The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader tek's rating: ¾

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

See also the 1989 serial Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

I suppose the first thing I should say is that while the first two Narnia movies in the series were made by Disney, this third one was made by Fox. However, Walden Media was involved in making all three movies, and the actors playing Lucy and Edmund were the same in all three movies; and the actor playing Caspian was the same in this movie as in the second (the character wasn't in the first movie). The voice of Aslan is of course the same. I think the only difference is a new actor doing the voice of Reepicheep. I should also say that I find it amusing that the end credits seemed very Disney, to me. I guess I'll also say that I liked the special effects and the story and the acting, all around. The change of studio, as far as I'm concerned, is unnoticeable. And... I'd really like to see a fourth movie in the franchise, though at the moment it's unclear whether that will happen (and if it does, it seems like it'll be an adaptation of the sixth book, rather than the fourth, which I'd really rather not happen; I want the movie franchise to make all seven books in proper order).

Anyway. I don't remember the book well (as is the case for the whole series), but the movie feels rather rushed to me. There's probably not much choice, because there's a lot of story to tell. Um... it starts with Lucy and Edmund, in our world. I'm not sure how much time has passed since they returned after their second trip to Narnia, but probably not too much. (When they eventually get to Narnia, only three years will have passed there, compared to thirteen hundred years between their first and second visits; so apparently, it's not just that time passed more quickly in Narnia than in our world, but that it's pretty unpredictable.) Meanwhile, both Lucy and Edmund seem to be impatient to grow up. (Edmund wants to enlist in the army, but is rejected for being too young, which is frustrating since he's already experienced being not only an adult, but a king who has led troops in battle. Lucy mostly seems to be worried that she's not as beautiful as her sister Susan, which seems kind of odd, to me. I mean, she's already been grown up- and clearly beautiful- so I could understand if she was impatient to grow up again, but this whole sister envy thing doesn't really make sense. I mean, beyond the fact that Susan is essentially grown up, by now. But Lucy is still a pretty girl in her own right, so she really shouldn't compare herself to Susan. But then... it becomes an important plot point later, so I guess I'll let it slide.)

I have digressed, a bit. Susan is in America with her parents, and I'm not sure about Peter. But they're too old to go to Narnia now, as they learned at the end of the last movie. So they only appear in brief cameos, in this movie. Meanwhile, Lucy and Edmund are staying with the family of their cousin, Eustace Scrubb, who finds Lucy and Edmund to be annoying, mainly because they believe in a silly fairy tale like Narnia. Basically, Eustace is himself rather obnoxious and annoying, though I suppose one can't entirely blame him. I mean, in reality, if you knew people who seemed to sincerely believe they'd been to some magical land, you'd think they were daft, too. Anyway... there's a painting in Eustaces's room, of a ship on an ocean. Lucy notices at one point that the waves in the painting seem to be moving, and before long, water spills out of the painting and fills the room, and then the three children find themselves in the ocean... in Narnia. They're rescued by the crew of a sailing ship called the Dawn Treader, which includes King Caspian, as well as Reepicheep, and a bunch of sailors I never really got to know, in the movie (though they include a minotaur). Eustace at first refuses to accept any of this, especially talking animals. So, for most of the movie he finds everything to be a pain, and everyone feels the same about him.

Anyway, Caspian is on a quest to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia, who his uncle Miraz had banished. I don't really want to say too much specifically about how the movie proceeds from this point, except that they'll have to visit a few different islands, and find the swords of each of the seven lords. These swords will have to be used to break some kind of evil spell that wants to consume all of Narnia, or whatever. And there's this mist which abducts people who others have sacrificed to the mist. And the same mist will give visions to the heroes, who face temptations that could divert them from their mission, and have dire consequences on a more personal level. And I also have to mention that eventually, Eustace's attitude will change, and he becomes rather heroic, himself.

And, eventually the children all learn valuable lessons and return to their own world (as well as learning something about Aslan which should have been obvious all along, but I won't get into that). And they learn that while Lucy and Edmund have grown up too much to return to Narnia (like Susan and Peter), Eustace might someday return. (After they return to their world, we hear Eustace's mother call up to them that Jill Pole has come for a visit. This seems, to anyone who's read the books, like a hint that the fourth book, "The Silver Chair," would soon be happening, though I don't believe that character was mentioned in the third book. It also seems very unlikely that Eustace and Jill would be friends at this point, because until his trip to Narnia... Eustace wouldn't have been the type to be friends with her.)

Anyway... I did say I liked the effects and acting and story, but I also said the movie seemed rushed. So, I didn't like the movie as much as the first two, but I still thought it was basically good. Even if it would be nice to have taken more time with each of the different segments of their adventure, it... was still decent, as a whole. But the parts themselves were mostly a bit lacking. I did like the development of the relationship between Eustace and Reepicheep, and I liked the tearful goodbyes at the end, and... well, I dunno. It was all reasonably entertaining, just not great. But I do really hope more Narnia movies get made....

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe * Prince Caspian * The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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