Reviews

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

3

So… which one is Dawn?

It’s fair to say that part three of the Narnia franchise at least arrives with an air of freshness about it: new director (Michael Apted), new studio (Fox), new composer, new cinematographer and new voice for warrior-mouse Reepicheap (Simon Pegg, riffing on Basil Brush).

Nothing, it seems, was sacred in attempting to re-boot after the underperforming Prince Caspian. It’s back to Narnian basics here: enchanting critters, gorgeous production design and fairytale landscapes.

Even the Pevensies have been cut down to size, the elder two (now in America, per the book) relegated with Tilda Swinton to dream-sequence cameos.

Dawn Treader is also back on message with C.S. Lewis’ Christian piety. Claiming it’s there only if you want to find it, as the filmmakers did prior to release, is a bit like saying you can see Dannii Minogue’s had botox (allegedly) only if you look closely.

With characters spouting religi-tastic lines like “We have nothing if we don’t believe” and “In your world, I have another name…” (ta, Aslan), it’s underlined in heavy letters.

For those who don’t want to tap into Dawn Treader’s devotion, Apted does deliver on the Odyssey riffs of Lewis’ novel (tweaked and supplemented).

Episodic? Very – a high-seas, island-hopping adventure in which Caspian (Ben Barnes), now Narnia’s king, is steering the titular vessel to find the seven lost lords of Telmar and reclaim their swords.

Into his oceanic path drops Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and their hideous pipsqueak cousin Eustace (Son Of Rambow’s Will Poulter, operating at a hysterical pitch of snivel but let down by the script’s humour shortage).

The threat is nebulous (some barely referenced blather about evil stealing Narnia’s light if the swords aren’t blah blah blah), the Pevensie kids as stilted as ever.

But between slave traders, magical maps, cockney minotaurs, one-legged hobbity things, a simpering dragon and a terrifying sea serpent that may elicit watery reactions of all sorts from delicate under-10s, Dawn Treader defiantly avoids being a yawn spreader. Mission accomplished.

Verdict:

Never thought we’d say it, but Voyage Of The Dawn Treader injects just enough oomph back into the limping kiddie-adventure franchise to make us almost wish for Narnia No. 4. Almost.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • egipt

      Dec 3rd 2010, 19:30

      4

      Many children love these books and they leave anlast minute indelible impression. They have sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages and continue to sell well. May I suggest you keep your dreary "political correctness" and dismissal of 1950s values to yourself: in my experience, there is no "condescention" in these books, although there might be in your mind. And as to the hackneyed allegory idea,egipt Lewis (who knew something about the subject, apparently) expressly denied that the books were allegories. But of course you know better.

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    • timkins

      Dec 4th 2010, 14:05

      "Never thought we’d say it, but Voyage Of The Dawn Treader injects just enough oomph back into the limping kiddie-adventure franchise to make us almost wish for Narnia No. 4. Almost." Really? You gave up after one poor movie? Bloody hell. If you want us to sympathize with your world-weariness, people, try doing something a little more harrowing then watching a three-star movie.

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    • poro25

      Dec 5th 2010, 18:32

      4

      Loved it!

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    • oddzag

      Dec 10th 2010, 21:04

      The films are meant to be light-hearted action fantasy and that's what Dawn Treader delivers! And the phrase "cockney minotaurs" has me sold already.

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    • MaggieH

      Dec 28th 2010, 16:51

      4

      "Even the Pevensies have been cut down to size, the elder two (now in America, per the book) relegated with Tilda Swinton to dream-sequence cameos" Your implying that two of the children were cut due to the last film not doing so well, (although I thought it was great), but its simply the way the book is written. And as for the religious allegory, My child didn't come skipping out of the cinema wanting to debate Christianity. These are films for children and people who want to be entertained.

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    • kizi2001

      Jan 6th 2011, 21:56

      4

      Loved this film, not only great for children but for adults too. Would definately watch it again.

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    • lukejt02

      Apr 17th 2011, 16:50

      3

      The first was really good and established the world if Narnia really well, the second just went to town on the special effects and overshadowed the story, but this was a perfect mix. Good story, not ridiculously over the top cgi and I think it's really benefitted from not having the big budget the first two had.  The annoying cousin soon becomes the stand out performer, while the rest do a really good job. The cgi is used to really good effect and doesn't interfere with the story.

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