Last night we did something we’ve never done before we went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the 12:01am showing on opening day. My sons, Aaron (17) and Jordan (15) and I headed to the theatre and met up with about 20 friends from Lightforceradio.com and The Front to watch the much anticipated third entry in the Narnia movie franchise.
As you probably know, I have been involved with this movie for the last month or so since I was invited to by 20th Century Fox to Los Angeles for a sneak peek of the movie and interview stars Georgie Henley and Will Poulter. Since we only saw clips of the movie while in Los Angeles, I was extremely excited to see the entire film…unfortunately, the film was good not great 🙁
I know that any movie adaptation of a book isn’t going to stay 100% on track with the book and that is not where my problem with this adaptation lies. Each of the Narnia books takes the reader on a multi-faceted journey. They are exciting and adventuresome, emotional and spiritual and this is where the movie fails Narnia fans. The adventure is there-how can it not be while sailing on the Dawn Treader. The spiritual allegory is also there, more than it was in Prince Caspian. The emotional tug was missing. While the actors did an acceptable job I feel that the screenplay was lacking the book’s depth and Michael Apted’s directing left me want to feel more for Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skander Keynes) and Caspian’s (Ben Barnes) personal struggles with the darkness that is inside them. On the other hand, Eustace (Will Poulter) and Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg) show much more depth of character and take you on the emotional journey you expect while traveling to Narnia.
The CGI in this movie is amazing! Reepicheep, the dragon and the sea serpent are extraordinary examples of how to seamlessly add larger-than-life CGI characters into a live action movie. All three are so well done that you forget they aren’t real! As a matter of fact, the Sea Serpent scenes are so scary I had to cover my eyes! I would not recommend bringing young children to see this film. It is rated PG for a reason and children under age 10 do not need to be seeing things that scary.
Unfortunately, the cinematography was seriously lacking and in the words of my 17 year old film student…”It doesn’t scream Narnia.” as the movie ended the first comments I heard from our group were that the cinematography missed the boat and there must be a new cinematographer and director on this film…which there are. The other thing lacking in this movie was the musical score. David Arnold’s original music doesn’t do anything to engage you in the movie or move the story along and is basically forgettable. Unlike Harry Gregson-Williams’ soundtracks in the first two movies which are emotional, riveting and memorable. (We don’t purchase many movie soundtracks and we own both of the first two soundtracks and won’t be purchasing the third).
All-in-all The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is an average movie that doesn’t live up to the standard of the the first two movies in the franchise. I am sure that is because 20th Century Fox picked up the franchise when Disney dropped it and unfortunately the changes in director, cinematography and composer proved too hard to overcome. I am glad they made the movie and I hope the movie drives more people of all ages to the read the books. I am a Narnia fan and I hope they continue to turn the books into movies because unfortunately too many families have and will never read the classic tales of C.S. Lewis.