Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I went with a friend of mine to see the latest Chronicles of Narnia, the third installment. I neglected, however, to ask her if she'd seen the other two. She hadn't.

The older of the two Pevensie children have been shipped off to America while the younger -- Lucy and Edmund -- are the ones who are whisked off to Narnia for this adventure. However, this time, an unwilling cousin, Eustace, is whisked off, too. Kicking and screaming.

They fall into a Narnian ocean and are picked up by the Dawn Treader, part cruise ship, part attack vessel, upon which we find King (once Prince) Caspian, a more confident leader than in part two when we met him. The four plus crew sail away to find seven missing kings, each of whom possess a magical sword. But to find them, they have to go through a green mist which tempts each sailor with what he or she most wants.

Yes, it's confusing, but I didn't mind at all because I got to meet a sea-going minotaur, a chivalrous mouse, and a rather large and angry sea serpent. The effects are better in this movie than especially the first because, let's face it, it's five years later. And the actors look a bit older and are better actors.

It's a great adventure on the high seas. And, after three movies, you feel you know these characters, particularly when you see what the green mist has in store for each of them. My only criticism -- okay, I have a couple -- is that there's nothing for the audience to solve. There are no puzzles. We just follow them along on their adventure. I've always found the adventure more fun if I can participate, but perhaps the screenwriter didn't want to stray too far from C.S. Lewis.

But that presents another problem. The dialogue seems to be right out of the book, and Lewis is famous for using platitudes. The dialogue is not very challenging.

And when we finally meet up with Aslan, he is much more the Christ figure here, complete with a place not named but obviously heaven. That was disturbing.

But if you can enjoy the movie as a great adventure with characters you've come to enjoy and like, you'll really like this movie. The story was told well enough that my friend figured out the missing parts quickly enough, and held on for the ride.

Thumb's up!


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