The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (PG)
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Time Out says
Tue Dec 7 2010If you can detect nostalgic hues of red, white and blue in the American-financed trilogy of adaptations of CS Lewis’s crypto-Christian ‘Narnia’ Chronicles – the Plantagenet red of Peter Pevensie’s battle dress, the hoary blanche of the White Witch – it is the wild blue yonder and vast aquamarine skies that dominate this rollicking, third, seafaring episode.
Here, the younger Pevensies, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes), with prig cousin Eustace (Will Poulter), take the helm. They’re swept up in a wave of brine cascading from a painting in their Cambridge home, to be reunited with Prince, now King, Caspian (Ben Barnes) and mouse Reepicheep aboard retro Elizabethan galleon The Dawn Treader. Island-hopping, incarceration, battles with ghosts, Barbary-style slave traders and the temptations of magician Coriakin’s enabling spells all ensue in the royal party’s quest for Narnian peace.
It’s an episodic progression, richly, kinetically rendered by new director Michael Apted – but one lacking real momentum or, in its widened group of heroes, stable identification figures. And, whereas Andrew Adamson (director of the first two films) had an affectionate take on the kids’ antiquated manners, Apted’s approach is more self-conscious – such that Henley and Keynes’s youthful heroism appears more naive or to be mere posturing. Likewise, as the film goes on, Apted is more mesmerised and swamped by the film’s 3D and other visual effects, which coarsens the charm and invites negative comparison with the grandeur of those provided by its ‘Potter’ or ‘Ring’ rivals. That said, this Narnia provides rousing enough young family entertainment – though there’s less to engage maturer Lewis fans and possible disappointment for older teenagers.
Author: Wally Hammond