(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Doug (vo): Yeah, all right. This is technically a cheat, seeing how this is a Fox movie and it came out before Disney bought Fox, but the first two films were Disney, so screw it, I'm talking about Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Hard to believe this came out over 10 years ago. If you've seen my reviews of the other Narnia movies, you know I like them quite a bit. I only read the first book, but was still very impressed with how they adapted it, and even though I didn't read the second one, I like the film version just fine. But both those films, I enjoyed enough to watch several times. This one, I just saw it when it came out in theaters, and haven't seen it since. My memory was, it was all right. It had some good moments, it had some dumb moments, but it didn't piss me off or blow me away. Seeing it years later...eh...it's about what I still think.
Story[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia once again in a very creative way...that might be my favorite thing about these movies. I just love the ways they get to Narnia. This time, though, they're joined by their pompous cousin Eustace, who's a little too good at this performance, but we'll get to that in a bit. They come across a ship captained by Caspian, and try to figure out why they're there, because everything honestly seems all right. There's no major dangers or anything like that, that is, until they come across this one land, where they sell people into slavery and then send their families off into this mist that just sort of takes them somewhere, they don't even know where, they just say it's a sacrifice, and...I don't know. Let's get them back, I guess. As you'd imagine, on their journeys, they come across all sorts of weird creatures and characters, some good, some bad, but all of it magical, and, of course, it builds up to a great, big climax that, full disclosure, I didn't even remember what they fought in the climax when I saw it years ago. That's not a good sign. That's supposed to be, like, the most memorable part of a movie, isn't it? Or, at least, the most heart-pounding one?
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): Truth be told, I often had to remind myself what the mission even was. There's this girl that sneaks onboard and she's looking for her mother that was taken in the mist, and you don't really see much of her with the mother, she doesn't really talk that much about the mother, she doesn't even have that much of a personality. There might've been a mention or something else of Narnia going to shit or going to the Promised Land, you know, something like that, but it's not made exactly that clear.
(Several clips focusing on the characters are shown)
Doug (vo): So the stakes don't seem especially high, but the characters are still likeable...for the most part. Again, having not read the sequel books, I don't really know what the dilemmas or developments were with the characters, but in this one, they're a little weak. Edmund once again is tempted by the ghost of the White Witch, which, it is kind of funny how Tilda Swinton dies in the first movie, yet somehow, she's in all of these. And sometimes, he has a little competition with Caspian, which is like, "Really? We're doing this?" But give him credit, it's better than Lucy's development. Her big arc is, she wants to be as pretty as her sister. That's really what you're focusing on on this trip? I understand looking up to a sibling and even being jealous of some things, but on this quest, where you have to save people and go on these missions, don't you think you'd be a little more envious of the fact that she could...shoot a bow and arrow perfectly, rule a kingdom? Really? Her looks is what you're focusing on while this adventure is happening?
(Several clips focusing on Eustace are shown)
Doug (vo): But it could be worse. You could be Eustace. Eustace is so over-the-top miserable, it almost works as satire. Don't get me wrong. He's played well, and I'm sure he gave exactly what the director was looking for, but a performance this complain-y and this stuck-up has to have some good writing, and it just doesn't. If he had some good one-liners or comparisons, maybe this would work, but they're not that funny or clever.
Eustace: (various scenes) I've been abducted by my cousin... / Peeving marmot. / ...in some ridiculous-looking boat. / I can only assume that this is the result of poor diet. / He's even more deluded than my cousin.
Doug (vo): So he's just constantly nagging until his arc, and it's like Mr. Freeze and the ice puns in Batman & Robin, like, oh, no, not every line could be an ice pun, but it is. It's the same here. Every line is literally a complaint. There's only one line that got a laugh out of me, and it's when he was trying to escape early on.
Eustace: Oh, you're on a boat in a magical land. Can't you row yourself?
Doug (vo): Yeah, okay, that was pretty good. But, yeah, he gets really annoying really fast, and it's a shame. He can do the dramatic readings actually pretty well. I feel like if they just gave him some better writing, he could turn in something pretty cool.
(Various clips resume showing)
Doug (vo): But, jeesh, I'm talking like I hate this movie, and I really don't. Honestly, these moments aren't even that bad, they're just a little underwhelming. What is effective are the moments where they have to work off of each other, I find this cast actually does have pretty good chemistry. The strange and imaginative characters they come across and some of the funny ways they have to defeat them, and weird little things I wouldn't think would be particularly strong, but actually leave quite an impact.
(Footage focusing on the swashbuckling mouse, Reepicheep, is shown, as well as footage of Aslan, the Great Lion)
Doug (vo): For example, this time, the mouse is played by Simon Pegg, and he's actually...really, really good in this. I didn't have a problem with the mouse in the last film, and Eddie Izzard played him fine, but something about this one, he really has this great charm and charisma and dimension, and I kind of like the rivalry he has with Eustace, but he's trying to teach him lessons as well, and, yeah, even later, he tries to really calm him down and make him feel better, and they have kind of a friendship. Tell you the truth, he probably has the most emotional moment in the movie near the end. It really, really works. Aslan is in it as well, and he's once again voiced by Liam Neeson, and he does fine, but I will say, he looks a little...different. He doesn't look bad, but I can't explain it. Something looks a little more cartoony about him than in the previous films. But he works...fine.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): I think that's the best way I can describe this film. It's...fine. Is anything demanding that you see it? Not especially. But if you do just kind of want to see all the films and want to see these actors grow up and go on another adventure, that's exactly what it is. It's not a great Narnia movie, it's just another Narnia movie. I don't regret seeing it, but I didn't take a ton away from it either. If you're a fan of the Narnia movies and just want to see what happens next just so you can see what happens next, I say check it out. But if you're looking for an emotional roller coaster written by one of the great authors of fantasy, I'd probably say, sail on by.
(A scene showing the Dawn Treader embarking on its voyage is shown)