Director: Michael Apted
Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter, Gary Sweet, Simon Pegg, Tilda Swinton, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley
Synopsis: Lucy (Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Keynes) are once again drawn into Narnia, this time dragging allong their annoying cousin Eustace Scrubb (Poulter). They join Caspian (Barnes), now king of Narnia, onboard the Dawn Treader, on a mission to find seven missing lords of Narnia whom had fled during the reign of Caspian’s uncle. While on tis quest, they uncover the existence of a severe threat that endanger’s Caspian’s kingdom.
A review by Film Nerd.
This film has been out for a few weeks now, and according to what I have read is not performing well. Some prospective movie-goers may see this as a mark of the poor quality of the film, and this would be an unfortunate conclusion. A film’s performance at the box office is not always the best way to judge what you are going to see, as evidenced by the original Matrix film, which only found an audience with DVD release.
It defies belief that each subsequent Narnia film is performing worse than its predecessor. as really, the films are ironically getting better. Perhaps the somewhat disappointing adaptation of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe may be to blame for this, because the adaptation of Prince Caspian I found to be a rare case of the adaptation exceeding the quality of the source material. Dawn Treader is not a film I would say does the same, but being one of my favourite books in the series, it really does not need improving. The film does however match the quality of what was originally written by C.S. Lewis.
The film achieves this not only by a faithful adaptation, but all round brilliant performances. Keynes and Henley have matured in their acting skills, Barnes has steadily been working since his first appearance in Prince Caspian and has quite a commanding on-screen presence, and Pegg voicing mouse Reepicheep is a real delight. The true find of this film though is Poulter as Eustace. He plays an annoying character in such a way as to make it the most entertaining person to watch. I think director Apted must have realised this, as Eustace was utilised as narrator of the film, which also served to introduce the uninitiated to the story. I look forward to seeing Poulter again in The Silver Chair, should the film get greenlit despite the current box office. In a supporting role, special mention should also go to Gary Sweet as Drinian, who was so immersed in the role of captain of the Dawn Treader, it took me a couple of scenes to realise it was him.
I am making no claim the film was perfect. The nature of the book did make the story telling a little episodic, so this interrupted the flow of the narrative somewhat. Also, being a fan of the novels, there were certain moments I would not have minded seeing expanded upon. These are overall minor quibbles, given that it was a film I was just happy to sit back and enjoy, and a tear was even brought to the eye quite unexpectedly at the end. I am sure Bride of Film Nerd would also have wiped her face a bit if she was not too busy laughing at my father wiping HIS face.
Yes, this is a film very strong on Christian allegory, and I understand this may turn many people off in today’s society. If you can at least accept this fact and you are not too concerned over the religious messages one way or the other, this is a good film to see to fill in some of those uneventful holiday hours. I will stop short of begging people to see it, as I repeat, given Poulter’s performance, I really want to see The Silver Chair get made!!
3.5 stars out of 5