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The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Reviewed by Katie Hart

"Voyage takes you on a journey you wish would last a little longer."

Fox and Walden Media bring the third of C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia to the big screen in a movie that could have been great, but was only good.

And by good, I mean in the watch-multiple-times, tell-your-friends-to-see-it, cry-at-the-end way. It was truly a moving film, just plagued by moments that could have been so much better.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader opens with Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) stuck at their aunt and uncle’s house for months and having to put up with their horrible cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). Within a few minutes, the painting of a ship in Lucy’s room comes alive, and the three children are drawn into Narnia and reunited with their old friend Caspian (Ben Barnes). King Caspian has set sail on the Dawn Treader to find the seven lost lords of Narnia.
While Edmund and Lucy are delighted to be in Narnia again, Eustace hates every minute. The ship arrives at their next stop, the Lone Islands, only to find the people of the town of Narrowhaven cowering in fear. A green mist is capturing whole boatloads of people, and the only way to stop it, the group later discovers, is to place the seven swords of the Narnian lords at Aslan’s table.

The best part of this movie was Will Poulter as Eustace. From the instant he was introduced (journaling surrounded by bugs and beetles), he fit the character perfectly. His friendship with the talking mouse Reepicheep grew naturally and portrayed the power of encouragement. It was a pity that so much of Eustace’s journey from spoiled boy to hero was conveyed through computer-generated images, but he will have a chance to reprise the role if The Silver Chair gets made.
While Narnia purists will hate some of the changes that were made to transition the story from book to film (most notably the green mist, the reordering of some of the islands, and a little girl searching for her mother), nearly every event in the book does make it into movie in some fashion. A few were made better, like the foreshadowing and twist on Lucy being tempted by the beauty spell, and Coriakin’s map. Others were disappointedly truncated or only hinted at.

The theme of resisting temptation comes across a little strong, but is a good fit for a film aiming more at family-friendliness than action adventure. The movie is appropriate for children, though younger ones may be frightened by the climactic battle with the sea serpent.

Ultimately, Voyage takes you on a journey you wish would last a little longer. And in the end, you hope, like Eustace, you will get a chance to go back.

MPAA Rating: PG

Katie Hart loves the written word. She's published several articles, poems, and nearly 200 reviews in magazines and websites such as Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, Infuze Magazine, Christian Library Journal, and ChristianBookPreviews.com. She's written two novels and is working on her third, a fantasy. Also a Christian music fan, she helps out regularly with concerts at her church and strives to promote the artists and bands she enjoys. Visit her online at her blog.