Filming of the next installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, has kicked off:

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third in the epic series of films based on the bestselling books by C.S. Lewis, will begin principal photography on location in Queensland, Australia, today – July 27, 2009. The production, a joint venture between Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Walden Media, continues the franchise which commenced with the spectacular, Oscar®-winning 2005 release, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and its 2008 follow-up, “Prince Caspian,” whose combined global boxoffice gross tops $1.2 billion.

This time around – Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their pesky cousin Eustace Scrubb – find themselves swallowed into a painting and on to a fantastic Narnian ship headed for the very edges of the world.

Joining forces once again with their royal friend Prince Caspian and the warrior mouse Reepicheep, they are whisked away on a mysterious mission to the Lone Islands, and beyond. On this bewitching voyage that will test their hearts and spirits, the trio will face magical Dufflepuds, sinister slave traders, roaring dragons and enchanted merfolk. Only an entirely uncharted journey to Aslan’s Country – a voyage of destiny and transformation for each of those aboard the Dawn Treader – can save Narnia, and all the astonishing creatures in it, from an unfathomable fate.

Emphasis mine.  Dawn Treader is one of my favorite books of the entire Narnia series, but I can tell you right here and now that I want nothing to do with the movie.  It seems quite apparent to me that the Narnia series is sliding steadily down the same slippery slope as did the Lord of the Rings franchise:  It’s not enough that the journey of the Treader toward the utmost East should be a thing of wonder for her crew and a sort of Pilgrim’s Progress for the toad Eustace.  No, instead the makers apparently feel compelled to punch it up by somehow tying the doom of Narnia itself to the voyage.  Perhaps Eustace will be required to throw Reepicheep into the Crack of Doom.  Or perhaps – a la George Lucas – there will be a heart-wrenching scene in which Caspian must confront his own Dark Side. 

Whatever the liberties taken, you can bet they’ll involve an awful lot of absolutely needless CGI…..