The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Directed by: Michael Apted Cast: Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley Running Time: 1 hr 53 mins Rating: PG Due Out: April 8, 2011
PLOT: Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia.
This film had it's moments, but in all in all, I'd consider it to be very forgettable. For diehard fans of the books and previous films, I imagine this film will deliver some degree of satisfaction, but for me, I failed to find it very interesting at all. It did have some spectacular CGI locations, and I enjoyed the tropical settings, and the voyages the troupe took from island to island, but it all felt a little bit like: "we must go to this island to do X," and then, "now we're on to the next island to do Y & Z." Not very engaging story telling here.
It was a pleasure to see Will Poulter (Son of Rambow), whom I thought put in a very good performance. The rest of the cast here though, I found to be entirely second rate, if not third. I'm surprised that in such a major film production, not more time and care was put into the casting. There's an awful lot of wooden acting here, and some of the film's more talky scenes reeked of straight-to-video. Not the best effort, considering how much attention this film was guaranteed by birthright.
I'm not at all surprised to see that this film fared less well at the box office and amongst the critics than the previous two installments. Perhaps The Silver Chair will reverse this trend -- that is, if it's ever made.
On a brighter note, for fans of the film, this Blu-ray is packed with tons of extra features (please see below for complete list).
MOVIE SCORE: 4/10
Disc 1: Theatrical Feature Blu-ray
Goldwater Island Explore Goldwater Island (1080p, 00:50) Dragon Discovery (1080p, 00:56) Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 2:12)
Lone Islands Explore Narrowhaven (1080p, 00:42) Minotaur Discovery (1080p, 00:51) Deleted Scenes (1080p, 4:27): Includes four short deleted scenes. The Epic Continues (1080p, 2:15): The director, producers, and stars briefly discuss this entry in the series.
Magician’s Island Explore Magician’s Island (1080p, 00:42) Dufflepud Discovery (1080p, 1:01) Commentary by Director Michael Apted and Producer Mark Johnson
Dawn Treader King Caspian’s Guide to the Dawn Treader (1080p, 4:13): A guided tour through each section of the ship, from the State Room, Map Room, and Oar Room, to the Main Deck and, of course, the Poop Deck. The Secret Islands: Untold Adventures of the Dawn Treader (1080p, 7:20): An animated epilogue of sorts. In Character with Liam Neeson (SD, 5:06): Neeson talks about the character of Aslan and the process of doing the voice recording. In Character with Georgie Henley and Will Poulter (SD, 5:20): Eustace and Lucy discuss their approach to the characters. Direct Effect: Michael Apted (SD, 6:27): Director Michael Apted discusses the particular challenges of working on the third entry in the series. Making a Scene (SD, 9:11): A featurette about the filming of the transition-to-Narnia scene.
The Dark Island Explore the Dark Island (1080p, 00:57) White Witch Discovery (1080p, 00:36) Serpent Discovery (1080p, 00:42) Portal to Narnia: A Painting Comes to Life (1080p, 7:22): Another visual FX featurette exploring the creation of the watery transition to Narnia scene. Good vs. Evil: Battle on the Sea (1080p, 10:55): An on-set look at the filming of the sea battle.
Ramandu’s Island Explore Ramandu’s Island (1080p, 00:59) Reepicheep Discovery (1080p, 1:10) Aslan Discovery (1080p, 1:02) Liliandil Discovery (1080p, 00:52) Search for the Seven Swords Match Game (1080p): A simple matching game that tasks you with memorizing the locations of the seven swords. VFX Progression (1080p, 13:00): Visual effects breakdowns of several shots, showing various passes, all leading to the final finished scene. With optional commentary by director Michael Apted and producer Mark Johnson.
BD-Live Exclusives Enchanted Tour of the Narnia Islands (720p, 4:24): A quick tour of the locales featured in the film. Return to Magic (720p, 4:33): A talking head fluff piece promo.
Disc 2: Theatrical Feature DVD Disc 3: Digital Copy