Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Review)

CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER
(12/10/10; Fantasy, Family, 3D)
Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson (voice)
SCR: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Michael Petroni
DIR: Michael Apted
MPAA: PG for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action.
1 hour 53 mins
BOX: $102,563,814 (US),
$396,994,954 (Worldwide)

Third entry in the once-iffy series restored some of the magic that was missing with the bloated Prince Caspian (2008). Also restored were some of the overt Christian themes that were present in the first film and permeate the book series. But casual viewers (like myself) just consider this another episode of the ongoing Narnia series, in which characters from the other movies will make cameos and everything will be neatly wrapped up by the finale.

Set three years after Prince Caspian, the two youngest Pevensie siblings, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), are transported back to Narnia along with their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). They join King Caspian (Ben Barnes), in his quest to rescue seven lost lords to save Narnia.

Apted (taking over for Adamson) knows his way around an FX-laden epic and truly brings a sense of sea-faring fun to the picture. Also, the performances have deepened a bit: Poulter steals the show as the irritating cousin (who gets turned into a dragon) and it’s nice to hear Neeson’s voice emanating from Aslan the lion again, even if the moment smacks of trying to reclaim the faithful Christian audiences that abandoned Caspian. Despite diminishing results in the US, Dawn Treader was a hit around the world, paving the way for Part IV, The Magician’s Nephew, a prequel. (Fox)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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