CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER Review

Having been really excited for this third installment in the 'Narnia' series, I have to say I was a tad disappointed with the film. Maybe this is a result of going in with high hopes and expectations, but I really enjoyed the first two and so I expected just as much from this one. After Prince Caspian though, my familiarity with the stories go way down and so I was completely unsure of what to expect from the plot in 'Dawn Treader'. We are served up just as much breathtaking scenery, talking creatures with worlds full of fantasy and myth, but it all seems to take itself a little too lightly. The atmosphere always a little too bright for such a tale. Beginning at the house of some Pevensie relatives where the two youngest, Lucy and Edmund, have been staying and putting up with their cousin Eustace while the two elder children have traveled to America and their time as rulers of Narnia has passed. Edmund still longs for the fulfillment of being acknowledged as a king and Lucy is wanting more than anything to feel she is as beautiful as her sister. While addressing these growing pains the three young British children are thrust through a painting and back into Narnia where they join Prince Caspian on the Dawn Treader. At first, all is well, but we know that will soon change and the adventure the king and queen of old are taken on is one of exciting fights and tension with a globetrotting tinge to it. Traveling from island to island looking for seven old dudes and their swords so as to stop this green mist that is causing people to disappear into the unknown and bringing out the deepest fears and desires in those who attempt to stop it is what I seemed to gather as the main plot, but the movie seemed more focused on the development of its characters and where they would be going from here once this adventure concluded. 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' overall felt like more of a segway than anything, concluding the trilogy of the Pevensie children and beginning anew with the story of Eustace and how he will no doubt return to Narnia and help protect it in some way. Will Poulter is to be commended though for his snarky little performance that slowly develops from harsh critic into full believer. He is an interesting character, well written, all thanks going to C.S. Lewis on that one no doubt and Ben Barnes was a wonderful choice for Caspian, if not for him this movie might have suffered even more. We only hear Liam Neeson for a total of five minutes and Tilda Swinton shows up as the white witch for a total of five seconds, and so the heavy lifting is left on Georgie Henley and Skander Keynes, who know by this point how to react to the world of Narnia but have yet to develop as more mature actors. At points it simply feels cheesy, but at least this one spared us the ever arrogant Peter who always was played as a bit of a wanker. Edmund and Lucy though, we like, we see them as our own brothers and sisters and though Director Michael Apted (taking over for Andrew Adamson who is listed as a producer) aims this entry more towards the kiddy crowd, those of us who read 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' in the fifth grade can still appreciate the fantasy of the world and the life lessons we can all learn, especially from charming little Reepicheep, who is the only character in the entire film who really draws us in and makes us feel real sympathy for the trials they have faced and in the conclusion, the one we hate to see go the most. What this story lacks in epic battles and force of a driving plot it makes up for with a few stunning visuals, especially in the well done 3-D, but it just isn't enough to warrant me suggesting the film to friends. I liked it, but not as much as the others, I wanted to, but couldn't. I do hope to see the story continue on screen, for now though, I need to read up on my Lewis and educate myself further on what to expect when Eustace returns.