The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Reviews
This film, while following the 2nd film's coming of age aspects, foregoes many of the epic scenes of battle with all the cool creatures, and therefore becomes more human. Not to say the film is perfect, for there are some odd plot contrivances (for example, having the incompetent and trouble making Eustace included in all the ship's landing parties) and the type of ham fisted plot messages geared for the aforementioned 10 year old mentality, however, if you just check your brain at the door and watch the story unfold, I believe there is enough here to hold an adult's interest (though casting myself in that role may be suspect... LOL).
There are some delightful CGI moments, which make the hideously bad CGI that also fills the film so much more glaring. If you look at the all the scenes when the Dawn Treader arrives at the apparently abandoned city, you'll see bad mapping, terribly drawn, static backdrops, and some seriously bad staging once the city's denizens populate the town.
The acting throughout was respectable given the archetypes that had to be represented (and really, the mouse out acted all the real characters), and I really enjoyed the bratty performance of Eustace, who added a wonderful degree of adult levity with all this cynicism.
Unfortunately there is a plot device that comes at the beginning of the grand fight between goodness and evil, that you know you've seen before... yes, I'm talking about evil taking your worst thought and making it real - shades of Ghostbusters! It would have been hilarious to see the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man threatening the ship instead of the sea monster that was conjured out of Edmund's psyche (though I kind of enjoyed seeing a cameo appearance by the ice queen who, after Edmund complained that she was already dead, proclaimed "I'll never be truly dead as long as I exist in your mind"... pretty heady stuff when you think about it). I have to point out however that if you're thinking Ghostbusters rip-off, you may have it backwards - for C.S. Lewis penned The Dawn Treader decades before Ghostbusters.
In the end, this is miles away from Tolkien, but then again, the books are as well (closer to Potter actually, both in target audience and tone); and certainly there have been far worse films based on beloved children's books (The Gold Compass comes to mind).
A standard watch for me. Although visually Wowing I wasn't taken away. Books are always better but with the stunning trailer like that it had me thinking it was going to actually draw me into the world of "Narnia".
I think I enjoyed the old BBC version better but perhaps its because I saw it first, I don't know? It wasn't a drag but my bars were raised really high for this one, so raised.
Its not entirely bad, in fact it is a good sit through, but I guess I raised the bar too high. I have enjoyed my time through all adaptations and if they do make the next one I am willing to see it, actually I hope they do. So that's the end of my "Narnia" experience until there is another installment.
Director: Michael Apted
Summary: With their dour, bookish cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in tow, the youngest Pevensie offspring -- Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) -- take an unexpected trip back to Narnia and join noble King Caspian (Ben Barnes) for an epic high-seas adventure. Setting sail aboard the Dawn Treader, the young heroes head for the end of the world, determined to rescue seven once-powerful lords banished by Caspian's evil uncle.
My Thoughts: "I must admit, I missed Susan, Peter, and the White Witch. But the film was still enjoyable, even with some of the main characters missing. The adventure was not as great as the previous films, but still a solid third installment. Reepicheep's relationship with Eustace is very entertaining. They have quite the love and hate relationship. I suppose that is how the audience will feel with Eustace as well. You will dislike him at the start, but you will soon be cheering him on. The Narnia films are great for kids and adults alike. I must say though, I really do still love the first film much more then the last two films made. But this is a great addition to the previous flicks. See it if you enjoyed the other films before this one."
Otherwise it felt a bit like the Sinbad films for me, a great looking ship, plenty of creatures and traps and riddles to overcome before a big finale. The SFX are very good, especially for the green mist effects. Overall a great family adventure if not quite on the level as the first two in my opinion.
The relationship between Reepicheep (voice of Simon Pegg) and Eustace (Will Poutler) are funny and touching.
But alarmingly, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) seem to have deteriorated as actors. Some of their emotions are too forced which is a pity. Not sure why, as I would expect them to improve with each film as did the young cast of the Harry Potter movies.
Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
The third Narnia movie under the auspices of 20th Century Fox rather than Disney, adapts what may be the most popular of the Narnia novels, and the final one to involve any of the Pevensie children. And "adapt" is the right word, because the film takes some liberties with the book. The main one of these is a sensible one - a threat is introduced to provide a reason for the children to be there and to provide a more coherent link than the simple ongoing quest to find the missing Lords as per the book.
And underlying both book and film is the story of the redemption of Eustace Scrubb. Will Poulter as Eustace is a triumph - the boy is odious, but very, very human. Skandar Keynes is, unfortunately still underwhelming - I'm afraid I find his overstressed sibilants terribly distracting. Georgie Henley does better as Lucy although, again, I am possibly out of step with others in not finding her quite as wonderful as everyone else. Ben Barnes seems a little more at ease as King Caspian. Simon Pegg is a more than adequate voice replacement for Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep.
The film looks great, is a nice mixture of action, humour, and spectacle, and is well paced. I have read opinions that the Christian allegory is maybe a little more overt than previously - as an agnostic, the allegory is not exclusively Christian, it seems to me. The 3D has its moments but is far from essential. Finally, it was wonderful to see the Pauline Baynes illustrations from the novel used as the background for the closing credits.
Lucy and Edmund are spending a dreary holiday with their cousin Eustace Clarence Scrubb, who is a rather dour and mean spirited little boy. They are unexpectedly drawn into Narnia when a painting of a ship on the wall of Lucy's room comes to life, and the three children fall into the ocean to be rescued by the Dawn Treader.
Once safely on board, Lucy and Edmund are greeted by their friend Caspian (now King Caspian) who has undertaken a quest to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia, as he had previously promised to Aslan. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to be back in Narnia, but Eustace is less than enthusiastic. Reepicheep is also on board, as he has vowed to find the seas of the "utter East".
They first make landfall at the Lone Islands, which is nominally Narnian territory, but has fallen into degeneracy--among other things, they participate in in the slave trade. Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep are kidnapped by a slave trader to be sold. A man "buys" Caspian before they even make it to the slave market. He turns out to be the first lost lord, Lord Bern, and acknowledges Caspian as his King when Caspian reveals his identity. Before they leave the island, Caspian re-claims it for Narnia, overthrows the greedy governor, and replaces him with the Lord Bern, whom he creates Duke of the Lone Islands.
At the second island they visit, Eustace leaves the group to avoid doing any work. He hides in a dragon's cave to escape a sudden downpour. The dragon's treasure arouses his greed, and he fills his pockets with gold and jewels and puts on a large golden bracelet. He then falls asleep and wakes up as a dragon, with the bracelet badly hurting his arm; it fit his boy's arm but is far too small for his dragon's foreleg. As a dragon, he becomes aware of how bad his previous behaviour was, and uses his strength to help make amends. Aslan visits Eustace during the night and turns him back into a boy, and as a result of the visit, Eustace becomes a much nicer person. When Eustace is finally able to take off the bracelet, Caspian recognizes that it belonged to another lord, Lord Octesian; presumably the dragon killed Octesian and added the bracelet to its hoard.
In addition, they visit Burnt Island, Deathwater Island (so named for a pool of water which turns everything immersed in it into gold, including one of the missing lords), the Duffers' Island and the Island Where Dreams Come True. This last island, where nightmares become real, is never seen, but is where they find a crazed Lord Rhoop. At last, they come to the Island of the Star, where they find the three remaining lost lords in an enchanted sleep. The fallen star inhabiting the island informs them that the only way to awaken them is to sail to the edge of the world and leave one member of the crew.
The Dawn Treader continues sailing into an area where merpeople dwell and the water turns sweet rather than bitter and salty. At last the ship can go no further as the water has become too shallow. Caspian wishes to travel with Reepicheep to the end of the world, but his subjects are unwilling to let him go and remind him that he has promised the daughter of the fallen star that he would go back for her. Caspian declares that nobody will go on and descends to his cabin, here a painting of Aslan comes to life and tells Caspian that Edmund, Eustace, Lucy and Reepicheep are to go on to the end of the world, but Caspian must return to Narnia.
Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep venture in a small boat through an ocean of flowers until they reach a wall of water that extends into the sky. Reepicheep paddles his coracle up the waterfall, and is never again seen in Narnia. Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy walk in a strange land where they find a lamb. The lamb turns into Aslan who tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia and that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world. He then sends the children home.
Lucy and Edmund (Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) return once again to Narnia, this time accompanied by their cousin, Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). They are pulled into Narnia through a painting and land in the middle of the ocean. Luckily, they are rescued by the Dawn Treader, a ship which is captained by king Caspian. Caspian is sailing to the distant outskirts of Narnia in search of seven swords which will unite the lands in harmony and remove the curse of a green mist which is creating darkness over the islands. The three children embark on Caspian's adventure, and meet up with many strange things including a pool of water which turns any object into gold and a treasure that turns little boys into dragons. Aslan the lion also once again watches over the heroes' fates.
Perhaps the Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't necessarily capture the lackadaisical feeling of the original book (todays adventure movies must always have quests that need fulfilling), but it's generally no less accurate to it's source material than the Harry Potter books (for example) are to theirs. Sure, some details get mixed around and new things added, but if you want things wholly intact and unchanged, you're better off just sticking with the book. One thing I've noticed (from reading the internets) is that some people are once again turned off by Aslan's christ-like appearance in the film. While the parallel to Jesus was very plain in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Aslan is martyred, only to rise again from the dead), it's a little more ambiguous here. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Aslan is more a holy spirit than anything, entreating the weary travelers to enter his land if they so choose, and behold the wonders there (only once they enter, they may never leave again). One's personal faith seems just as good an inspiration as anything when it comes to writing. Faith and imagination often go hand in hand.