I remember the very first time I saw the trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe! (The first of The Chronicles of Narnia series!) I was so excited, since I enjoyed all of the books as a little boy. C.S. Lewis had captivated my attention for many hours via books and BBC, only to now have live action movies of his classic literay tales on the big screen!!! I was ecstatic to say the least! That was in 2005! Then in 2008, Prince Caspian came to theaters and a whole other adventure in Narnia came to life! I enjoyed them both, and both movies currently sit on a shelf in my dvd collection! Needless to say, once 2010 rolled around, the announcement of The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader literally gave me cause to need a napkin in order to clean up the drool that dribbled from my mouth! (Just kidding, it’s only a figure of speech!)
This tale-brought-to-motion-picture continues on with the stories of Lucy and Edmund who, while slowly aging in the “real world,” can only talk and dream of another lifetime past in the mystical land of Narnia. Trying to make do in England during the World War, they live stifled in hopes of what might have been and struggling with the fact of always living in the shadows of their older siblings, Peter and Susan. This theme is evident throughout the entire film and carries weight with it in developing the main characters. One of the main things to be enjoyed by this, shall I call it “classic,” tale is the characters themselves -new and old- that develop, interact, and grow in the story. Readers of the book, and watchers of the previous two, will be glad to see characters such as Lucy, Edmund, King Caspian, Reepicheep, Aslan, and more in this visually astonishing movie. (Side note: the 3D really doesn’t do much for this film. It’d be just as enjoyable in 2D and you’d get to keep your periphereal vision!) As I said, it is the characters that cause this film to both succeed and fail at the same time.
Edmund and Lucy’s characters seem stuck in the same caricatural rut they were in during the first two movies, and, unfortunately, their growth, while existent, (we see Lucy and Edmund both face struggles with temptations) is limited and lacking from the time they first walked through the wardrobe as little children into Narnia. The two characters that steal the movie are the loyal mouse warrior Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg) and Lucy and Edmund’s bratty and snobby cousin, Eustice. The two of them separately and jointly make up for some of the best scenes and even better comic relief! It is their story, growth, and development that really ends up making the journey all the more enjoyable. Several characters go through transformations (some more evident than others), and it is the following of these characters’ voyage that carries the interest of the viewer through the movie.
Loyalty to the book stays pretty consistent for all things necessary in the storytelling. There are some liberties, but not any that are detrimental to the lore of Narnia. One thing I was disappointed in was the lack of presence of Aslan in the film. While this is, admittedly, one of the books in the series that doesn’t have too much going on, adventure-wise, I still found it lacking where it could have introduced a little bit more into the film.
Several aspects of this film began to sink it: King Caspian, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy’s stoic characters; 3D effects; and adventure; Other aspects of the film kept it afloat: Eustice; Reepicheep; Great cinematography; and story congruence with the original. That is probably why this film consistently receives mediocre/balanced reviews. Go see it, enjoy with the family, and become a part of the Voyage…if nothing else mediocre that you really wish to see is playing…like Yogi Bear (??)! 🙂
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
–TheSp1der’s Score: overall: 5.5 out of 10 stars “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader“
up next: reviews for The Fighter, Buried, True Grit, and Black Swan