The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 2010.
Directed by Michael Apted.
Starring Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson (voice) and Simon Pegg (voice).
Reunited with newly-anointed King Caspian (Ben Barnes), Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and cousin Eustace Clarence Scrub (Will Poulter) embark on a quest to find the seven Lost Lords of Narnia.
Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) return in the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia film series, this time bringing their up tight cousin Eustace (Channel 4’s School of Comedy actor Will Poulter) along for the ride, or should I say sail, through the world of Narnia.
Lucy and Edmund are staying with their aunt and uncle during the war and are not getting along too well with their cousin Eustace. Treading on each others toes the kids squabble between themselves until a painting of a ship sailing across the sea starts to fill their bedroom with water. Before they know it they are catapulted back into the world of Narnia, a familiar place to Lucy and Edmund, a world made up by “people that read books about fairies” to Eustace. There they are reunited with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) and set out to retrieve the seven Lost Lords of Narnia. Their quest takes them to several islands, each with an obstacle the protagonists have to overcome. Reepicheep is also along for the voyage and strikes up an interesting relationship with Eustace, who seems completely unsure of everything that happens in this unfamiliar world.
One thing that surprised me a little was the pace in which we are introduced back to the Narnia environment. Within the first major scene we go through the painting with Lucy, Edmund and Eustace and learn of the quest they must undertake with Caspian and his crew. On a negative note, it was from the beginning of the film I felt slightly annoyed - not by the film itself but by the character of Eustace. Or to be more specific the actor who plays him, Will Poulter. Poulter is a lead actor in Channel 4’s School of Comedy, which in my opinion only teaches people that those who act in it can’t do comedy at all! For the best part of an hour the character of Eustace has a grimace across his face like someone has made him sit on a sparkler. Only when he gets turned into a dragon does the sparkler become unlodged. When he returns to his human form Eustace has learned a lot and shows genuine emotion when he has to leave Narnia along with Lucy and Edmund. Maybe that’s a sign that Poulter should knock comedy on the head and try more serious roles. But he is only seventeen after all.
The narrative is very good. It’s well paced, the action sequences are interesting to watch and the search for the Lost Lords of Narnia is pretty compelling. Unfortunately I would have to recommend seeing this film in 2D. I saw it in 3D and unfortunately I felt it didn’t benefit the film at all. The action sequences would have been just as impressive in 2D and it took a while for my eyes to adjust to some of the settings. I have no doubt kids will enjoy it, and in general I did too, but there a few elements of this film that distract the audience enough to lose concentration in some spells.
Jon Dudley is a freelance film and television journalist and his 17-minute short film Justification was shown at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
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