The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 3D Directed by: Michael Apted Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins Rating: PG Release Date: December 10, 2010
PLOT: Lucy (Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Keynes) are back in Narnia with their annoying cousin Eustace (Poulter). With the help of Prince Caspian (Barnes) they must take a trip on a ship to collect seven special swords and stop an evil green mist.
WHO'S IT FOR? Kids who can't get enough fantasy stories and it would also help if they adore the books these films are based on by C.S. Lewis.
EXPECTATIONS: I like being taken to magical lands every once in a while. Plus, the last film (Prince Caspian) was a slight improvement on the original. Disney quit and in its place 20th Century Fox as taken over to keep the franchise going.
Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie: They had a chance with Lucy, but didn't quite pull it off. The idea that a little girl doesn't feel pretty and worships they way her older sister looks is a great concept. When she has a chance to look like her older sister Susan (who's barely in this film) it turns into a bad episode of "It's a Wonderful Life." And you know how Lucy shows she's learned her lesson? She tells another girl to like herself. Problem solved! Cue the happy ending! Score: 5
Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie: It seems he has absolutely nothing new to do. The White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is back to tempt him, but it feels very "been there, done that." I'm tried of Edmund having little brother issues. The film just doesn't bring these to light in an enjoyable matter. Score: 4
Ben Barnes as Caspian: It seems he has absolutely nothing new to do. Caspian is looking for his father ... a little bit. He's also leading hundreds? Thousands? Millions? But for some reason, he's doing it from a very tiny ship. Also, what's the deal with having a play sword fight with Edmund with real swords and actually going for the head? Doesn't anyone see a problem with that? Caspian suffers from the same issues that Captain Kirk does, in other words, whenever there is something to check out, he tells his whole crew to stay behind and he investigates. Score: 4
Will Poulter as Eustace Scrubb: Poutler was pretty good in a flick called The Son of Rambow from a couple years back. OK, now that I am done with the compliments ... I know why movies do this type of character, I just think most do a poor job. Eustace is over-the-top annoying. Think about the baddest Broadway kid actor and add three. To do this right, the characters we like in this film have to be annoyed and constantly wanting to get away from him. Instead, he keeps tagging along. Plus, do we need another kid to be confused that Narnia exists? Eustace sounds like useless. That's what I thought of this character even after his magical transformation. Score: 2
TALKING: Sure, they attempt to explain the point of this adventure, but they do a poor job. Seven swords, thinking positive, the evil green mist ... it never adds up. As we go along, I kept saying, "Oh, I guess this is now the point." But I never really care. Score: 3
SIGHTS: The 3D isn't distracting like The Last Airbender, but it also doesn't serve much of a purpose, so don't shell out the extra money. Everything else looks good, including Reepicheep. This brave little mouse, especially when his fur is blowing in the wind, looks fantastic and ends up stealing most scenes. Score: 4
SOUNDS: It's just fine. I didn't find myself being swept up in any moment due to the music. But at the same point there wasn't anything annoying about it. It was completely status-quo. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: By leaps and bounds the best part was when Lucy was kidnapped by invisible creatures. There's comedy there that brought to mind moments from Jim Henson and the Muppets.
ENDING: Once everyone turns out to be OK, we have to say goodbye in a number of ways to these characters. Look, I can handle it. If you're talking about heaven, god, whatever, just say it.
QUESTIONS: Too many tiny questions for a film that ultimately just doesn't have enough of an impact to analyze each one.
REWATCHABILITY: Nope. Of all three of them, I'd take the middle film. From what I've heard, The Silver Chair is the next in the series to make it to the big screen.
At one point, with the evil green mist closing in, everyone must clear their minds or their worst fears will come true. Edmund shouts, "Oh no, it's too late!" And for a second every adult in the theater had only one thing on their minds ... here comes the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It's impossible not to, but then again, it really does make you realize Chronicles ain't for adults. This one is for the kids.
It's over-explained, but still the plot feels illogical. I mean, they're in Narnia. How can Edmund possibly doubt that there could be sea creatures? And if seven swords at a specific table will save the day, why didn't that happen from the get go? And don't tell me that's just a fantasy flick. Lord of the Rings explains why a certain ring must be destroyed at a certain place. Case closed. Here, the green mist wants sacrifices, but doesn't do anything with them, and then really just wants to mess with people's minds. The green mist is more of a hallucinogen than evil.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't feel like it's adapted from a classic children's novel. It's just going through the motions ... insert sword fight, insert dragon, insert quest, insert super annoying kid (a kid that feels like Oliver from "The Brady Bunch"). This Chronicles feels much more like a spin-off with only half the main cast present instead of an epic fantasy tale.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10