Neeson’s lines have been recorded so we heard Aslan several times throughout the footage.

Can’t Wait For This Film

As you can imagine, it was intensely exciting getting to see these first images from the film. My first impressions are that Michael Apted’s Narnia “feels” like the same Narnia that we’ve seen on film so far. The new director has brought a new energy and vision to the project, but the continuity between the previous films is vastly encouraging. The visuals are completely stunning. As good as we thought the Dawn Treader looked during filming, it looks much better on screen and sailing on the water–just absolutely phenomenal! All the footage that I have seen tells me that this is going to be a very well-built, well-paced film with a lot of attention to detail and character.

I’d like to thank to Walden Media, Twentieth Century Fox, and Grace Hill Media (event hosts) for the invitation this weekend. I came away more excited than ever for this film. I was really encouraged by what I saw on all fronts: directing, cinematography, and storyline. Fans: you are going to love what you see when you see it!

My colleague Paul Martin of NarniaFans was at the event as well. I’d encourage you to check out his report posted here.

199 Responses

  1. farsight1 says:

    GOOD NEWS AT LAST!!! Very encouraging to hear, after learning of Izzard's departure. Let's see what they can come up with. I did like most of the description of the footage so far and I do trust Michael Apted, even if I don't trust the scriptwriters we've got so far as much.

  2. Mal Nelson says:

    Alrighty! This is awesome! Really excited for the movie! Sail on, VDT!

  3. Victoria says:

    Go VDT!

  4. Aunt Letty says:

    Wow. This is the beginning of the marketing rundown to the release. The news and glimpses can only get "more better" from here on out.

    I wonder if either "Tirian" or Paul Martin asked the question, "when can the fans look to see an actual clip or trailer"? I looked carefully but didn't see any reference to the answer. Maybe they asked but it's a secret? It helps me to be patient, when I know how long I have to wait. Probably we'll be seeing something of the kind by summer….

    • Duffleglum says:

      Oh yeah, for sure
      When the count down reaches 6 months, they will come out!

    • Aaron says:

      Awesome news I have always been a big Narnia fan and when I heard they are now doing the Voyage of the Dawn treader I was excited beyond belief.
      Aaron Roadnight

  5. NarnianElf says:

    Hey, I was on the next entry about the Dufflepuds and it wouldn't let me post a comment. Can anybody help me figure it out?

  6. LL says:

    I'm more excited now than ever!!

  7. Doris Hicks says:

    I have loved everyone of these movies so far; and I am very excited about the Voyage of the dawn treader. I hope they do a sequel on each one of the books that CS Lewis wrote. The first two movies where very heart touching; good family films that I would like to see more of. I love Aslan;he is a very beautiful creature in the movie; and Liam Neeson's voice is so beautiful in this movie; they chose the right person for the voice of Aslan.
    I have just recently heard about the loss of his Lovely Wife (Natasha) of whom we all loved so dearly!! My heart and prayers go out to him and his family for their loss!! She will be greatly missed by us all!!!!!!!

  8. Miss Polly Plummer says:

    Everything that I've been hearing aout Voyoge of the Dawn Treader seems to be exactly what I wanted to hear!(Except that I'm a little confused about Gael and I hav'nt heard anything about Ramundous daughter!)

  9. inkweaver says:

    the movies are just crap when compared with the books

  10. terebinthiangirl says:

    Ohhh, i'm so glad everything looks good. I'm excited to see just how much, if at all, Apted changed or added things to Narnia. It sounds like he really has kept with the old narnia, if not made it better, which isn't a hard thing to do being the film that follows Prince Caspian LOL

  11. ExtremeFan says:

    OMG! that's soo amazingg!! I wish i were there guyzz!

  12. Lady Polly says:

    i can't wait to see the voyage of the dawn treader

  13. The narniad says:

    YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!! I'm so EXCITEDDDDD!!!!!!!! XD XD XD
    I'm so pleased that the film looks encouraging and that it doesn't appear that they've changed our beloved Narnia! I'm so HAPPPPYYYYYYYY!!!!! I LOVE MICHAEL ATPED AND FOX FOR SAVING NARNIAAA!!! Now all they have to do is convince me that reepicheep's new voice will be as good as the old one…

  14. Jill Pole says:

    Oohmoohgoosh, you guys! THis is going to be totally AWESOME!

  15. Year it will be toatly badass and will pawn alot of other movies i went and say the set a WBMW movie world so year it will be pro or every new hit

  16. narniamaniac says:

    Oh my goodness! That is SO exciting!!! I can't wait for the movie to come out. From the report, it sounds like it's going to be really good. We're getting further up and further in, and I'm looking forward to the end result!

  17. I am personally sooooooooooooooooo excited. I want to have a comment-discussion though on Ramandu and his daughter. I think that that is the most and main puzzling part of the movie. I REALLY want to see it.

  18. Rebekah says:

    This movie is going to be AWESOME!! this is my favorite book in the series. i'm pretty sure they are keeping the line where Aslan says " in your world i am known by another name" which is awesome!!

    • narnia-crazy says:

      OH MY GOSH thats my favorite too i LOVE voyage of the dawn treader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • QueenLucy12 says:

        I HOPE They Keep that line in the movie!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Casue till the end says:

        I like that line too. But what was Aslan's resoning behind sending Lucy and Edmund back without a return invitation, when they are like 3 or 4 years younger than Peter and Susan were? What the frigerator is going on?

  19. narnia-crazy says:

    I have been the Hugest fan of the books AND the movies WOW i CANNOT believe they're coming out with this dawn treader movie im sure its gonna be AMAZING and i CANNOT WAIT to see it

  20. QueenLucy12 says:

    question Who is Gael??? she wasnt in the book??????

    • Casue till the end says:

      The girl who plays her is like 7 me thinks. No she was not in the book, but neither was Caspian and Susan love. have you seen how much fanfiction that has created? i have like 20 stories out there! plus the storming of the castle which was awesome was not in book. So lets just see wat the writers give us. 🙂

  21. Casue till the end says:

    OMG I made a smiley face 🙂 🙁 😉

  22. Casue till the end says:

    :p

  23. Casue till the end says:

    Ok…… that did not work but you get the messge me hopes

  24. Casue till the end says:

    Helllllllllllloooooooooooooooo?

  25. Jeditrojan says:

    229 days away! Can't wait to see the movie!

  26. Tzipporah says:

    I wonder if Gael is that Sea shepherdess at the end of the book…???

  27. cat burgalar says:

    : )

  28. cat burgalar says:

    Someone hoped Aslan's "know me by another name" line is in the film. "Christianity Today" has confirmed "yes" on their site based on info from the same conference that the writer went to.

  29. DP Cari says:

    I just CAN'T wait for VDT! I hope it will be as good as the book!

  30. King Frank says:

    I'm very glad to see they kept the "In your world I have another name" line from Aslan. I will say here that I know exactly who our world's Aslan is and I have a personal relationship with Him.

  1. March 2, 2010

    […] panel discussions plus footage from the upcoming Dawn Treader film directed by Michael Apted. Tirian from NarniaWeb attended and reports back: Michael Apted … shared that this is a very character-driven film and that it is not going to […]