Episode 80: ‘Dawn Treader’ Film Analysis, Part 7

Running time: 56 minutes

Rilian and Dr. Ransom discuss the climax of the film with the Dawn Treader’s encounter with Dark Island and the sea serpent. Leaving aside the discussion of the undragonning until the next episode, Ransom and Rilian come at this scene with passion, energy and (naturally) silliness.

Retraction: In this episode, Rilian and Ransom mistakenly assume that Lucy replies to the MLG with “I want to be just like you” when in actuality her response is closer to “I think you should be just like you.” Due to the film no longer showing in our local theatres, we depend more and more upon memories and our notes as to what was said and done, and alas, these methods are not foolproof. We apologize for the error and will be using the DVD when it comes out to refresh our memories.

41 Responses

  1. Twinimage says:

    Good Jimmy Stewart impression.
    And yes, Mega Mind is probably better than VDT (the movie). lol
    Man, it's surprising how many things in VDT (the movie) don't make sense till you start listing them. The dark island climax probably has the greatest number of things that don't make sense or are unexplained. Such as Eustace being teleported back and forth; to the island and then in the water.

  2. WillowofNarnia says:

    Hmmmm….."What's with the I want to be like you thing?"….Not a very good way to start this off I think. This is the first one that I have started listening to and that doesn't leave a very good impression. I liked that part of the movie a lot and I don't like anyone making fun of it or Narnia. πŸ™ I mean no offence, but I am not a book stickler, but I AM a Narnia stickler. I will defend it no matter what. πŸ™‚ So watch out Narniaweb! Because Willow is here! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›

  3. WillowofNarnia says:

    Seriously, if no one liked the movie than why are these people making podcasts of it? What are you all even on here? Narnia is a story! Not a book or a movie, but a story! All movies have glitches, but gosh! Leave it alone!

  4. Lucy didn't say "I want to be just like you."! She said "When you grow up, you should be just like you."!!

  5. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    great podcast dudes. I LMAO many times- great jimmy stewart imp. also! I wonder if you all at narniaweb realize it was a stated goal at the beginning of the movies to secularize them and bring narnia to a wider audience than just the "smaller" christian community. some early collaborators then dropped out of the project in dismay. While I understand that tactic, I think after Passion of the Christ blew everyting else out of the water, they should have realigned their strategy and gone full force, heavy duty christian theme and them galvanized the community. they would have made a LOT more money that way, I think, with over a billion christians on the planet.
    So what yo u are left with is a secular version of a christian property. The only way to strip it of it's christian thought is to make it all about self empowerment, etc. The non chrtistian community would not have even understood it if it was grace based. Most narniaweb commenters are thinking they dont understand the books, or they didin't get it right. No- they very well understand what they are doing, they are INTENTIONALLY stripping it of it's underlying christian theme. And they are trying to throw the christian fanbase a bone here and there- like the albatross- but with no further development. It was not a cruel joke, but a shoutout to the book fans. (and i felt that same thrill when i saw the albatross, then whaaaaa?? where'd he go?)
    everything in the rewrites is to appeal to the secular audience, but it sure is hard to make it make sense without god, eh?
    as one who knew nothing of narnia until the movies, it DID introduce me to the books. so i am greatful for that, at least.
    May you stay between the paws of the great ASLAN.

  6. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    NAH, she said, when i am done being susan , i will next be the MLG. πŸ˜‰

  7. That WAS a joke, right? Because trust me she did say you should be just like you.

  8. Hmm, if Lucy did say that, I did indeed misquote it in the podcast. However, the points still remain that it was an "in case of sentimental-moment-needed, break glass" scenario. What was the reason for Lucy saying that? Shouldn't she instead remind the MLG that they should each try to be like a Somebody greater than themselves? Again we find the very "safe" movie-message that you should "be yourself" (as opposed to, ya know, all those people insisting aloud that you "be someone else").

  9. LMFAO I was cracking up by the end! xD And doctor I will attempt to photoshop that Eustace photo!

  10. I really have no idea why I did this…. At least I got better at Photoshop. It's still not as good as it could have been.

  11. Arvan says:

    Ummm, no; Narnia is a series of books. The movies are adaptations of those books. They don't have any business making big changes.

  12. Not sure what you mean by that, Willow; can you clarify? The only way we know about the "Narnia" stories is through the books. So to say something like "the books don't matter; only the Narnia stories matter" doesn't make sense. πŸ™‚

    Also, sure, all people also have "glitches" β€” sins, really) β€” but we all find fault with others and they find fault with us (often rightfully!) do we not?

    I hope you remember what I said at the end. Neither of us (and I think I can speak for GlumPuddle here) wanted to dislike the film. We wanted so badly for it to be done better. But if we are honest with ourselves and each other, we just can't pretend it was anything other than horribly flawed.

  13. Arvan says:

    This podcast had me cracking up out loud. Rilian, your Jimmy Stewart impressions are hilarious. This whole podcast made me happy, despite the depressing subject.

    P.S., as confused as you were about the Lucy/Gael dialog, it made for a great conversation.

    Let me just say: the best podcasts are the long ones! I like it when you have 45-60 minute podcasts. Keep it up!

  14. Arvan says:

    Someone should Photoshop Jimmy Stewart onto the Dawn Treader!

  15. Serenia says:

    Great podcast, as usual! Thanks, guys!

  16. Non-negotiable Comment says:


    Why criticize?

    Criticism, while unpleasant (if one is emotionally attached to the subject or position under scrutiny), serves a useful purpose. In this case, it is the hope of those of us who clearly value the books more than you do, Willow, that the subsequent film adaptations (if there are any) will represent Mr. Lewis' vision in a considerably more faithful, respectful, and passionate manner than the 'Dawn Treader' film has. Thus, a critical analysis is required, so that the numerous, heinous flaws of 'Dawn Treader' can be exposed and itemized, and our reasons for disliking the film can be tangibly addressed, and not dismissed as unsubstantiated complaining from "book purists". Although, I would have forgiven a lot of the fidelity related issues, had it only been a good FILM. That's the problem: it was neither faithful to its origins, nor cinematically noteworthy in ANY way. The first two films were also flawed, but they were also far more ambitious, and they realized a lot more of their potential. They didn't always succeed, but they TRIED. "Book purist", though I may be, I really liked both of them as films. Mostly. 'Dawn Treader' was all about AVOIDING, not TRYING.

    As Dr. Ransom stated, I can't believe that anyone here WANTED to hate this film. I drove over an hour in one of the worst blizzards I've ever seen to be there on opening night. We criticize this film because it is an AWFUL adaptation of a great book. It was an opportunity wasted, at the time when the franchise needed a stellar effort. Not a safe, half-hearted, mediocre kiddie movie, replete with humanist platitudes. We want the films to be better than this. It is our belief that the CAN be.

    That's why.

  17. Roger says:

    Great podcast. You did misquote Lucy, but it is still corny. If you had seen the movie more than once you would have noticed even more. I am glad you pointed out Lucy saying "We did it." This follows from much of the rest of the film with Aslan having a diminished role. The other point that bothers me in this part of the movie is where at Aslan's Table it is Edmund noticing the stone knife. Edmund may have never seen the stone knife; it was Lucy that was at the Stone Table. In the book Lucy noticing the stone knife gives some nice closure to the Stone Table scene in LWW. We were robbed of that. Georgie Henley was denied a chance to stretch here. She could have given us a great moment in the film if the screenwriters had done a better job.

  18. Lil says:

    I loved it!! Great job!

  19. Louloudi the Centaur says:

    Just a note about Caspian and the cheering: In a deleted scene "Mutiny", similar to Ramandu's Island in the book, the crew doesn't want to continue East. Caspian reminds them the mission is to continue East, but they refuse, and Drinian comes to the rescue. Caspian was obviously surprised the crew listened to him before the Dark Island.

    The not living up to my father thing is getting old. Just saying.

    No matter how many times any Narnia fan says it or who says it, but the White Witch has to go away! Bringing her back lessens Aslan's power, and she's just getting annoying. She's even on one of the DVD disks.

    The sea serpent was amazing and frightening, actually the first Narnia creature to scare me since Otmin the Minotaur when I was eight, but I just have a feeling we will be seeing an awfully familiar serpent in The Silver Chair if it ever gets made. What makes me say this is some green mist leaked out of it when it was destroyed, and a lot of people think it might be a certain witch…

    Okay, of all the lost Lords that should have been looked after from Dragondeath to Dark Island, it should have been Rhoop.Living in pure evil for years, he must be traumatized. Besides, I don't think much can be done for Octesian at this point.

    Why does Rhindon glow? Hmm… Well the Seven Swords glow as well. I realized these Swords were gifts of Aslan, and Rhindon was sort of a gift from Aslan(I know Father Christmas handed them out). Maybe? Nah,go with J.R.R. Tolkien.

    The green mist's anatomy confuses me. It's misty,or something, yet can try to lift solid objects. Hey, I just realized the mist tempts people into evil, and maybe it was trying to get Eustace to convert back to his obnoxious ways.

    Scroll down to see differences between editions.

    This is off topic, but I had a strange Narnia dream. In the dream, my copies of all seven books were laid on a table. They were all in great condition, except for The Silver Chair. Its cover and a few pages were ripped out, and the page up front was the Pauline Baynes illustration of Jill and Eustace. Could this be a sign? Maybe a sign a movie adaption would be terrible? Interpretations?

  20. Fire Fairy says:

    Okay, I really have to say something. I've been in a screenwriting class this semester, and one of the biggest things they taught us is that our protagonists have to be *active*. They can't just be reactive, with things happening to them and them reacting to what's happening. They have to actively make decisions that move the plot along. So I was thinking, since this was pounded into our heads as one of the screenwriting basics, could that perhaps be the reason Aslan was neglected so much? Perhaps the screenwriters felt He was "robbing" the protagonists of their ability to make active decisions. Perhaps that's the reason the movie started to stink of humanism. I'm not saying I'm agreeing with what they did with the characters. In fact, I would much rather they tried their best to keep Aslan as the one making all the decisions. Maybe if they had regarded Aslan as the protagonist, everything would have gone much smoother. Thoughts?

  21. Interesting point, Fire Fairy. But the characters have to make a constant decision throughout the books, which is to follow Aslan. And following Him can often be the hardest thing they have to do. It will go against all their own judgements over what they think should be done, and it's not at all easy to just let that go and try to trust. That's something we can all relate to (at least, I know I can!)
    Something I love about the Chronicles is that none of the characters can do anything of worth on their own, but Aslan is, like a potter, shaping them all into vessels that have a use. Aslan didn't make choices for anyone, but he pointed the characters in the direction he would have them go and let them choose if they would listen to him or not. There are many instances in the book in which the characters let other voices tell them what to do (for example, Lucy and the beauty spell), so the characters definitely have the power to make the decisions.
    It's a difficult thing, because it's not Aslan who goes on the 'quest', so I'm not sure if he could be portrayed as the protagonist. I'm probably not the best judge on this 'active/reactive' business, but the filmmakers definitely needed to find a way to incorporate Aslan into the film more. Humanism goes against everything the Chronicles is trying to say, and the last two films did well despite Aslan having a fairly prominent role. If leaving humanism out of this film was too hard, they shouldn't have made the film.

  22. When I first saw the film, I actually didn't think it was too bad… then I started listening to these podcasts! I've been forced to realise just how bad the adaptation was, and even though it's been really painful coming to see this, I wouldn't have stopped listening to these podcast thingummies for anything.
    Even though the film is obviously a painful subject for you guys… man, you're hilarious! You had me in stitches today! So even though you've made me pretty sad about the film, thanks for another hilarious podcast! Images of orcs climbing up the ship… or maybe Edmund was holding Bringr? Who knows…

  23. Narniapinoy says:

    This is why I don't want to listen to the podcast here in NW it is full of negativity (Starting he production of VDT) I can only see a one sided podcast. sad….

  24. Lucy Took says:

    The sea serpent looked like Doctor Who meets PotC. I think there was a smidge of Narnia in there,but I had to look for it.

    I started humming the Doctor Who baseline when it came up(on the DVD) and my brother got it within seconds and started humming the melody.

    Somehow that moment was more fun than the actual scene in the movie…

  25. Arvan says:

    Turn off the news when you don't like what you see…

  26. HisWarrior says:

    Okay, I'm just here to throw this in… Edmund, Lucy, and Caspian really do think that it was Aslan that helped him. I recently watched the movie again after listening to this podcast, and specifically watched for that scene. When Edmund says "I don't think it was us", there is about a seconds pause, and then Caspian goes "Do you think….?", then the camera focuses on Eustace. They were letting us fill in the last word, but they were not thinking that it was all Eustace.

  27. Narniapinoy says:

    Arvan it's just really too much for me here in narnia web it's overwhelming hate coming from the major players here in Narniaweb really. It's a film analysis, not hate analysis theΓ½ have to balance good and bad but it seem they overwhelm with hate. Look to other narnia sites it's balance. For me Narniaweb if full of hate, not that I hate this site I'm just disappointed thats all. This such a downer for all the fans. πŸ™

  28. Not Of This World says:

    LOL! Best Jimmy Stewart impression ever! Great podcast, guys! I amj ebjoying them!

  29. Arvan says:

    Go to NarniaFans. It's perfect for you; anyone there who criticizes VDT gets flamed.

    Just so you know, the podcasters liked things about VDT too, and they talk about it. Thing is, they're outweighed by things we don't like.

  30. Arvan says:

    With that kind of filmography, it's obvious that they're talking about Eustace, whether we want that to be true or not. You don't deliberately angle on a character when you're alluding to another.

  31. Warrior 4 Jesus says:

    Dr. Ransom and Rilian, this was fantastic! That's probably the most fun I've had listening to a NarniaWeb podcast. Hope I can join you guys again soon. Been rather busy of late. Keep up the good work.

  32. Narniapinoy says:

    Arvan it seems that your too bitter with NarniaFans. Maybe the right action is to ignore the super nega people starting with you Arvan. ^^

  33. Narniapinoy, it sounds like you believe those who disliked much of the movie went in *wanting* to have that reaction. πŸ™‚ Of course, that's not the case at all, and if you were listening to the whole podcast you might hear where, even for this part of the film, Rilian and I were pointing out the things we did like. However, in response it seems like many are opting for personal attacks. Why?

    Can you show us how we have misunderstood the film, as others have (including those who rightly pointed out our inaccuracy about what Lucy said to the MLG)? If so, please try that instead. But as it is, the points about the Evil Green MistΒ­β„’ not even making sense *internally* still stand β€” much less the way the film *rejected* the book's fantastic themes of seeking honor, adventure and Aslan's Country, and replaced them with inferior, humanistic be-who-you-are-inside cliches. πŸ™

  34. Arvan says:

    I choose to ignore that comment.

  35. Arvan says:

    Ransom, you're right. I actually thought I'd enjoy VDT. I defended it against a lot of people, until I watched it.

  36. Benjamin says:

    Best podcast yet I do believe, hilarious and fun!
    And Rilian the best Jimmy Stewart impression I have heard!

  37. Pattertwigs Pal says:

    I absolutely loved the part about the orcs / Tolkien. The end was pretty funny too. I think Ed's sword was glowing because the seven swords like Rhindon were from the Golden Age of Narnia. At least Bern said that was when the seven were from. Maybe Aslan made all of them?

    I just watch the movie with some friends you have not read the book. One immediately made the connection to Ghostbusters.

  38. Rilian says:

    I agree with what you're saying (that's one of my main complaints with Eragon). The solution was not to dilute Aslan though. Think of The Lord of the Rings. To an extent, there is a real aspect of destiny and providence (Gollum destroying the ring at the end for example after being spared by Frodo). But the characters in LotR are hardly reactive.

  39. Rilian says:


    I suggest you listen to our analysis of LWW and PC. The majority is positive. We're being honest. If you listen to the episode before this one, I offer a negative view of Reep in VDT, and Gymfan offers a positive view.

  40. Not Of This World says:

    I know how the people in the boats captured by the green mist ate! One peron's worst fear was fishing tackle, another person's was a gormet sea food chef, and another persons fear was a stove! πŸ™‚

  41. Rosieforaday says:

    Probably one of the funniest of the narniaweb council episodes I've listened to. Rofl!
    as a young Christian filmmaker studying the craft, it is very helpful to hear critiques of WHY a film didn't work (whether it be Narnia or a non-book-based movie) and the worldview behind it. Thank you so much, Dr. Ransom and Rillian.

    @Lucy Took- TOTATLLY. Absolutly. That was more an alien than a sea serpent. Where's the Doctor when you need him? πŸ˜€