Don’t worry, for my first serious post, I’m not going to go TOO deep. I actually wanted to take the time to do something I’ve been wanting to do for the past month but couldn’t really squeeze it in with all the 25 Days stuff I had going on. I want to write a couple reviews. First a book review, and then a movie review!
I read a book. That fact alone should absolutely amaze you, since I haven’t had time for leisurely reading, well, all year! But during November, I grabbed some spare moments when I couldn’t edit pictures to read Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Josh had borrowed it from a friend, and I decided I would go ahead and read it before we gave it back so that I wouldn’t have to track down a copy later. Since I have already returned the book, I’m not going to be able to reference it, so this review is going to be based off of my memories of the book. I’m not going to go into a super great amount of detail, because I feel like there is another blog that has pretty much summed up my feelings about this book much better than I could! Check out Lacey Keigley’s review if you’re really interested – she pretty much covers all the bases as far as how I feel about Chan’s writing style, why I waited so long to read it, and she even throws in some nice quotes from the book, so I’m guessing she still had it in her possession when she wrote the review! (I don’t know Lacey personally, I just stalk, I mean follow, her blog.) But there are a couple of things I would like to point out about the book:
First, I really recommend treating it more like a study than a book. Because of the places I was reading it (doctor’s waiting rooms, at church while waiting on Ava’s Christmas rehearsal, so late at night I didn’t have the energy to pick up a pen, etc.), I just had to read through it, like I would a novel. There were SO MANY moments where I thought “Oh, I wish I had my prayer journal so I could jot that down, because I know I’m going to forget it.” I know a lot of people actually go through this book as a part of a small group Bible study, and that’s great! But even if you don’t, I do recommend having a notebook on hand to jot thoughts and quotes down. And don’t pressure yourself to read through it really fast, give yourself time for reflection. I most certainly wouldn’t read more than a chapter a day.
Second, I would like to write down my biggest “take away,” or application, that I have from this book, just as much for me than anyone else since I didn’t write it in my prayer journal and am liable to forget! So this is what I learned, or was reminded of, from Crazy Love:
~ Our Christian culture here is very comfortable. We’ve managed to integrate the “American dream” with our Christian values, and we’ve come up with this idea of what Christianity looks like….but it is not a biblical ideal.
~ True Christians don’t do anything halfway for God.
~ Following God’s guidance is going to make you look crazy. Period. Also, the people that are most likely to criticize you and pull you down when you try to follow God are other Christians, or “Christians.” To follow God, you have to be prepared to look crazy to everyone, including the people you go to church with!
There are a whole lot of other nuggets of truth in this book, but these are the main things that have stuck with me. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I think it is good reading for all Christians; it is thought provoking and challenging. Although his writing style is not my favorite, the meat in this book was good enough I think there is a good chance I will be one day reading another one of Mr. Chan’s books.
OK, now on to the movie review!
I saw a movie in the theater. Josh and I do this once a year, so it is kind of a big deal. Between the outrageous cost to see a movie in the theater, the difficulties of arranging a babysitter, and the fact that they just don’t put many good movies out anymore, we have chosen to be very rare frequenters of movie theaters.
BUT, there is an exception to every rule, and anyone who knows me well knows that The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is going to be an exception for me! If you don’t know me that well, The Chronicles of Narnia (the books by C.S. Lewis) were a staple for me growing up. While other kids were reading Berenstein Bears, I was reading Narnia, and before I could read, my parents were reading them to me! I love the stories, the characters, and the spiritual lessons that are taught in the meantime. Several low budget film versions of Narnia have been made through the years, but Walden Media is the first company I know of to attempt to try to put out a high quality movie based on each book. They did a great job with the first two books/films, and I was very ready to see what they would do with the third book! So, after that especially long intro, here is my review of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!
Overall, I found the movie to be well made, and, although there were discrepancies between the book and the movie, there was nothing that took away from the spirit or themes of the book. A lot of the islands and occurrences in the book were re-arranged or combined in the movie, mainly I think so that it would fit into a 2 hour movie! (For example: the island that Eustace became a dragon on was made to be the same island where the water turned things into gold.) There was also a major plot point added that is not in the book at all: the evils/sins of the sea was personified in a green mist (think LOST monster), and the crew was not only trying to rescue the 7 lords, but they were also trying to rescue people who had been “fed” to the green mist. Consequently, the island where nightmares come true (which is where these additional prisoners were being held) was placed after Ramundu’s island, the sea serpent was also saved until then to be used as a climax, and Eustace retained his dragon form until this last battle that was created with the new plot point. Not really necessary changes, but they weren’t that bad. (In case you’re super-picky, in the movie they were trying to collect the 7 swords of the lords in order to rescue the sleeping ones on Ramandu’s island, and that was not in the book at all. The ship had to meerly sail to the edge of the world and leave someone behind in order to release the enchantments.)
Some of the major pros in the movie were the casting of Eustace (they picked an excellent actor and I look forward to seeing him in a much larger role in the 4th movie), the Pevensie children were excellent, as always, and the line at the end of the book that is so vital to the whole series was put in the movie verbatim. (Lucy asks Aslan if he is in her world, too, and he says, “I am, but there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name.” And yes, I looked that up.) I also thought that the movie was much more kid/family friendly than Prince Caspian. (Caspian had several graphic battle scenes that I think are a little much for small children, but Dawn Treader’s violence is pretty much limited to the battle with the sea serpent.)
Really, the 4th book is my favorite, so I’m not sure what excites me more: getting to see the third one, or the fact that the next movie to be made is The Silver Chair!
ANYWAY, if you just waded through all that Narniac nerdy-ness, all that goes to say that if you have money burning a hole in your pocket and want to see a movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has my seal of approval. But don’t take the movies for this series in place of the books; you really need to read them.