Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" an Excellent Adventure

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 41 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
Running time: 113 minutes (1 hour, 53 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action
DIRECTOR: Michael Apted
WRITERS: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroini (based upon the book by C.S. Lewis)
PRODUCERS: Andrew Adamson, Mark Johnson, and Philip Steuer
EDITORS: Rick Shaine
Golden Globe nominee


Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Gary Sweet, Arthur Angel, Arabella Morton, Bille Brown, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, and the voices of Simon Pegg and Liam Neeson

20th Century Fox joins Walden Media to produce the third film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s book series, The Chronicles of Narnia. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader finds the youngest Pevensie children, Edmund and Lucy, joined by a dour cousin on a return journey to Narnia, where they grapple with temptation. More so than the other films, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a rip-snorting adventure

One year after the events depicted in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the two youngest Pevensie children, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), are living in Cambridge with their cousins, the Scrubbs. Their older siblings, Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Peter (William Moseley), are in the United States with their parents. Lucy and Edmund now have their obnoxious cousin, Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter), as a disagreeable companion.

The adventure beings when a magical painting transports Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace to an ocean in Narnia. There, the trio is rescued by Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the large talking mouse, Reepicheep (Simon Pegg), and taken aboard the sailing ship, the Dawn Treader. Three years have passed in Narnia since the Pevensie siblings last visited, and Caspian is now the King of Narnia. King Caspain is on a quest to find the seven Lost Lords of Narnia and invites the Pevensies and their cousin to join him.

During a visit to the Lone Islands, they discover a slavery ring that sacrifices people to a mysterious green mist. In order to save the sacrificial victims, the crew of the Dawn Treader must sail to Dark Island where resides a corrupting evil that threatens to destroy all of Narnia. Lucy, Edmund, King Caspian, and Eustace will find themselves tested as they journey to the far end of world and to the home of the great lion, Aslan (Liam Neeson).

As was the case with Prince Caspian, I enjoyed The Voyage of the Dawn Treader much more than I did the first Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Dawn Treader is the cleanest and purest of the series, thus far. It is a straightforward adventure, an ocean-going tale that takes the characters from one obstacle they must overcome to another. Its philosophical theme is also simple – fighting, avoiding, and overcoming temptation. Its spiritual theme – the yearning to be one with the almighty or perfection – is surprisingly up front, and the story is almost frank in equating Aslan with the Christian God.

The main characters: Lucy, Edmond, and Caspian do not offer anything new in terms of personality; they’re like old friends, now. The story does get a much needed jolt in new characters, such as the firm captain of the Dawn Treader, Lord Drinian (Gary Sweet), and especially the tart Eustace Scrubb. While the arc of Eustace’s change is interesting, what is best about the character is Will Poulter’s portrayal of Eustace. Pitch-perfect in his performance, Poulter makes the annoying Eustace a scene stealer who will make the audience want more of him.

The special effects in this third movie are better than those in the second film. Although not as impressive as those in the original film (which won an Oscar), the visual effects in this film seem more inventive and even more magical. This is Michael Apted’s touch as director; he makes the most of what he has. He doesn’t get the most impressive acting, but he makes it seem so. Apted doesn’t have a solid villain in the evil green mist, which essentially represents temptation, but he adds chilling touches using the mist.

In the final act, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader especially emphasizes its Christian elements. The spiritual messages will make some yearn for God, but even more people will be sad that the end of this movie means that we must once again leave Narnia – until we return…

8 of 10

2011 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey, and Carrie Underwood for “There’s A Place for Us”)

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader [Blu-ray]

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