Premiering this weekend on HBO was the third chapter in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series of films, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”.
Based on the series of fantasy books by C.S. Lewis, “The Chronicles of Narnia” series revolves around a group of young brothers and sisters – the Pevensie family – who occasionally get transported to a fantasy realm called Narnia. This particular time, the portal is a magical painting of a ship at sail on the Ocean. The Dawn Treader. During an argument between two of the Pevensie children and the young cousin whose house they’ve been staying at, the painting begins to move and then pour water into the room they’re in. Before they know it, the room is filled with water, and Edmund, Lucy and their cousin Eustace are swimming at sea.
Fortunately for them, they’ve surfaced right next to the ocean faring ship. The three of them are brought on board and find that King Caspian and the talking mouse Reepicheep are aboard.
This is the point where I’ll confess that I missed the second film in this series. I wasn’t all that impressed with “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, and never checked “Prince Caspian” out. I read the books, but as a child. So the continuity here is something I can’t really comment on.
I don’t think it’s much of an obstacle though. I didn’t feel I was missing anything.
Anyways, at one stop during their voyage on the Dawn Treader, the children witness a green mist. Eventually they learn that the mist is an embodiment of pure evil with designs on consuming the world. In order to stop it, they need to collect seven
MacGuffins swords and lay them on Aslan’s table. Of course, the seven swords have been scattered across the Narnian world, so they need to voyage across the seas on the Dawn Treader from shore to Narnian shore collecting them. Along the way, they encounter a wide variety of creatures and magical artifacts, and have a number of fantasy adventures.
These movies are a little too “Kiddie” for me. They’re PG, not PG13, and it shows. There’s one scene where Lucy reads from a magic book and makes it start to snow in the room. She proceeds to look up and around with this huge “Wow” smile, and I was just like, “oh man, cmon.” Everything here is a little too magical and wonderful. And the action is always very “safe” feeling. The swordplay is always neutered, as if they combatants are just out to clank swords. The creatures never seem actually threatening. The lightened tone makes the movie seem…lightweight. Kind of “Fantasy Film Lite”. It only goes to follow, right?
That doesn’t necessarily make them bad, just… Not my cup of tea. The movie was gorgeous to look at, and the special effects were really well done. The creatures are all fun enough. The plot isn’t really anything substantial, but I suppose for the target age group for these films, it doesn’t have to be. The acting was weak (enough to make me realize how lucky Warner Brothers got with the Harry Potter kids), but this movie is all about the fantastical situations, creatures and world.
It’s not a great movie, but it’s decent enough, and I have a feeling kids in the right age range would love it.