December 10, 2010
Review - " Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader "
(in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Directed by: Michael Apted
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will
Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Laura Brent
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is
the third film in the franchise based on the classic CS Lewis
books, and it’s not as horrible as some have made it out to be.
It's just that compared to that other children’s film juggernaught
(Harry Potter), the Narnia franchise pales in comparison in just
about every category.
As far as stories go, there’s nothing particularly special about this
one. The two younger Pevensie kids, Edmund (Skandar Keynes)
and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are back (with their older siblings
relegated to cameos), as well as Prince (now King) Caspian from
the previous film (Ben Barnes). The only notable addition is the
(pardon me) butt ugly and extremely annoying cousin of the
children, Eustace (played pretty well by Will Poulter).
For some reason, the three kids are once again transported to
the magical world of Narnia, aboard Caspian’s ship, the Dawn
Treader. There are villains and there are missing people, desert
islands, dragons, sea monsters and glowing swords (all done with
wonderful special effects) — and of course, that God-like lion,
Aslan — but despite all these things, Dawn Treader never felt like
it really got off the ground. It’s okay — not exactly boring but the
excitement factor isn’t particularly high either. It’s not fair to say
that this film is derivative or unoriginal (considering it is based on
a book written in 1950), but it did feel like I had seen it all before.
Caspian’s mission is to seek out the Seven Lost Lords of Narnia. The Pevensies are happy to tag along, but Eustace is not;
he’s far too rational and proper to believe that a magical world could ever exist. As he continues to make life difficult for
everyone, the “Dawn Treader” sails from one island to the next claiming the swords of the Lost Lords with the intent of
gathering them at the table of the great lion Lord Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson). Our intrepid leads will engage in a number
of harrowing adventures, including encounters with a band of slave traders, one-legged troll creatures, a pond that turns
ordinary objects into gold, an evil green mist, and a dark island that can bring to life one’s darkest fears. Caspian and the
Pevensies will have to resist temptation numerous times along the way; Lucy must not wish herself as beautiful as her sister,
Edmund must not hunger for more power, and Caspian must not think he was a disappointment to his father. I especially
liked the way each character's inner demons were portrayed, particularly Edmund's (you'd think he'd just remember the
lessons from their previous journeys).
What I’ve been enjoying about
the “Narnia” films is that, while
all connected by recurring
characters and themes, each
chapter is generally self
contained. “The Voyage of
the Dawn Treader” could
have easily existed within a
closed universe,defined by a
plot that only an elite few
would understand or care
about. Fortunately, director
Michael Apted and writers
Christopher Markus, Stephen
McFeely, and Michael Petroni
had all audiences in mind.
It was better than Prince
Capsian, but on the whole,
Dawn Treader was only a
sliver above average.