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Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

December 10, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – A 20th Century Fox Release

http://www.narnia.com/

Release Date: December 10th

Rated PG for some scary scenes

Running time: 112 minutes

 

Michael Apted (dir.)

 

Christopher Markus (screenplay)

Stephen McFeely (screenplay)

Michael Petroni (screenplay)

 

Based on the novels by C.S. Lewis

 

David Arnold (music)

 

Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie

Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie

Ben Barnes as Caspian

Will Poulter as Eustace Scrubb

Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie

William Moseley as Peter Pevensie

Liam Neeson as Aslan (voice)

Simon Pegg as Reepicheep (voice)

 

©20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

 

Our reviews below:

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third big screen adaptation of C.S Lewis’ beloved saga of 7, and the first under the production of 20th Century Fox.  The film versions have yet to repeat the level of greatness that Disney achieved with 2005’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a very satisfying continuation of the cinematic series.

 

With Peter (William Moseley) studying and Susan (Anna Popplewell) in America, Dawn Treader follows the youngest of the four Pevensie siblings.  Edmund and Lucy (Skander Keynes and Georgie Henley) are now living with their bratty cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter).  When they find a mysterious painting, the three kids are magically transported aboard the deck of ‘the finest ship in all of Narnia,’ captained by the good King Caspian (Ben Barnes).

 

The Dawn Treader is on a journey to track down the seven lords, who were banished from the land before Caspian took over the throne from his evil uncle Miraz.  The search takes them to different islands, some filled with enchantment, others with terror.  The humans are joined on their adventures by the headstrong and lovable mouse Reepicheep (voice of Simon Pegg), and when they need him the most, the beautiful lion Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson).

 

In properly adapting Dawn Treader, the writers have combined elements of the series follow-up, The Silver Chair.  They have also chosen not to film the books in the official chronological order that publisher Harper Collins adopted in 1994, and are instead more correctly following the original publication order of Lewis’ series.  I’m not sure that the films can sustain themselves for all 7 books, but it would be nice to at least see the climactic closer The Last Battle be adapted for the screen.

 

I’ve enjoyed all three big screen Narnia adventures, but Dawn Treader will likely appeal to a wider audience than the previous film that caused Disney to ditch the franchise.  2008’s Prince Caspian was of epic length, and the battle-centric storyline made it strictly for an older audience.  The Christian overtones that were apparent throughout Lewis’ books have also been brought to the forefront this time around.

 

The post-production 3D used here is unobtrusive, but not necessarily worth the extra money.  The special effects are impressive enough on their own merits, and the creature design, particularly Aslan and Reepicheep, is as appealing as it was in the previous films.  The final few scenes are surprisingly moving, making The Voyage of the Dawn Treader a charming and very entertaining fantasy adventure for those both young and old.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

In 2005 we got the first film adaptation of the book – probably the most well known in the series – The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  In 2008, came Prince Caspian.  Both of those films are excellent in their own right.  The first for it’s introduction to the fantastical world and inhabitants of Narnia, and the second as a medieval style film of battle and turning around a corrupt kingdom.  Both of those films, in particular Prince Caspian would be better for audiences 12-13 and up.

 

Maybe it’s because of the ocean setting (no giant land battle to finish things off), but Voyage of the Dawn Treader is definitely less dark, (not to mention far shorter), than the previous outings.  It will still scare the youngest of viewers though.  In this film, the two younger Pevensie children Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are the only ones returning to Narnia, although this time with their annoying cousin Eustice (Will Poulter) in tow.  They arrive and board King Caspian’s (Ben Barnes) ship the Dawn Treader, and help search for the ‘green mist’ which the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) controls, and is using to cast an evil shadow over the outer islands of Narnia.  The whole thing plays out kind of reminiscent of Homer’s The Odyssey with the ship’s crew landing on various tempting islands, each with it’s own set of challenges and different creatures.

 

As always, the acting is well done by the cast, mostly carried by the young leads, as well as voice work from other members of the cast.  The score, this time around done by David Arnold, keeps the feel of the original two composed by Harry Gregson-Williams (using a few of the original themes at times).  It provides the epic/adventurous feel necessary for this kind of film, with distinctively pleasant themes.

 

For families (with kids 10 & up) this is a perfect movie to see over the Christmas holidays.  It is fun, exciting, and a good fit, (if more appropriate for younger to watch as well), with the others in the Narnia series.  Although the 3D done in post-production is the take-it-or-leave-it variety, on it’s own, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a fun visual treat.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is both the third and most family friendly of the series.  With Peter and Susan grown up and left, Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skander Keynes), and their annoying cousin, Eustace (Will Poulter) are the only ones still able to visit Narnia.  The three children find a painting that transports them to the Dawn Treader, a ship that takes them and King Caspian (Ben Barnes) on a quest to find the seven swords that, with Aslan’s help, can free everyone from the White Witch’s curse, that appears in the form of a green mist.

 

Although The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has some darker moments that may frighten young children, it also has a much lighter feel that the previous films.  Violence is minimized, and animal lovers will be pleased to know that no animals get killed.

 

The animation on the various creatures is spectacular and realistic, and both Reepicheep and Aslan are as appealing as before.  The acting is good, the score is excellent and the story has been adapted well.  One thing I liked were the religious undertones of this film.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a really nice film to see over Christmas, or any time of year.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

This latest movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic saga is a wonderfully entertaining, visually beautiful, swashbuckling adventure for families.  The film remains faithful to the books but will be just as enjoyable for those unfamiliar with the series.

 

The story begins in war-time England with siblings Edmund (Skander Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) forced to live with their whiny cousin, Eustace (Will Poulter).  The adventure begins when the trio are drawn into a painting of a Narnian ship, The Dawn Treader.  King Caspian (Ben Barnes) is the ship’s captain and their mission is to travel to Dark Island, find the Lost Lords and lay the seven lost swords at Aslan’s table.  Only then can the White Witch’s spell be broken and the Narnian people freed.

 

There is a wonderful mix of humour and adventure in this movie.  Cousin Eustace provides much of the humour as does the sword-wielding mouse Reepicheep (Simon Pegg).  There are enough darker moments to keep older kids and adults engaged in the story, but kids under 8 will likely find many of the scenes too scary.

 

The special effects are excellent.  The dragon, Reepicheep and lion Aslan all look richly textured and are wonderfully appealing.  Overall, the whole movie is really nice to look at.  Combined with a great musical score and excellent acting, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a good choice for families looking for a fun adventure.  If watching the movie leads to reading or re-reading C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, all the better.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

With the two oldest Pevensies abroad, the third film in the Narnia series has the two youngest–Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgia Henley)–billeted during wartime with their skeptical and annoying cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). When a sea painting floods their bedroom they all find themselves taken aboard the royal Narnian ship Dawn Treader with [now king] Caspian (Ben Barnes), Reepicheep (now voiced by Simon Pegg) and others on a voyage to various islands to find the seven lost lords and their swords. Only when the swords are all placed together on Aslan’s table will the world be put right.  Various obstacles and temptations stand in their way but eventually, with the help of a friendly dragon, their mission is accomplished.

 

With much less combat and more magic than the previous sequel Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader may appeal to a wider audience. The strong cast and fine production of the previous films are all back, with filming now moved mainly from the Czech Republic to Australian waters. The (non-native) 3D version I saw was nice but probably not worth the premium, since the film would have been just about as enjoyable without it.

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Consensus: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is carried by good acting and impressive visual effects.  This third installment in the big-screen adaptations of C.S. Lewis’ classic Narnia series is an entertaining fantasy adventure for those both young and old. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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