Bringing the magic of Narnia to the screen always requires a ton of special effects, but the latest film in the franchise posed a new problem: “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is set at sea.
“I thought, ‘How are we going to make a movie on water?’ I took some advice from some colleagues who said ‘Never make a movie on water,’ so once we’d resolved that it became more manageable,” jokes director Michael Apted about a scene where the children meet Aslan in front of a huge tidal wave. “It’s such fast-moving technology. I don’t think we could have done the wave scene even 18 months ago. The technology for doing water has changed enormously.”
Voiced by Liam Neeson, Aslan continues to be a central character in “Dawn Treader.” “Aslan symbolizes a Christ-like figure,” says Neeson. “But for me, he also symbolizes Muhammad and Buddha, all the great prophets and spiritual leaders across the centuries. He’s a mentor for the kids, and a voice of reason.”
Neeson did most of his “acting” for this movie from behind a mic, while another actor held the lion head on set that would later be re-created by CGI. “It’s been frustrating to not be on location with these wonderful actors and director, but it works,” admits Neeson.