Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Directed by Michael Apted.
2010. Rated PG, 113 minutes.
Georgie Henley
Skandar Keynes
Ben Barnes
Will Poulter
Tilda Swinton
Gary Sweet
Terry Norris
Bruce Spence
Bille Brown
Laura Brent

Simon Pegg

Edmund (Keynes) and Lucy (Henley) are back for a third adventure in Narnia. Even though I stopped caring about halfway through their second, so am I. What’d you say? There are two other kids that were involved in those first two tales? Apparently, they’re getting too old for talking lions and saving mythical worlds. As penance, they’ve been shipped off to where all of us unimaginative slobs go: America. If you miss them that much, we do get to see them from time to time, briefly. The older sister is even of minor consequence. Well, not her exactly but how she looks. Am I rambling? This movie does the same, giving it a very At World’s End kind of feel. That movie being from another franchise burdened with intolerably long titles: The Pirates of the Caribbean. Reminding one of that installment of the franchise isn’t a good thing. With that in mind, I’ll give it my best shot.

We find our two young heroes now living with an uncle who’s face we never see. That’s because the only shots of him are of him hiding behind the newspaper he’s reading. This is fitting because like all regular world adults in this series, he’s completely irrelevant. The important thing is that they can’t stand their cousin Eustace (Poulter) and the feeling is mutual. Lo and behold, during a gripe session between the three, the water in the painting on the wall starts moving, pours from the canvas, fills up an entire bedroom and miraculously drops the trio into the middle of an ocean on Narnia. Wouldn’t you know it? They’re right in the path of a giant ship helmed by none other than Prince Caspian (Barnes). Technically, he doesn’t helm the ship, there is a captain. However, that guy pretty much gets told to ‘shut up and know your role’ whenever he dares attempting to impart some of his wisdom. Well, not in those words. That’s just what it sounded like to me. Anyhoo, Caspian tells our heroes that world peace has been achieved on Narnia. Since they’re accustomed to being called upon only when there is trouble afoot, the kids have no idea why they’re here. Eventually, the find out that some neon green mist that must have escaped from an eighties hair band concert periodically shows up and snatches up small boats full of people. Somehow, it’s decided that the only way to stop this is to gather up the seven mostest specialest swords in all the land and arrange them all together in cute little design. Before we actually get to that point, lots of stuff happens.By stuff, I mean a barely coherent string of events that hope they’re exciting because so much is going on.

Lots of things come up and go unresolved in favor of an action scene and moving on to the next “thrilling” event. Like the aforementioned At World’s End, it keeps flinging things at the screen until it becomes convoluted. It also doesn’t always follow its own rules. For instance, a particular bracelet seems to have killed the person its found on, but does something far different to Eustace. Other things just keep happening. Even a light saber fight suddenly breaks out. It all gets to be a bit of a mess.

For all its lack of focus, this is never a boring movie. Nonsensical? Sure. Boring? No. It consistently gives us interesting visuals. Of course, there’s all that swashbuckling going on. And most of the characters are just dumb enough to keep things interesting. So, in the end you find time has gone by quickly. Thankfully. As for what exactly happened during that period, you might not be entirely sure.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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