The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
After the imaginatively staid & boring "Prince Caspian", "Dawn Treader" at least TRIES to claim back some of the whimsical vision of the Narnia world (Eustace dragon, one-legged invisible dwarves, book of incantations), & much of that is pretty decent. Unfortunately, it's drenched in distractingly awful CGI & green screen, even when it seems completely unnecessary. Worse yet, the characters are unbearable, with Edmund having grown into a sniveling brat, & Caspian as vanilla as ever.
The third and final instalment of the recent big-budget adaptations of C. S. Lewis's NARNIA books, VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is a mini-masterpiece in comparison to the strong PRINCE CASPIAN that came before it. As a film, it's fast-paced and engaging, a children's adventure film that feels refreshingly old-fashioned and much like the classic adaptations of Edith Nesbit, for example. I should note that I haven't read the book.The plotting sees the older kids from the first two films jettisoned while the youngsters (Edmund and Lucy) now take their place. Once again, they team up with Caspian (Ben Barnes, never more than one dimensional) to go on an epic maritime adventure, tackling sea monsters, magic and a mysterious green mist en route.A potential problem with VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is that we've seen it all before, but this matters little when the film is so entertaining from the word go. This effects-packed movie features all manner of CGI backdrops and one or two CGI beasties, similar to the Harryhausen epics of old. Will Poulter, as newcomer cousin Eustace, gives a masterful and hilarious performance and a real star-making turn. The movie has a decent pace, the introductory scenes are very well realised (I loved the way the kids access Narnia this time around) and it's more colourful and involving as any PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN film you might name. For me, the trilogy ended on a high.
Boring. Just, boring. From one of the most promising franchises of the 21st century, comes the underwhelming 3rd installment, that lacks the fun and imaginativeness of the first one, and the tension and epic battles of the second. It's dull, confusing, boring and disappointing, and while the CGI and the acting is quite good, you can't stop feeling disappointed. Because it's Narnia, doesn't mean it's good. Some scenes are really cheesy, such as when Lucy is carried by invisible people with only one leg, and when a sea serpent appears, just because that was the first thing that came to his mind. I mean, seriously. You can see it's not Andrew Adamson, and that change of director sort of ruined it. And also, it's sad to see that while Edward and the rest of them are fighting with a sea serpent, Lucy just lounges on the bottom deck. Definitely not worth watching. You'll probably fall asleep by the middle chapter. Terrible. Thanks a lot, Michael Apted. (Sarcasm)
Exit Susan and Peter, enter Eustace. Two of the main protagonists of the previous two movies are replaced by a new one. Just like in the books. But at what price? Will Poulter may have a very characteristic face (which is a good thing), but is one of the worst child actors I've ever seen. On top of that Ben Barnes again plays Prince Caspian (who is almost unrecognizable compared to the previous film) but with no Spanish accent whatsoever. The story feels more like a Pirates of the Caribbean quest this time. With no success, even if the green and blue screens aren't as ugly as in Prince Caspian. These kind of kiddie movies are too predictable, moralistic (the Christian symbolism in this one isn't even remotely subtle anymore) and boring to entertain almost anyone. Or that's what I should hope. Reality proves me wrong. Unfortunately. Maybe that's why hideous films like Eragon, In the Name of the King and The Sorcerer's Apprentice find an audience. I can't speak for The Water Horse, The Seeker, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Inkeart (I haven't seen them), but something tells me it'll be more of the same (just like Seventh Son, which will be released next year). Maybe I should really reconsider watching the Percy Jackson movies, which I was planning to do next year...