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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (6/10)

by Tony Medley

Run Time 115 minutes

OK for children

Dawn Treader is the name of the ship that King Caspian (Ben Barnes) is sailing on a voyage holding the fate of Narnia in its hands. Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henly) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) return to the fantasy land of Narnia, accompanied by their obnoxious cousin Eustace (Clarence Scrubb). They are swept up in a painting of a ship on the high seas and find themselves in the ocean, rescued by Caspian on The Dawn Treader where they get caught up in the quest to save Narnia. What follows is an adventure-laden tale loaded with admirable special effects.

Disney made the first two films in this series. The first, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), was wildly successful, grossing over $745 million. The second, Prince Caspian (2008), earned less than half that and apparently barely broke even. So Disney walked and Fox picked it up. The idea was to return to the concept of the first film and to also cut costs. Prince Caspian was darker and involved advancing armies. It cost around $240 million. Dawn Treader, on the other hand, cost around $155 million, even though it was shot in 3D.

So, did it work? It might. I liked Prince Caspian a lot more than I did Dawn Treader, but Iím not part of the target audience. Families are. One thing that made Prince Caspian more enjoyable for me was that it was shot with a lot of greenery in lush forests while Dawn Treader isnít nearly as colorful.

While they are all fantasies (letís face it, three teenagers are transported to a faraway world that doesnít exist on earth) this one is intended to be lighter and to emphasize the fantasy and adventure.

In fact, after Prince Caspian was in the can, Director Andrew Adamson said that Dawn Treader was to be the story of Reepicheep, a 22-inch tall rat introduced in Caspian voiced by Eddie Izzard in Caspian and Simon Pegg in Dawn Treader. Alas, when Fox took over, Adamson was replaced as Director by Michael Apted, and Reepicheepís role diminished substantially. Now he is mainly a foil for cousin Eustace, a distinctly minor role.

The 3D, while very well done, was pretty much wasted on me. After a few minutes you forget itís in 3D. At least this was shot in real 3D instead of being shot in 2D and converted. Those films are basically unwatchable. 3D might be around for awhile, but my opinion is that itís a waste of money. Iíd rather see a film in 2D and forget the glasses because the extra dimension just doesnít add enough.

I enjoyed this, but thought that it dragged somewhat, even though itís 20 minutes shorter than Prince Caspian.

December 8, 2010