It has been ten days since The Voyage of the Dawn Treader opened world-wide—on December 10, 2010—and in that time it has garnered much media coverage. All things Lewis, Narnia, and Aslan have been in the news as a result.
The movie has received somewhat lukewarm reviews, holding a 49% on the Rotten Tomatoes movie aggregate site (meaning that it received 49% positive reviews from critics). The consensus, according to the website, is that, “[The movie’s] leisurely, businesslike pace won’t win the franchise many new fans, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader restores some of the Narnia franchise’s lost luster with strong performances and impressive special effects.”
However, the movie has fared considerably better in its audience ratings, scoring 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Internet Movie Database displays a customer reviewer average of 6.8 out of 10. Even the Queen of England braved a cold climate in order to see the movie.
Whenever Narnia is the topic of conversation, Aslan inevitably comes to mind, and, fittingly, he has been in the news too. At the Smithsonian National Zoo, a naming event was hosted for their new lion cub. When actors from the Narnia movies showed up for the event, there was little doubt left as to what lion’s name would be. The zoo director had this to say, “The fictional Aslan is wise, fearless and regal. The real-life Aslan will play a key role in conservation as an ambassador for his species.”
In a related story, actor Liam Neeson (who voices Aslan in the movies) has stirred up a lot of controversy recently when he had this to say about the character: “Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries…. That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.” Walter Hooper, a trustee for Lewis’s estate, replied, “It is nothing whatever to do with Islam. Lewis would have simply denied that. He wrote that ‘the whole Narnian story is about Christ’. Lewis could not have been clearer.”
Despite this story, the publicity is probably good for Dawn Treader, which underperformed at the box office compared to its two prequels. Grossing only $24 million on its opening weekend, the film did manage to find more success overseas. In the days since its release, it has raked in a total of over $166 million.
The movie’s box office performance has led to much speculation concerning the franchise’s future. Subsequent films, of course, depend on the success of their prequels.
Do you have any thoughts or sentiments on the movie or the series’ somewhat precarious future? Or Liam Neeson’s comment about Aslan and Mohammed? Please leave any comments below!