Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

January 5, 2011 in Movie Reviews by pacejmiller

My long-awaited post(s) on the best and worst movies of 2010 is coming soon, but before I can write it, I need to watch as many notable 2010 films as I can (good and bad).

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (let’s just called it Dawn Treader for short) is the third film in the franchise based on the classic CS Lewis books, and it’s not as horrible as some have made it out to be.  It’s just that compared to that other children’s film juggernaught (Harry Potter), the Narnia franchise pales in comparison in just about every category.

As far as stories go, there’s nothing particularly special about this one.  The two younger Pevensie kids, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are back (with their older siblings relegated to cameos), as well as Prince (now King) Caspian from the previous film (Ben Barnes).  The only notable addition is the (pardon me) butt ugly and extremely annoying cousin of the children, Eustace (played pretty well by Will Poulter).

For some reason, the three kids are once again transported to the magical world of Narnia, aboard Caspian’s ship, the Dawn Treader.  There are villains and there are missing people, desert islands, dragons, sea monsters and glowing swords (all done with wonderful special effects) — and of course, that God-like lion, Aslan — but despite all these things, Dawn Treader never felt like it really got off the ground.  It’s okay — not exactly boring but the excitement factor isn’t particularly high either.  It’s not fair to say that this film is derivative or unoriginal (considering it is based on a book written in 1950), but it did feel like I had seen it all before.

It’s not an awful effort, as I did enjoy parts of it, but to me, the film was not compelling enough for adults and not engaging enough for children.  And at 113 minutes, it’s too long for both.  It’s a shame because I think Narnia a terrific franchise and one that translates to film rather well.  The Christians will probably enjoy it more than the secular folk, for Dawn Treader is much more obviously ‘Biblical’ than the two prior films in the series.

I’d say it was better than Prince Capsian, but on whole, Dawn Treader was only a sliver above average.

3 stars out of 5