Sunday, December 12, 2010

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

Well, I'm back. Sorry for my long absence from this site; I have been pretty busy as of late. However, now that things have calmed down for me, I have decided to make a return. I can't promise that I will be doing this frequently, but if something comes along that I feel deserves to be reviewed, I will make an effort to do so.

Anyway, it's the season to be jolly, and you are probably curious about whether there will be a Christmas-themed review. Well, that's not going to happen...at least not at the moment (we still have 13 more days after all). However, I can give you the next best thing: a fantasy movie with blatant Christian overtones. That's right, you guessed it:

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter
Directed by Michael Apted
IMDb:

Okay, before we begin, I should make a few things clear. I did not really read the "The Chronicles of Narnia" book series when I was younger, and I have only seen the first of the three films that have come out so far. I have also not seen that particular movie since it first came out in theaters. Therefore, if I make any assumptions that come from my lack of knowledge of the books or the previous films, I apologize ahead of time. That being said, let's dive right in...no pun intended. You know, because it takes place at sea...okay, anyway....

The plot starts off with Edmond and Lucy (Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley respectively) staying at their cousin Eustace's (Will Poulter) house while their older siblings are off doing different things. However, they soon find themselves transported to Narnia and reunited with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), who is on a mission to find a group of men known as the Seven Lost Lords of Narnia. As the plot develops, they come across mysterious green mist that is causing trouble throughout the different islands they encounter. It is then established that they must unite the seven swords of the different Lords, bring them to Aslan's table, and vanquish the evil presence.
No, not like that.

Mmm, close, but that is besides the point.

Okay, enough with the summery; let's get to the analysis. Here are the positives: the visuals, while nothing special, are very good. Lucy, my favorite character from the first film, remains a charming presence as she struggles to find her place in life as she enters adulthood. Edmund has also matured a bit since that time and though he has his own troubles of being in the shadow of Prince Caspian, he still comes across as likable. I guess I kind of liked the rat, Reepicheep (Simon Pegg, imagine that) as well, even if he did remind me of the Geico Gecko at one point. Not sure how that happened.

The biggest problem I had with the movie: Eustace. He is soooooooooooooo annoying, so so so annoying! Now, I understand that he was probably supposed to be this way in the books and to be fair Poulter does a geat job of bringing out the character's smart-ass behavior. That being said....he is still soooooooooooooo annoying! At one point, he is held at knife point and the other characters were told to drop their weapons or his throat will be slit...CALL HIS BLUFF! IT'S A WIN-WIN SITUATION! UGH! Well, I guess it does not really matter; as expected, he eventually gets becomes more likable (or at least more tolerable) as the film goes on because an amazing thing happens to him, he finds his inner courage, blah, blah, blah...

While I do not really have any specific problems with the film, though I do have general ones. Besides the ones I mentioned above, I thought the rest of the characters were kind of bland, particularly Prince Caspian. I do not know why, but he just did not impress me that much as a leader. There were also times when it felt like the film itself was more like a junior "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie in the same way that the first film felt more like a junior version of "The Lord of the Rings". That might be a little unfair given my lack of knowledge about the books and the timing of this films release, but that is just the way it turned out. As a result, these factors end make the film seem much longer than its nearly two hour running time.

*WARNING: MINOR SPOILER ALERT*

Despite what I said up above, the Christian overtones are kept to a minimum in this third-go-round, only being hinted at when the characters are discussing their faith that something good will come out of a tire situation. It becomes a lot more obvious at the end with the appearance of Aslan (a wonderful voice performance by Liam Neeson once again)and a gateway toward "his country". Obviously, one's personal beliefs may play a part in how you may view this scene. Although I am not personally a religious person, I thought it was well done; it was not in-your-face, but it was enough to get the message across concerning believing in one's self and the possibility of another world beyond our own.

*SPOILERS END HERE*

All that being said, this was a pretty good film. It was not as good as the first movie and there is nothing fantastic about it on a technological or substantive level. Still, it is a fairly enjoyable family movie that will leave you with feeling happier than when you entered. I do not strongly recommend it, but if you happen upon it at some point, either in theaters or elsewhere, I will not try to stop you.