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It was ok... Not very good, not entirely bad, just ok.

Twinimage (United States)

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My sister knows that I like the Chronicles of Narnia, I read the books when I was in my late teens and loved them. So when Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released on DVD, she bought it for me. We watched it for the first time that night.
I really like the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film and don't really like the Prince Caspian film. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is somewhere in between. I don't really like it and I don't really dislike it.

Ok, let's get the whole adaption part out of the way. The adaption was a compromise.
It really irritates me that they tried to cover up the original story with some silly story about the swords and "the mist". HOWEVER, the little adventures they have on each island don't necessarily feel ignored or anything like that. Every so often they find a sword and take it, but aside from that, the story doesn't feel too drastically different.

The acting is... ok, I guess. A number of times it feels like it's just actors doing their lines. It doesn't feel a whole lot like it's Lucy and Edmund come to life. Which is a shame cause I felt they were the best in the first two films. Will Poulter did a good job as Eustace. I feel like he did his best with what he had to work with. He never really feels over the top or anything like that.

What is really irritating is that they added these unimportant minor characters, such as this little girl, named "Gael", and they take out a major character like Ramandu! That's a big disservice to us fans, IMO.

Also, certain key scenes have been either altered or watered down. The scene where they fight over the deathwater pond is without Alsan's presence.

Another thing that this film suffers in is pacing. It goes so quickly, I can't get emotionally invested. Nothing in this whole journey excites or causes awe. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was doing that to me the whole movie. This film feels more like a direct to DVD or a TV movie. Much lower in quality.

The Lone Islands were brief and I there was little explanation of who Pug was and I don't even recall seeing the Governor. And they won back the island through fighting, which was lame and it felt really cheesy at this point. But it's so brief. This is probably one of the lowest points in the film. I will say though, the design of the city was amazing. It's just like I imagined it from the book!

Magician's Island was ok. The dufflepuds were pretty decent. The special effects and acting were good for them. The rest was, again, mediocre and very fast paced. I wish very much that they would have had shown Lucy wondering the house and going down the hallway to build suspense. Also, I must ask, didn't Coriakin see Lucy in the room? Didn't he notice the snow and her talking and the episode with the beauty spell? Also, I really disliked the design of the island. The trimmed shrubbery was weird and made no sense as to why they chose to do that.

As for the beauty spell, I feel they were expounding too much on that part. It was ok, the motives seemed ok, maybe, but ultimately they were misguided. It should have been more about Lucy being beautiful, not her actually becoming Susan.

Dragon Island was ok. Wish they would have stuck closer to the book with Eustace's experience of first realizing he's a dragon. They way they revealed the dragon was Eustace was actually pretty good I think. Not a bad way of doing it. I also think combining that island was Deathwater Island was the best combination. If you MUST combine some of the islands, that was the best way to do it. And it felt coherent.

Ramandu's Island was ok. I didn't care for the three lords sleeping with their eyes open. It was creepy. I liked how they reacted to it though and thought the food was enchanted. I really don't like the blue effect they gave Ramandu's Daughter. Also, I feel giving her a name was unnecessary, seeing that her appearance was so brief. Sad to see there was no Ramandu. :(
The look of the island was ok. Much bigger than I imagined it. I imagined it more like a small island with green hills. I also like the brief comment between Caspian and Ramandu's Daughter. It reminded me of the book. Sadly there was no mention of them getting married. Oh well.

The dark island was ok, though some of the logic didn't make sense. I for one think the Dark Island should not be able to physically harm you. It should be just a giant cloud of darkness that drives you mad with fear, which sort of adds to the irony that there was never anything to be afraid of in the first place. Also the appearance of the albatross was semi-cool. My heart sort of leaped inside me for a moment when I see Lucy asking for help from Aslan. I love how they slowed down and then you hear Lucy's thought/prayer. Sadly the albatross does nothing. I would have loved if somehow the albatross defeated the sea serpent and led them out of the Dark Island before it "exploded". The clouds could have opened up and there could have been some amazing visual shots of the light and darkness against each other. Sadly that's not what happened. I almost wish the albatross didn't show up at all, seeing that it was useless in the end.

Now for the undragonning. One of the most important scenes in the book. I feel they did a terrible disservice. It randomly appears in the middle of an action climax and it takes like 10 seconds and then we're back to the battle. This should have been the climax. They should have slowed down the pace, add some better narrative so we know exactly what's going on and it should have been one of the most emotional scenes in the movie. Instead it comes out of nowhere and it's quick and without emotion. I would also have like that Alsan actually rip into the dragon skin, but what they did was ok, I guess. But still it kind of stinks that they went that route.

I also don't like that they kept Eustace a dragon through more than one island. It makes more sense to have him change back to a boy near the end, but as I mentioned earlier, the timing of his redemption was so horribly misplaced and so brief. The cut to that scene literally felt like I had skipped a chapter on the DVD. Most movie goers who aren't familiar with the book will probably find that part to be even more awkward than I did.

As for the ending. It was good. There were some parts that don't seem to make some sense and what not. But over all, it was good. I am SO surprised they kept the entire line of Aslan's about "There I have another name". I am so grateful they kept that in. The ending was one of the best parts in this film. It could have been better, but oh well.

Overall, it's ok. Nothing great, yet it's not as huge of a travesty as I thought it would be. It was definitely more enjoyable than Prince Caspian, for me at least. I actually felt myself zoning out and not paying attention at times I felt so uninvolved in the story. Also the Christian values are heavily watered down in place of a rather more humanistic perspective, which is also a BIG disservice to C.S. Lewis' work.

In the end, it's a rather forgettable fantasy sequel that feels like a direct to DVD or TV movie. You will probably be disappointed at several things in this film, but don't let that keep you from watching it for yourself.

Till the next movie comes out, (maybe), further up and further in!

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