Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Narnia's Voyage is a fantastical adventure...

If you like very proper English child actors, dragons, talking lions and sword fights then you'll love the latest cinematic installment in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. If you don't, then best to keep away.
Narnia Dawn Treader poster
The third Narnia movie jettisons the two older Pevensie siblings (aside from some cameos), in favour of 'Edmund' and 'Lucy', the youngest children. They are joined by their sufferable cousin 'Eustace Scrubb', who could have been the most annoying child actor in the world, but Will Poulter actually provides a lot of the comic relief in the movie (even when he's transformed into a fire breathing dragon).

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on display at ArcLight Sherman Oaks
Narnia Dawn Treader film costume exhibit
Ben Barnes also returns as 'Prince Caspian' and seems to have mostly lost his annoying accent from the last movie, although he still doesn't have the gravitas to be leading man material quite yet.

This time around though the plot seems a bit watered down, with a by the numbers quest, with no real protagonist, like the 'White Witch' or 'King Miraz' from the previous movies, to do battle against.
Narnia Dawn Treader film poster
Off they sail on the Dawn Treader to find some lost Telmarine Lords and their swords to help defeat an evil green mist that's been kidnapping people. Along the way there's slave traders, traps and creatures to vanquish and it's all an enjoyable romp, but doesn't feel earth shattering stuff.

The movie really gets interesting in its final stages when the gang battle a giant sea serpent, which has a great design and I'm sure for little kids will give them nightmares for years to come.

Of course 'Aslan' is along for the ride and there are more allusions to his 'country' being Heaven. I've read that C.S. Lewis' original novels were littered with Christian allegories, like Aslan being slain and rising from the dead in the original book/movie.
Narnia Dawn Treader movie costumes
All that aside, the movie is entertaining fare and deserves three *** stars, but with a lower budget seems to be missing the usual wealth of magical creatures and effects on this outing.

I'm not sure if this will be the last big screen outing for The Chronicles of Narnia, it would be a shame if it were, but if it is, it goes out with an enjoyable bang and not a whimper...

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