So there I was, sitting in my seat at the theater awaiting the start of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third film in the series. As I tore open the plastic bag containing a set of 3D glasses, I came to a worrying realization: Although I remembered greatly enjoying the previous “Narnia” film, “Prince Caspian,” I had by now forgotten just about everything concerning the plot and the characters. Would that mean I would be lost watching this new film? Fantasies are a great cinematic distraction, but if they’re part of an epic series released over several years, keeping track of key events can be next to impossible. To my surprise and relief, the film makes the occasional reference to previous events but doesn’t dwell upon them. In other words, I was allowed to forget the previous films, sit back, and immerse myself in nearly two hours of pure entertainment.
Adapted from the novel by C.S. Lewis, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” begins with a painting that gushes water into a bedroom and ends with a battle between a ship and a sea serpent; in between, we encounter fairy tale creatures, witness acts of magic, and follow the leads on a quest to save Narnia – and themselves – from slave trading and the forces of darkness. I guess what I’m saying is that this movie is a fun, exciting, great-looking fantasy adventure that adults and children will enjoy. That it has joined the 3D bandwagon is really of no concern to me, since the process is now about as commonplace as drive-in theaters were fifty years ago. See it in that format if that’s what you prefer. I personally think everyone would be much better off saving themselves a couple of bucks and sticking to traditional 2D.
At the beginning of the film, we find the youngest Pevensie siblings, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), spending the summer holiday with their uncle and insufferable cousin, Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter), who does nothing but complain, complain, complain. Their older siblings, Susan and Peter (cameos by Anna Popplewell and William Moseley), have matured enough to start living their own lives; Susan in particular has joined her parents on a trip to America. Thanks to a painting of a ship at sea, Edmund, Lucy, and cousin Eustace are transported back to Narnia where they board the Dawn Treader and reunite with King Caspian (Ben Barnes, who seems to have forgotten the Spanish accent he used in the previous film) and the swashbuckling talking mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg).
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.
Since the Pevensies have been well established, let’s focus on Eustace. Say the word “Eustace” – does it not sound an awful lot like “useless”? At the start, he’s exactly that. But then he goes through ... a transformation, and by the end of the film, he proves himself more useful than most of the other characters combined. He initially has a contentious relationship with Reepicheep, who continuously taunts him for his profound lack of adventure and skill. In due time, they will become friends, which is just about right for this kind of film. As for Poulter’s performance, he has the whiny, stuck up, snot-nosed twit stereotype down to a tee.
There’s an unfortunate tendency for fantasy epics – especially ones adapted from books – to be so overloaded with material that they alienate general audiences and appeal only to those intimately familiar with their sources. 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. This includes people like me, people who like a film at the moment it’s being watched but don’t necessarily retain any information about them.
It has been many years since I’ve read the first “Narnia” book; and I honestly cannot say whether I’ve read the second or third books since then. Well, quite honestly, I never became such a big fan of the books or the film. I thought they were decent films with gorgeous set designs and CGI effects that bring the fantasy world to life. This third installment “Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” does try to re-vitalize the franchise after the much … more
I have never read The Chronicles of Narnia but after watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I considered myself a fan all the same, for I was enchanted by the world of Narnia. Though Prince Caspian, the second installment in the film franchise, was no where near as captivating as the first, it did not dampen my enthusiasm for the stories of Narnia, and so when I sat down in the theatre for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with my 3D glasses on and popcorn (already in my mouth), I was anticipating … more
Despite all of the unnecessary additions made to Disney's adaptation of C.S. Lewis' wonderful Prince Caspian, I enjoyed that film quite a bit. I personally believe that the alterations made to some of the characters, specifically Peter, took away from the overall feel of the film. When I learned that Disney had dumped the franchise after Prince Caspian's poor (at least to them) performance, I was actually quite happy. I enjoy many of Disney's … more
Just in time for the holidays, the third chapter in the highly successful Narnia series sails onto big screens with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley reprise their roles as Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. The film opens in England during World War II and focuses the young siblings are waiting out the war with relatives, while their older siblings are across the Atlantic in America. Constantly berated and harassed by their cousin Eustace, played with convincing brattiness … more
I should get my biases out of the way: I am a big 'Narnia' fan, both of the books, and, so far, of the movies. The best measuring stick that the latter is up to par as a medium is to determine whether or not the celluloid versions provide a fluid and engaging adventure, and, if the movie offering retains a good measure of charm the books elicit. Now for 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,' there seemed to be plenty of both. 'Prince … more
The third film in The Chronicles of Narnia is a departure from its previous installments. The series has a new director and a new studio. This means that there is a distinct shift in focus from action and visual effects to adventure and characterization. Despite numerous deviations from C.S. Lewis' novel, I really enjoyed the third Narnia film and found this to be a great improvement over 2008's Prince Caspian. The director and screenwriters have wisely chosen to abridge the novel and modify … more
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is an upcoming 3D fantasy-adventure film based on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third published novel in C.S. Lewis's epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. It is third in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walden Media. It will be distributed by 20th Century Fox, the first in the series not to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and the first to be released in 3D.
The two younger Pevensies, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), are staying with their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). They find themselves drawn into a painting of an old ship, where they join the new King of Narnia, King Caspian (Ben Barnes).
The film will premiere on November 30, 2010 in Digital 3D at the Royal Film Performance and will have its wide theatrical release in traditional 2D, RealD 3D and Digital 3D in the United States on December 10, 2010.