Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter
Perhaps the most anticipated film of the year
for Christians worldwide, the third movie in The Chronicles of Narnia series
finally makes a splash in theaters this weekend.
And make a splash it does. Set years after
the events of the second film, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader opens with the
two younger Pevensies, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie
Henley), being swallowed into a painting, transporting them back to Narnia
along with their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). They join the new king
of Narnia, Caspian (Ben Barnes) in his quest to find seven lost lords to save
Narnia from a corrupting evil that resides on a dark island.
Dawn Treader more than holds its own to Prince Caspian
and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as a fast-paced adventure with
special effects that tops its first two predecessors. The first in the movie
series in 3D, Dawn Treader makes good use of the technology with
edge-of-your-seat action, featuring swashbuckling sword fights, a
fire-breathing dragon and stomach-churning choppy seas.
Having read Dawn Treader earlier this
year to my three young boys—Alex, Andrew and Chase—I was curious to see if the
screenplay stayed true to the book. Although there were several changes to the
story, including eliminating some characters, the film adapted the book well
Especially spot on is the portrayal by Poulter
as the whiny cousin Eustace, who is literally transformed into an unlikely hero
as the danger heightens. His unusual hate-love relationship with braveheart
mouse Reepicheep is funny and touching. Eustace nearly steals the movie like
Ken (played by Michael Keaton) stole scenes in Toy Story 3.
Christians will be especially pleased that Dawn
Treader does a better job of communicating the spiritual themes in Lewis’
books than Prince Caspian—criticized by some for its overuse of epic
battles ala The Lord of Ring film series.
Dawn Treader carries several biblical messages about
being content, redemption and fighting temptation and redemption as a result of
repentance as well as resisting envy, pride and greed. Mirroring a line
from the book, the movie even has Aslan telling Edmund and Lucy that they will
not return to Narnia, but the siblings should learn to know him by another name
in their own world.
Rated PG, Dawn Treader does feature
some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action. Parents with young
children will want to exercise caution with taking them to watch the movie,
which has an intense climax that rivals strong action scenes from the Pirates
of the Caribbean film series.
Overall, Dawn Treader may be the most
enjoyable installment in the famed fantasy series. “Eustace was annoying, but funny,” Alex, 9, points out. “Dawn
Treader was nonstop action.”
Andrew, 7, adds: “It was the most fun Narnia
Amen to that. I’m hoping the film will rival
the box-office power of Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows: Part 1, and moviegoers will once again cry out “for