The third installment in the Chronicles of Narnia film series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, provides enough fun and excitement to entertain younger viewers, but fans of the series and older audiences will likely be disappointed by the differences from the book.
Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are called back into the world of Narnia through a mysterious painting. This time, instead of being accompanied by their older siblings, Peter and Susan, the younger Pevensie kids are joined by their obnoxious cousin Eustace. They find themselves onboard a Narnian ship known as The Dawn Treader, captained by King Caspian, who helped the Pevensies on their previous adventure. A mysterious green mist is spreading across Narnia, striking terror and despair into its inhabitants. On top of that, people are disappearing. Together, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and the rest of the Dawn Treader crew must find the source of the mist and destroy it before all of Narnia is engulfed in darkness.
The three young leads, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, and Georgie Henley do a fine job as Edmund, Caspian, and Lucy, respectively, but the real star here is franchise newcomer Will Poulter. Thanks to his incredible acting, he brings Eustace’s character to life convincingly and effortlessly. Eustace remains one of the most interesting and complex characters in the Narnia series, and Poulter pulls off the role with flying colors. Eustace’s character development and growth stand out as one of the strongest aspects of the film. Simon Pegg voices the quick-talking mouse warrior Reepicheep, who turns out to be a real pleasure to watch onscreen.
The film strays a bit too far from the source material, making it the least faithful of the Narnia films. This may not sit well with passionate fans of the books, especially those who were pleased with the relatively faithful first two installments. Another issue with the film that may bother older viewers is the pacing. There are genuine moments between certain characters, and then an action scene is thrown in to keep audiences interested. In fact, many of the action sequences feel thrown together and unnecessary, which detracts from the time that could be spent further developing supporting characters.
Despite its problems, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is entertaining enough, but older viewers might need more than choppy action scenes and colorful special effects to stay interested.
3 out of 5 stars