I finally got to see the latest adaption of the Narnia books by Disney – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This was always going to be a harder one to do given the episodic nature of the book, the lack of a real villain, and there not really being a big battle sequence at the end of the book that you can build up to – but I think the film manages to overcome these issues quite well – though of course if you’re a fan of your films being faithful to the text you’re going to be disappointed.
I found the idea of the “Dark Island” in a way rather stupid – it’s a name I expected to see for one of the islands in the Monkey Island games and I don’t think it was really explored that well – once again the idea of the evil green mist was a nice adaption to give a bit more of a present threat throughout the film but at the same time was never really explained or given much to do except for creating shades (and towards the end of the film being a rip-off of Ghostbusters).
I felt the different islands that were visited as the voyage of the Dawn Treader were all fantastically realised – really taking the magical feel of the series to a new level – especially the magicians mansion, and the bell room on the first island – this looks a gorgeous set which is barely used which is a shame given the work that appears to have gone into it.
Once again the beasts and creatures of Narnia are really well represented – the minotaur’s and fauns making a reappearance along with a Goat creature whose there in the background. Reepicheep is also back but appears to have quadrupled in size since the last film – I’m sure he was the size of a mouse in Prince Caspian and is now more a possum/very large rat size, though looking at some screenshots this could be my memory playing tricks… Simon Pegg seems to be taking great delight in playing this character and the voice acting is fantastic though I don’t think I’ll ever get over Aslan being played by Liam Neeson.
The acting on the whole is good throughout the film – Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley all reprising their roles and performing well – it’s nice in a way to see them grow in the way the characters have what with the gaps between making the films. Will Poulter who appears as Eustance however steals the show – he’s mastered comic timing and sells the journey of Eustace of spoilt brat to a more rounded human being very cleverly – you don’t like him, but you feel for him. There was one girl who is added as a stowaway early on in the film who I found annoying every time she appeared – her acting wasn’t good, and she also seemed to sap acting abilities for the actors around her whilst she was in the scene – fortunately she was kept to a bit of a side role.
So overall an enjoyable yarn – it’s not the best of the Narnia series and I’ve seen better films this year – but sometimes you want a fun family film and this will provide.