The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Reviews
You’ve probably seen our story earlier today about RottenTomatoes getting their page up for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (which is up to 7 fresh ratings and 2 rottens so far). If you missed it, that can be seen here.
Here are a few additional reviews that are online and some highlights from each of them.
It’s heartening to report that Dawn Treader arrives with confidence and bravado intact – the entirely expected stew of cod-medieval adolescent derring-do, attention-grabbing special effects, and sledgehammer moral lessons with nakedly religious overtones. You can’t help but be struck once again by the common elements the Narnia books have with Lord of the Rings; produced in the same dark, drab postwar years, attempting to reinforce the moral sense that Lewis and Tolkien presumably saw had been both drained and somehow redeemed by the war and its outcome.
The weaknesses, unfortunately, are human; like the Potter kids, performance anxiety is getting to the Pevensies. As they get older, in the real world, their self-consciousness increases, and acting abilities decline in inverse proportion. (The only benefit of delay in filming has been to manage the substantial time jump between this and the Prince Caspian movie fairly seamlessly.)
Crosswalk.com: (Includes pictures from the event.)
I had a spectacular experience after donning my 3D spectacles and enjoying the adaptation of the next C.S. Lewis masterpiece from book to screen. I’ve now seen the film in both 2D and 3D and enjoyed it both ways. And as someone who has read the book, I can also say that the film is a good and quite thrilling and moving adaptation—given a few creative liberties here and there. I have not been disappointed and plan on seeing it again when it releases in theaters.
Although I have not read the book and so cannot comment on how faithful the adaptation was, an enjoyable story it was. Early on we are introduced to a newcomer to the Chronicles, young cousin Eustace, played by Will Poulter. Having been a fan of his performance in Son of Rambow it was great to see him competently handle a wildly different character, and my fondness for him was strengthened by his humble and enthusiastic manner in person. The other stars were just fine too. I especially enjoyed Simon Pegg’s voiceover for the character Reepicheep, replacing Eddie Izzard in this chapter, and it is always a joy to hear the silky tone of Liam Neeson as Aslan.
The film starts off with some strong effects seeing the protagonists swallowed up by a painting, the action then levels out as the story drags a little. However we are rewarded with a flourish of magical effects and excitement in the closing quarter: I loved the Ghostbuster ‘Stay Puft moment’. That combined with great camerawork and direction throughout make it quite a joy to watch. A must see family festive movie.
The Sydney Morning Herald: (Ironically this particular review has a video at the top that is probably the most negative review I’ve heard thus far.)
Lewis knew a thing or two about storytelling. And Apted knows a thing or two about directing. The British veteran of everything from the 7 Up documentaries to Gorillas in the Mist to The World Is Not Enough has a steady hand as he takes the Narnia wheel for the first time.
Crucially, he never allows plot or characters to be overshadowed by special effects. The Dawn Treader may sail on 3D seas, but the 3D effects are subtle, not over-the-top. Apted doesn’t just want audiences flinching or squirming to avoid beasties and swords; he’d prefer to involve them via his narrative.
Which is not to say the computer-generated effects aren’t well done. Tavros, Reepicheep and other digital characters blend seamlessly with the real actors.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader may not reinvent the fantasy genre, it may not transcend the medium, but it is an impressive feat of imagination.
As the Harry Potter films have become longer, slower and ever more pretentious the Narnia jaunts have merrily skipped off in the opposite direction, here delivering an effects-driven romp that is shorter, tighter and, frankly, heaps more fun than the first two.
The emphasis is on action and movement, with any engagement of matters deep & meaningful sticking to the roster of standard adventure themes about courage, inner strength, moral character and persistence, with any discussions restricted to the usual sandwich-board theme proclamations, along the lines of: “To defeat the darkness out there you must first defeat ther darkness within yourself.”
A big improvement on the first two and a potent antidote to HP7.1, Narnia III is strongly recommended, whatever your Narnian status may be.
Thanks to Louloudi the Centaur and Daniel James for sending us a couple of these links!