Opening 16 Dec 2010
Young siblings Lucy and Edmund live with their snotty cousin Eustace in Cambridge. They magically fall into a maritime painting and re-emerge in the Great Eastern Ocean of Narnia, where they are rescued by the good crew of the ship Dawn Treader, a crew composed not only of stalwart sailors, but also talking animals like Reepicheep the mouse (a real star!) and Tavros the minotaur. On board they are reunited with handsome King Caspian (Ben Barnes). Together they must locate the seven lost lords of Telmar, or, more specifically, reunite the lords’ swords in order to lift the curse on Narnia. They sail to five different islands, each of which offers a dangerous threat, e.g., a green fog, the White Witch (Tilda Swinton), the one-legged Duffelpuds, a huge sea creature, etc. Cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) is a typical know-it-all teenaged brat who whines annoyingly until he suffers a life-changing challenge, literally: he is turned into a flying dragon. This alters his take on life and he can only become more mature. I would recommend this solution any time – much cheaper than psychiatrists.
I saw this film cold turkey, i.e., I had never read any of the seven Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, nor seen the first two Narnia films. This time, director Michael Apted assumed responsibility for combining the right amount of action, thrills, relationships, and fantasy creatures. I was thrilled by the photography, the fast pace, the music and the creative ideas. I approve of the moral lessons scattered throughout, often by Aslan the sad-eyed lion (looks and talks like Liam Neeson) such as “Don’t run from who you are” and “Extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people.” The time frame is before the invention of gunpowder – nary a cannon on board. Recommended for children who don’t mind suspense and who think it would be cool to be addressed as “Your Majesty.” Recommended for everyone who enjoyed Robin Hood, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, because this one Narnia film has all that those films offer and more. (Becky Tan)