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December 31, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I was a big fan of both Narnia movies, so it was only natural that I was really looking forward to seeing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Since I haven't done anything even remotely constructive all week, I decided today I would go ahead and see it.

I'm very glad I did.

I haven't read the books, written by C.S. Lewis, since I was a kid. In fact, I don't believe I ever read all of them. I may have to rectify that one of these days, inspired by the movies.

Anyway, the movie stars Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes as Lucy and Edmund Pevensie, the only two Pevensie children who are still able to go to the fabled kingdom of Narnia (their older brother and sister, Peter and Susan, have "outgrown" it). The older children have gone to the United States during World War II, but Edmund and Lucy are stuck with their aunt and uncle, and their annoying little cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). In fact, he's making their life almost a living hell. They still have fond memories of Narnia, though, and soon circumstances draw them (along with their cousin) into that magical world again. This time on an ocean adventure with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the man they installed on the Narnian thrown in the previous movie.

Along the way, they'll suffer through temptation, and learn a lot about themselves in the process.

The Narnia books have a very moral bent, with a lot of Christian symbolism in them, and the movies have pretty much retained most of that. Aslan, the Lion (voiced by Liam Neeson), is obviously a Christ figure, and it's even more blatant in Dawn Treader than it was in previous movies. The trials that the children go through teach them a lot about themselves, their morality, and the proper way to live their lives. In fact, Aslan pretty much flat out tells Lucy that he's Jesus in the "real" world.

Yet that really shouldn't be an issue, even for those atheists among us. It doesn't matter what the moral code is; the fact that the movie *has* a moral code is good enough. You can ignore the Christian imagery and just take the morality story for what it is. If you don't *want* any morality story whatsoever, then you may find yourself feeling a bit oppressed.

That being said, the movie is also a hell of an adventure movie too, and you can enjoy it on that front. A huge sea serpent, dragon, funny creatures that try to impress, a talking mouse swordsman, this movie has it all. The special effects are very good, and the movie's just a lot of fun. Yes, the acting is a bit wooden, but it's not too bad. It carries the story along, and that's good enough.

I do have to say that the 3D is largely unnecessary for this movie. Yes, it does bring the world to life a little bit more (especially when Lucy is in the invisible house to find the spell that will make it visible again), but I would have preferred it 2-D and $3 cheaper. That being said, it certainly doesn't hurt the movie at all. It doesn't try to draw attention to itself with any visual tricks, which is greatly appreciated.

Those of you who were concerned about all of the violence in Prince Caspian can rest assured: while there is action and some sword-fighting in this movie, this is a straight-out adventure that any kid would love if he/she likes to imagine themselves in the middle of the story. There's no blood, though there are a few scary moments. Nothing that couldn't be found in Dr. Who if it had a movie-level budget, though. And Dr. Who is definitely family viewing.

All in all, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is another excellent entry in the Narnia movie series. And it may even provoke me into reading the books.

When was the last time you could say that about a movie?

(Cue people telling me about a movie they saw just last week).


  1. Gotta get round to seeing this. VotDT was among my favourites of the books, didn't like Prince Caspian much and Lion, Witch and Wardrobe was written for too young and audience for me to enjoy. If you don't want to read all of the books, I'd suggest A Horse and His Boy, Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. The Magician's Nephew is also a lot of fun.

    The symbology is pretty blatant sometimes (something I have no problem with personally), but then you'll know that from having read my reviews of the books on Epinions way back whenever it was (2005?).

  2. I'm sure I read them at the time! Though I have no memory of them whatsoever.

    If I do it at all, I'll probably read along with the movies. But we'll see.


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