‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ (Film)

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‘THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Voyage Begins

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This is a delightful instalment in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’!

‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ is a very good and enjoyable movie! From seeing ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and ‘Prince Caspian’, I hoped they’d get round to adapting ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ book into a film. Thankfully they did and I’m very pleased with the results on this.

Sadly, this film isn’t made by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. This is the first film to be released by Fox 2000 Pictures and Walden Media, as Disney decided to opt out after doing ‘Prince Caspian’. It was a shame as it doesn’t keep the continuity of these movies without Disney involved.

This film is also now directed by Michael Apted, who is new to the ‘Narnia’ film series. I am saddened Andrew Adamson didn’t direct this movie, but at least he has a producer credit here. Also, Michael Apted’s direction is superb and I do like how he handled ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’.

I saw ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ at the cinemas for Christmas 2010. I’m pleased they released the film at that time as it felt right to have a good action-adventure movie for Christmas like ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. It’s also a good quest romp with a sailing ship out in the sea.

I have read the book of ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ before seeing this movie when I was reading ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ book series in 2006; 2007 and 2008. I don’t remember reading the book before seeing the film in December 2010, but I knew the story and knew what to expect here.

From seeing the movie, I could tell there were structural changes made from the book into the film. This included the shifting of visits to the islands in the story to make it less ‘episodic’ and also making the Dark Island as the main force of evil for our heroes to fight against at the end, which was interesting.

For those who haven’t seen ‘Prince Caspian’, at the end of the film the four Pevensie children Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy helped Prince Caspian to save Narnia under the tyranny of the Telmarines. But sadly Peter and Susan aren’t to come back to Narnia, though Aslan says Lucy and Edmund will.

The title refers to the quest Caspian X, now King of Narnia, takes to voyage the eastern ocean and find the seven Lords of Narnia banished by his uncle Miraz. Caspian is joined by Lucy and Edmund who return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace. They help him on his quest to find the seven Lords.

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This film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011. I’m disappointed with the DVD release, as there are no behind-the-scenes extras featured on the DVD as they’re on the Blu-ray version instead. There’s the movie on one DVD disc and a Digital Copy disc to transfer the movie onto a computer.

I wished the DVD of ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ was given the same treatment as the Blu-ray version. I would have liked there to be a four-disc extended edition of ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ and have the deleted scenes featured on the DVD re-inserted into the movie (more later).

THE MOVIE

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The movie begins with Lucy and Edmund staying with their cousin Eustace Scrubb. They have to stay with him and his family until the Second World War is over. They’re not happy since he is very annoying.

It was good to see Georgie Henley as Lucy. Lucy faces some challenging lessons. She’s jealous of Susan who now lives in America. She wants to be beautiful like her and doesn’t appreciate her value.

It was also great to see Skandar Keynes as Edmund. Edmund doesn’t like his cousin Eustace and tries to volunteer to be part of the army in the war. He misses being once a king as he’s stuck in England.

Will Poulter stars as Eustace Scrubb. I liked Will’s performance as Eustance. He balances the comedy and drama of Eustace well, as he’s Lucy and Edmund’s cousin who has a bad and annoying attitude.

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Lucy and Edmund get transported back into Narnia via a painting in the bedroom. The painting is of a Narnia ship sailing in the sea. It draws Lucy, Edmund and Eustace in as they end up in the ocean.

The three children get rescued by Caspian and his men from the Dawn Treader. The Dawn Treader is an amazing ship and I liked how the designer have made the ship exactly like it is in the original book.

It was good to see Ben Barnes as Caspian X. Caspian is now King of Narnia and is wiser compared to how he was in ‘Prince Caspian’. It has been three Narnian years since he last met Lucy and Edmund.

I enjoyed the reunion between Caspian, Lucy and Edmund and when Eustace is upset by being in Narnia. It was very funny when Eustance saw Reephicheep talk and fainted to see a big Minotaur.

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Reepicheep returns in ‘Dawn Treader’ (now voiced by Simon Pegg). It’s a shame Eddie Izzard didn’t voice Reepicheep in this movie, but I did like Simon Pegg’s voice for the mouse as it is pretty good.

There’s also Gary Sweet as Lord Drinian, captain of the Dawn Treader. I liked Gary’s performance as Drinian, as he’s Caspian best friend. He’s also very cautious when they go on this dangerous voyage.

Caspian tells Lucy and Edmund about his quest to find the seven Lords of Narnia and how he hopes to journey on to the eastern end of the world. Perhaps they hope to find Aslan’s Country out there.

I like Reepicheep’s lullaby that was sung to him by a dryad when he was a young mouseling. The lullaby has something to do about travelling to the eastern end of the world and to Aslan’s Country.

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I also liked the relationship that Reepicheep has with Eustace. There is friction between them at first, as Reepicheep challenges Eustace to a sword duel. But the two gradually become friends in the end.

The first port of call on the voyage is to the Lone Islands where Caspian hopes to find the seven Lords there. But the city of Narrowhaven is deserted and there seems no-one about to find at first.

But Lucy, Edmund, Caspian and Eustace get caught, as Narrowhaven and the Lone Islands is ruled by slave traders. There is corruption and slavery everywhere and some get taken away by a green mist.

Narrowhaven and the Lone Islands are governed by David Vallon as Governor Gumpas. Despite their protests, Gumpas sends Caspian and Edmund to prison and Lucy and Eustace to the slave market.

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In prison, Caspian and Edmund meet Terry Norris as Lord Bern, one of the seven Lords of Narnia. He tells Caspian and Edmund what happened to the Lone Islands and what the odd green mist is all about.

Very soon, Reepicheep and Drinian come to the rescue and save Caspian, Edmund, Lucy and Eustace as the Battle of Narrowhaven takes place. All gets restored to the Lone Islands and the slavery ends.

On leaving Narrowhaven, Lord Bern gives to Caspian one of the Seven Swords of the seven Lords of Narnia. Caspian and his friends have to find the six other swords during their quest on their voyage.

The second port of call on the voyage is to Coriakin’s Island. It seems to be deserted at first when Caspian and his friends arrive there. But during the night, Lucy gets abducted by invisible creatures.

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The invisible creatures force Lucy to go inside Coriakin’s Mansion that is also invisible. They want Lucy to speak the spell to ‘make the unseen seen’ and stop being invisible. Lucy reluctantly agrees.

In the mansion, Lucy finds the magician’s book called ‘The Book of Incantations’. She reads through it and is tempted by some spells, including to be beautiful like Susan. She soon finds what she wants.

Lucy speaks the spell to make the unseen ‘seen’. The invisible creatures turn out to be Dufflepuds. They’re like dwarfs with one foot that they jump up and down on and aren’t altogether very bright.

The Dawn Treader crew soon meet Bille Brown as Coriakin, the magician on the island. Coriakin helps Caspian and his friends by giving them information about the green mist and about their quest.

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Coriakin instructs the voyagers to find the six other swords of the seven Lords of Narnia and place them on Aslan’s Table on Ramandu’s Island. This is to help defeat the great evil from the Dark Island.

But Coriakin warns Caspian and his friends that each one of them will be tested, as there is darkness and temptation on the way. This is what is inside the green mist that emanates from the Dark Island.

Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) returns in ‘Dawn Treader’. I liked how Aslan appears to Lucy during her dream when she’s tempted to be beautiful like Susan and he also helps Eustace from a predicament.

The Dawn Treader also faces perils as the ship journeys through a terrible storm. The storm scenes are very effective and it made me feel like I was out on the open rugged sea with the crew aboard.

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Our heroes soon visit Deathwater Island on their voyage. Lucy, Edmund and Caspian explore to find a magical pool with one of the seven Lords dead inside it. The magical pool can turn things into gold.

As they recover the sword from the dead Lord, temptation creeps in as Edmund is lured by the water turning things into gold. I liked that scene where there is tension between Edmund and Caspian.

Meanwhile, Eustace has an adventure of his own and he too finds a rock pit full of treasure. He too is tempted, as he steals treasure from the rock pit. He is soon transformed into a fire breathing dragon!

I liked Eustace the Dragon. The CGI of the dragon is very good and I liked how the scenes were done between Reepicheep and the Dragon. Eustace stays a dragon for a long while compared to the book.

Finding the third sword of another dead Lord on Deathwater’s Island, our heroes soon see the Star of Ramandu. They follow it as the Dawn Treader sets forth to Ramandu’s Island and to find answers.

At Ramandu’s Island, the heroes find Aslan’s Table and three of the seven Lords of Narnia asleep with their swords placed on the table. Laura Brent as Lilliandil, daughter of Ramandu greets them.

I liked Laura Brent as Lillinadil. She guides Caspian and his friends in their quest as they are to find the seventh and last Lord of Narnia with his sword inside the Dark Island and defeat the evil inside.

Taking on the challenge, the Dawn Treader journeys forth to venture into the Dark Island where evil lurks. There they find Bruce Spence as Lord Rhoop with his sword. They take him aboard to safety.

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But the Dark Island tempts out heroes including Edmund who sees Tilda Swinton as the White Witch and causes a battle with a deadly Sea Serpent in the ocean. Will this evil of the Dark Island ever end?

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

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The DVD special features of ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ are as follows. There are four ‘deleted scenes’ to enjoy. I wish that these scenes were included in an extended version of the movie. It would have made the DVD release worthwhile and keep in continuity with other DVDs of the series.

There’s also a commentary by director Michael Apted and producer Mark Johnson. I was saddened there wasn’t a cast commentary for the film as for previous ‘Narnia’ films. It would have been nice to have Georgie Henley; Skandar Keynes; Will Pouter and Ben Barnes together for a commentary.

There are also three music videos including ‘There’s A Place Out There For Us’ by E.M.D; ‘Someone Wake Me Up’ by Joe McElderry and ‘Stand Up’ by Stan Walker. I enjoyed these music videos, although I wish that Carrie Underwood’s version of ‘There’s A Place Out There For Us’ was on here.

As I said before, there’s a Digital Copy disc for you to transfer the movie through the company to any portable device like an iPhone; iPad; iPod; Andriod tablet or a PS3 console. I’ve not done this yet.

The Blu-ray of ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ has the following special features. There’s ‘King Caspian’s Guide to the Dawn Treader’; ‘The Secret Islands: Untold Adventures of the Dawn Treader’; four featurettes; location pods; character pods and ‘Search for the 7 Swords’ match game.

There’s also ‘VFX Progression’ with a commentary; ‘Epic Continues’; ‘Portal to Narnia: A Painting Come to Life’; ‘Good vs. Evil: Battle on the Sea’ and a theatrical trailer. The original DVD commentary by Michael Aped and Mark Johnson; the deleted scenes and the three music videos are also on the Blu-ray.

There are also two international trailers for the films ‘Rio’ and ‘Gullivers’ Travels’.

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I enjoyed ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ as a film. It’s a delightful film with the themes of temptation and overcoming evil strongly prominent throughout. This film is also the conclusion to the Pevensie Trilogy as this is the last story to feature Lucy and Edmund in Narnia which is very sad.

I’m saddened that there haven’t been any more ‘Narnia’ films made since ‘Dawn Treader’ in 2010. I hoped that they would make ‘The Silver Chair’ next as that seemed to be implied at the end of the film. It’s sad to think that the ‘Narnia’ film series has died out on quiet note as they are great films.

I hope this isn’t the end of the ‘Narnia’ film series. I would like to see more films at the cinema. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ are great stories to enjoy in book and film form. I’m sure you’ll enjoy these!

‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ rating – 8/10


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