Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Movie Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by 20th Century Fox

Recommended For: All Ages

Rating: PG (for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action)

When Lucy and Edmund Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace, are swallowed into a painting and transported back to Narnia, they join King Caspian and a noble mouse named Reepicheep aboard the magnificent ship The Dawn Treader. The courageous voyagers travel to mysterious islands, confront mystical creatures, and reunite with the Great Lion Aslan and a mission that will determine the fate of Narnia itself!

I loved the Narnia books. So when I found out they were making movies of them, I was ecstatic. The first one quite lived up to my expectations, the second one...well, not so much. Then I heard Disney had dropped it and 20th Century Fox had taken it up. I was comparatively happy, happier than I would have been had there been no more movies. And while I enjoyed the movie enough to see it in theaters could've been better.

Technical: 3.5/5
There was nothing wrong with the camera, or the special effects, or the lighting, or the acting. It was the writing that fell short in this movie. To be fair, they did have quite a job reworking the book into a good movie, and Eustace was perfect. But still. It was too fast-paced and many of the lines, particularly Lucy's lines, felt contrived and unnatural. I couldn't enjoy it properly at the fast pace it was going. And there was the matter of Caspian. I agree, I'm not especially fond of the way he was in Prince Caspian, and it was done by a different company, but still. They could have made an effort to make him look the way he did in his first Narnia movie. They should've dyed his skin to the same tint and made him use the same accent. I get the different haircut, it had been three years in the books, but they should have made the effort to make him look and sound the same. When I first saw him on screen, I didn't even recognize him. It was very awkward. No one changes that much in three years as an adult.

Setting: 5/5
The setting was very true to the book. Dark Island, Dragon Island, Deathwater Island, and Coriakin's Island were a lot like the book, excepting the fact that Dragon Island and Deathwater Island were combined. The Lone Islands were quite a bit different, but I liked them all the same. I didn't like what they did with Ramandu's Island (especially cutting out Ramandu, what was that all about?), but it was done very well.

Plot: 4.5/5
The thing about the book was that the islands were more of separate adventures. While that worked well in a book, that would've stunk in a movie. The screenwriters sensed this, and added something to the plot to tie it all together. They expanded quite a lot on the Dark Island idea, and I must say, it was done very well. It was an intriguing plot, and did indeed tie all the islands together. It required quite a lot of changing from the book, which I didn't like, me being a bit of a book purist, but it was done well. Just too fast-paced. I did particularly like how they kept the best line from the end of the book in the movie, the one where Aslan says, "That was the very reason you were brought to Narnia, so that knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." Most movie companies would've cut that line. They didn't, and that was a huge point in their favor for me.

Characters: 4.5/5
The characters were very well done. Edmund was very consistent, Caspian was grown up and more mature, Eustace, it being his first appearance, was very well-done, down to his change of heart, and the minor characters weren't cardboard cutouts as they are in some movies I could mention. The only drawback was Lucy. I felt they completely changed her. Hardly any of the faithful little girl found in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian was there. She was just too different. It wasn't all that she had grown up, she was too focused on being pretty than the original Lucy would have been (while it was in the book, it wasn't that big a part of the book), and I noticed none of the strong belief in Aslan present in the other movies. And her lines didn't seem very real or Lucy-ish. One particular instance I noticed she was different was right before they went into Dark Island and were cheering "For Narnia!" Lucy started another cheer of "For Narnia!" whereas I felt the Lucy from the other movies would've said "For Aslan!" instead.

Most little kids probably wouldn't notice the things I pointed out. This movie would make a great movie for family movie night, and will be liked by any fantasy-lover or Chronicles of Narnia fan. I recommend watching this movie.

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