The Chronicles of Narnia The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Movie Review

15 04 2011

I liked the first The Chronicles of Narnia film (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) a lot. It was epic, adventurous, and heartwarming. Its sequel (Prince Caspian) however, was not as good as its predecessor, especially in terms of visual spectacle. This third installment is called The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it is the weakest of the lot for many reasons.

Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes reprise their roles as Lucy and Edmund respectively, and their acting is relatively good. These two characters have grown up quite a bit since the last time we saw them, and thus are dealing with more mature problems. Lucy thinks she’s not pretty enough and Edmund wants more attention and power. Kids of both gender can relate to Lucy and Edmund’s struggles easily, which is the most engaging aspect of the film.

There is new character here called Eustace who is played by Will Poulter, and he is mostly used for comic relief. The real problem is the Prince Caspian character played again by Ben Barnes, who is a totally wooden actor. Prince Caspian is supposed to be a fearless and inspiring leader, but Barnes’ complete lack of emotion kills the character, and also every frame he’s in.

Our protagonists set sail on board the Dawn Treader in one of those “find X number of items” missions. Here, Prince Caspian and team have to locate seven swords. The problem with this type of storytelling is that you are only waiting for them to collect all the items so that the plot can move forward. Fortunately for this film, there were other subplots for you to follow other than the main objective, so you don’t get so caught up in getting all the swords.

The climax of this film is a big fight scene with a giant fish monster. While entertaining to watch, it was ultimately forgettable. Liam Neeson’s voice returns in the form of Aslan the Lion, and he is the “Yoda” character who only comes out to say wise things. The fact that Aslan did not appear much only left me with a desire to watch the first Narnia again.

The Narnia films have often been compared to The Lord of the Rings, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader feels more like a Pirates of the Caribbean type of deal. It is harmless and inoffensive, definitely safe for family movie night, but lacks the epic punch that made the first Narnia so memorable.

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16 responses

15 04 2011
fictionworms

Oh, I hated this movie too. Especially because I read all the books when I was like 12 and loved them so much, but the movie is incredibly inaccurate! I wrote a review here: http://fictionworms.wordpress.com/movies/a-b-c-d-e/c/the-voyage-of-the-dawn-treader/ in which I say all kinds of bad things about this movie. It is more like a catharsis, actually xD I was so angry when I got out of the cinema!

16 04 2011
Ipodman

You still sound angry now! xD My biggest problem with this movie was the Prince Caspian dude, his face was stuck in that same emotionless expression the entire time!

17 04 2011
The Hook

Pretty spot-on review! Good job! And your Gravatar rocks!

18 04 2011
Ipodman

Thanks a lot! 🙂

17 04 2011
Kim

Oh, I didn’t like the first, but like the 2nd part instead. But I guess I like it just because of Ben Barnes, lol

18 04 2011
Ipodman

Orly? I guess his handsome charm does work on some people… :/

18 04 2011
Kim

It does on me, definitely. Without a doubt. I bought every movie that includes Ben Barnes. Every single one. 😀

18 04 2011
Ipodman

Wow! I’ve never even seen any other Ben Barnes movie -.-

18 04 2011
Kim

It’s never too late to catch up 😉

18 04 2011
Rue

I love Ben Barnes – as a person to look at – but not as an actor. I wanted to leave the cinema with that random accent. How can he be effectively Spanish in one film and a Brit in the other? That makes no sence to me.

However, because he is so wooden that made Dorian Gray a pretty OK film. I mean it’s already a freaking weird book, but Ben plays a decent Dorian.

19 04 2011
Ipodman

I think it’s amazing if an actor’s performance can make you want to change your life.

2 05 2011
cineramaetcetera

I keep holding out on seeing this movie particularly because of Ben Barnes. I completely agree with your assessment of his acting.

2 05 2011
Ipodman

Acting? He was just standing there 😉

16 05 2011
cineramaetcetera

they should’ve just gotten a cardboard cutout then, to save a lot of money. 🙂

26 05 2011
MeAllOverThePlace

This movie is one of those perfect examples for “too much money + too little imagination x established franchise = bad film”

fair enough, I didn’t even like the first one, but that might also just be because the whole narnia saga and its (admittedly mixed) messages don’t sit particularly well with me.

this one? super-bleh, I’d say. If it were at least offensive in any way, it’d make you think about why it was offensive. mmmh, come to think of it, the depiction of the slave-town left me feeling particularly uneasy due to it’s blatant stereotyping. but not even enough that it would make me hate the movie with a passion

27 05 2011
Ipodman

Yea, the film makers are just making more Narnia movies for the sake of making more Narnia movies. They seem to be banking everything on the “awesomeness” of Aslan and Liam Neeson’s voice, which worked in the first movie, but gets over-exploited in the sequels.

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