Now Showing on Cable: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

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.

In Narnia.

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.



13 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

      • I should correct that: I just like GOOD dragons. They give me hope for the eventual Dragon Riders of Pern Movies. And Smaug in the Hobbit.

        And example of bad movie Dragons? the Recent “How to train your Dragon” animated movie had bad, cutesy dragons.

      • Now Fogs, you’re just trying to push my buttons. I will not be drawn into an argument about how many ways that movie sucked. I will just say this: THE DRAGONS PURRED.

        ’nuff said.

  1. The books were much better and were written at a kid level. The movies I enjoyed just for the visual effects and some of the humor. I think Disney tried to stay more along the books with these and keep them kid safe, unfortunately they are not many kids out there who hasn’t seen the more kid unfriendly movies, like Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Iron Man, Pirates, so an adventure movie on this scale was only OK with my kids, who are 8, 8 and 10. They did like the CGI creatures, the dragon, etc.

    I’d give it the same grade as you, they are worth the watch but that’s it. Not missing Prince Caspian doesn’t really affect the movie since time in Narnia works completely different in earth time. Once the kids reach a certain age, they are not allowed back because Narnia only needs the innocence of children and upon reaching adult age, their thinking changes. If there is another one, Silver Chair perhaps, it will only contain the cousin. I forget, since it’s been a while since reading the books.

    • Yup, yup, yup and yup.

      Good points all, ESPECIALLY the fact that it was too “Kiddy” even for kids.

      And I don’t know that we’ll get “The Silver Chair” and the rest of them now. The rights to the series lapsed or some such, so it’s on indefinite hold.

      It’s a shame. I would have loved to see these books get the kind of calibre of movie that the Harry Potter or LOTR books got…

  2. I agree that this movie pales in comparison to something say Harry Potter, or even LOTR…

    I liked the first Narnia movie a lot tho… the sequels have not been great

    • Yeah, I guess I’m lukewarm on Narnia 1. I didn’t care much for it, but I could see someone liking it.

      I think the Potter movies are going to cast a lonnnng shadow over the teeen/tween fantasy world. For years. The bar has been raised…. 😀

  3. yep, I was highly disappointed in this movie. It still was “ok” but that really is the best I could say about it. Visually amazing, but overall not that great. I own the first 2, but have left the 3rd one on the shelves at the store.

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