The worrying thing about Narnia is that you might be in the same room as her. It could be in that old cupboard. Or, this time, in that nautical themed painting. The waves look so real. In fact, said Lucy, they almost looked like they were moving.”
It was, and the Dawn Treader was approaching the waves. Eustace, his cousin’s bully, unwisely pulls the painting off the wall, and seawater rushes out and fills the room until they appear to be in danger of drowning, but no, they emerge and are rescued by sailors from the ship, captained by Caspian (Ben Barnes), who seemed to be waiting for them.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third of the films inspired by CS Lewis’ tale, once again calls for the services of British children to save an alternate universe. How the universe is possible that requires the participation of parallel universes, I will leave to theoretical physics.
Aboard a sailing ship, Lucy (Georgie Henley), her brothers Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and young Eustace (Will Poulter) ask no questions. They are too happy to return to Narnia, despite the suspenseful adventures they had in the previous films. Lucy and Edmund, now in their mid-teens, seem very calm to have been pulled from their daily lives and thrown into a strange ship in an uncharted ocean, but these kids have made it.
They are briefed on the situation: Narnia is threatened by an evil force from the mysterious Dark Island, which no one has seen but everyone has heard of. There is a problem of seven missing magic swords representing the Lord of Telmar, which were given to Narnia by Aslan the Lion (voice of Liam Neeson) and must be put together again to break the spell that imprisoned the rulers. Obviously, these kids can do it. Eustace may be 7 years old, but, hey, bring the kid.
Aboard the ship is a brave little mouse named Reepicheep (voice of Simon Pegg). He walks upright, speaks decisively, falls right into the semi-obligatory Little Sidekick role, has a heroic heart and a cute little sword he’s not afraid to brandish. Why the little fella was never stepped on and blackmailed is inexplicable.
It’s a rough ride. There’s a storm. There was a terrible battle with sea monsters. dealt severe flesh wounds. As they sail from one island of Narnia to another in search of a sword, a series of other challenges confront them, including the worrisome sea mists seen in Stephen King’s “The Mist”.
A climactic voyage to the Dark Island becomes necessary, and it is fraught with danger. Half food and water rations for all passengers! No one knows how far away it is. Good thing they knew which way to sail. If they went beyond the island, they might sail from the edge of the earth, Columbus was not in Narnia.
The island, first glimpsed from a distance, looked terrifyingly like a skull, with a volcanic glow perhaps visible in its skeleton’s eyes. Skull Island comes to mind. Here the fate of Narnia will be sealed. The island, we were told, was the abode and embodiment of pure evil; I guess, since CS Lewis meant his books to be Christian allegory, it’s Hell. The children and crew of the Dawn Treader are against it, and Eustace is overjoyed by turning into a fire-breathing dragon.
If I linger too long in the story, it’s because most of what you have is a series of opportunities for special effects. Character has characteristics rather than personality, and little self-awareness. They appear to serve the plot, which, not very coherently, boils down to one after the other.
However, it’s an exciting adventure fantasy for the family, especially the younger members who aren’t a stickler for continuity. The young actors weren’t too impressed by how noble their archetype was either; Lucy (who is actually the main character) can teach Harry Potter a lesson on how to reduce selfishness. A universe might hang in the balance, but hey, it’s just a movie.
I’m afraid it’s in 3-D. I’d say it has the best 3-D look I’ve seen in any of these spectacular stunts; Apted used it and wasn’t pushed by it. Low light level. It’s always in 3-D. I wish I could see it in 2-D. If you can, try it.