Usually, when I hear the words "faith-based" and "film" in the same sentence, I prepare myself for the worst. Since the publication of the Gutenberg Bible some 550 years ago, Christians have established themselves as being effective with the written word. But since the fiasco of the "Left Behind" movies, we have garnered a well-deserved reputation of being pretty crummy with film. (Side note: apparently the authors of the Left Behind books have given the green light for the films to be remade with a bigger budget. I'm not hopeful that they will improve things.)
The Narnia series has been a refreshing exception. Given the fact that C.S. Lewis' Narnia books are loved equally by people of faith and people without, they stood a much better chance for success.
While "Wardrobe" was a box office smash, "Prince Caspian" just barely got by. C.S. Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, was on the production team for "Dawn Treader" and worked diligently to make sure they honored the spirit of Lewis' books. You can read a great interview with him in Christianity Today about how he saw himself as the "policeman" on the set. Specifically, you can find out about some of the key scenes and the clear spiritual meaning behind them.
But you may not need to.
My daughter saw "Dawn Treader" this weekend and was overwhelmed by the clear Christian implications. It encouraged her faith and gave her a fresh perspective on many of the truths that she has previously embraced.
I don't want to sound a rallying cry here, but if we don't pay money to see well-made films with a message of hope and truth, then they will not be made. Because of "Treader's" mediocre opening weekend, Hollywood is watching to see if word of mouth will grow the audience next weekend. The prevailing theory is that most people will wait for the DVD.
If you see a movie this weekend, I encourage you to invest your time and money into Narnia. It represents the very best of what movies are all about.