Monday, 3 January 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a kid and that is as much as I ever immersed myself into the literature of CS Lewis so technically the Narnia movies should not be on my radar but today I took the ten and eight year old cousins to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

PLOT: Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skander Keynes) the two interesting Pevensie children have been abandoned by Peter and Susan who have absconded to America. They, along with their annoying cousin Eustice (Will Poulter) find themselves transported back to Narnia in order to break an evil spell by returning the seven swords of the Lords of Narnia back to Aslan's table. They run into Prince Caspian who is out trawling the ocean blue for no particular reason. Aslan makes his traditional mid movie appearance and provides no practical help whatsoever and merely offers some pop psychology about learning to love your true you before buggering off. The gang attempt to find and seven swords. Eustice learns a life lesson. When orcs evil approaches their swords turn blue. A Kraken sea serpent is unleashed and attacks their ship. The all powerful God Aslan shows up when the hard graft is over and congratulates them on a job well done. Lucy, Edmund and the annoying cousin Eustice return home. END PLOT

The Dawn Treader clocks in at just under two hours but I didn’t feel the time go by. There is something about Narnia that draws me in and I can lose myself in the world with ease - forget Middle Earth it's Narnia that I want to visit.

The plot is packed pretty full and on first viewing I didn’t quite get the seven swords/evil island connection/the green mist is the villain. This means I will have to get the movie on dvd.....ahem.....bluray - the sacrifices I make for my craft.

There are also important life lessons to be learnt with Lucy learning self acceptance and Eustice learning not to be an annoying little prick.

The action is typical fantasy fare and although the set pieces are fine they are not particularly imaginative nor original - Prince Caspian had bigger and better battles.

I saw Dawn Treader in 3D and it looked fine although it isn’t the most spectacular 3D film of the year. The 3D effect didn’t add much but there was one nice little shot with an arrow.

The fact that actual Narnians played a big part in the first two movies is part of the reason why I love them. As the series progresses Narnia is becoming more human focused with the creatures taking a back seat. Prince Caspian had a better balance of human to animal ratio.

The cast have been culled down to Lucy, Edmund, Caspian and Eustice with some extras thrown in to look scared or row the ship.

I have always liked the two younger Narnia kids as they manage to be watchable without having a big neon "drama school" sign flashing over their heads but in Dawn Treader they are as good as ever.

Ben Barnes is ridiculously attractive and he is fine as Prince Caspian. Caspian lost his Spanish lilt between movies which upset me greatly but other than that Barnes proved that this type of movie is within his limited acting ability. He should stick to the family adventure and not attempt something grown up ala Dorian Gray.

Will Poulter who played Eustice annoyed me but in his defence that is what the character was supposed to do. I was grateful he got turned into a dragon midway through the film and pretty much stayed silent until the closing scenes.

As I haven’t read the novels I don’t know how accurate the Dawn Treader is to the original text but it doesn’t really matter to me. I have a soft spot for the Narnia series and this instalment didn’t let me down and I know that I will get it on dvd……ahem…….bluray when the time comes.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader gets an 8/10. It isn’t as good as Prince Caspian but it is a little but darker than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The movie ended with a hint that Eustice may make it back to Narnia but without the Pevensie children but time will tell if that ever occurs or if I will care enough about a Narnia without the Pevensie kids.


  1. I actually enjoyed this one more than the first two. I read the entire series as a kid but can't remeber a thing about them excepting lion, Witch, Wardrobe, so like you I can't tell how true to the book it is.
    The first two I found annoying as they both became battle fests. True to the books maybe but being made shortly after Lord of the Rings they were a bit much of the same so Dawn Treader was a relief in being somewhat different in nature.
    One thing that is more obvious than the preceding two is the religious tone. I had always heard of the christian tones within Lewis' writing but never saw it until the last scenes of Dawn Treader where Asaln says 'in your world I am known by a different name' ( a give is God!! ) And the mouse who so wants to see the world over the big wave is clearly a Narnian version of Heaven.
    But for all that I don't feel any need to be 'born again' thankyou Mr Lewis!!!!!

  2. The Aslan as God motif wasn't subtle in Dawn Treader. I think I am the same - knew of the religious undertones yet never really noticed them until they were forced upon me

    Like Lord of the Rings my favourite is the 2nd movie.