The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader Review

As The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is a film aimed at families, we’ve decided to actually have it reviewed by a family (well, a mother and daughter at any length). To that end, we asked Sarah Carter, and her daughter Faun to  see it for us. If you like the format, let us know, and we’ll use it again in the future. And for the record, Faun is ten years old, and is also known as the world’s youngest Ramona Flowers cosplayer.

Sarah’s review:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third movie in the Narnia franchise. Scripted by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeeley and Michael Petroni, this is an adaptation that builds greater impetus and excitement to the story by taking established themes from the book and forging them into something more purposeful.

Both book and film deal with Caspian’s search across the oceans in his ship The Dawn Treader for the seven lost lords of Narnia, however the movie adds a mysterious green mist that snatches away Caspian’s countrymen. To recover his subjects and halt the mist, he needs to collect all seven of the Lords’ magical swords and lay them at Aslan’s table.
Aiding Caspian (Ben Barnes) are Edmund (Skandar Keynes)  and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley) from the first two movies and their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter), all three pulled into Narnia by a magical painting. While the Pevensies are overjoyed to be back in Narnia again, Eustace, a particularly joyless child with no imagination is appalled and distraught at being trapped on board a ship in another land, surrounded by talking animals.

Key moments from the book are still in place, the slave traders, the Dufflepuds and crucially, Eustace’s transformation into a dragon. However the underlying story for Caspian and friends is how they deal with adulthood. Caspian as King has his own doubts and duties, Edmund wants desperately to be treated as more adult, while Lucy wishes she was as pretty and highly regarded as her sister Susan. Those pre-occupations are the means for the green mist to sway their decisions, however it is not until the final battle on Dark Island that anything of real threat shows itself.

Less ponderous than Prince Caspian, while this may not have quite the charm of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Dawn Treader is still a worthy adaptation. The brief inclusion of Peter and Susan makes sense within the rejigged story, and even the appearance of The White Witch works within context. Once again Bradshaw is the eye candy for mums and tweens alike, while Keynes and Henley have clearly matured since the first movie. Both capture perfectly the frustrations of their respective ages.

However the show is stolen by Will Poulter as the odious Eustace and Simon Pegg as the voice of Reepicheep the mouse. Poulter’s comic timing is excellent while Pegg’s CGI mouse is gallant and charming. Both bring a lightness of tone to the film that stops it getting too bogged down.

The score by David Arnold is excellent as ever, and the production design maintains the high standards set by the previous two films. While I can live without the 3D, it’s effective and not overly gimmicky. We were fairly close to the screen so I’m hoping the blur I was getting on some scenes was down to proximity rather than poor rendering.

While the film doesn’t perhaps have the excitement levels or dramatic quality of something like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it’s the kind of  solid un-patronising fare that is perfect for the Christmas period.

Faun’s review

Although I’ve read Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I remember less than mum does about it, but the movie is more exciting than the book and is very funny.  Prince Caspian is on board his ship to find the lost lords of Narnia, and when Lucy, Edmund and their cousin Eustace are pulled through a painting into Narnia, they join him on his journey.

Lucy and Edmund have been to Narnia before, but Eustace hates it and is rude to everybody. He especially doesn’t like Reepicheep the mouse, and those scenes are the funniest of all. At one point Eustace tries to steal an orange and Reepicheep catches him. In the 2 minutes that follow Reepicheep gives Eustace a carving knife and teaches him to duel. It’s a very funny moment but nice too as Eustace starts to enjoy himself for the first time.

There are plenty of scary moments in the film, when the mist takes the people, the old  lords (who are all tatty with long beards) and the final battle on Dark Island which has a huge and gross sea-serpent. Some children might be quite scared by bits of the film, so I think it’s suitable for those 7+.

The 3D is very good as is the CGI. The movie ends as the characters are close to Aslan’s Country, which is separated by a large, rolling wave. This worked very well in 3D and was very impressive.

My favourite character is Reepicheep because he’s funny, brave and always happy and Simon Pegg does an awesome job with his voice.

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