Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Exploration of an Inner Journey

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(3.5 out of 5 starfish)

Continued from previous Narnia movies, Lucy and her brother Edmund, embark on an adventure in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” the third film in the series opening December 10, 2010.

The journey takes them beyond Narnia itself. Lucy and Edmond seem like ordinary kids, but they are King and Queen in the imaginary land of Narnia. Today, however, they are going to visit their cranky young cousin Eustace, who doesn’t believe fairly tales and imaginary things until he sees them come alive.

Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and their friend King Caspian have to restore peace to Narnia by vanquishing the evil there. However, to defeat the evil outside, they must first confront the evil in themselves: vanity, greed, and thirst for power.

The film is worthy of 3.5 starfish. It has great visuals and the storyline is captivating. I liked most of the character design from this live action film with lots of CGI effects, except the sea serpent.

One of my favorite scenes is early on in the film when the sea in the oil painting on the wall begins to move and water starts to gush out from the sea to fill Eustace’s room!

Watching this film, I realize how much great music adds to a story. Can you imagine a film with only talking and no music?That would be a truly bland and boring experience. The music here brings you to the magic world. At times, the music intensifies to make you feel tense during fighting scenes. Other times, it relaxes you when the ship crew is on the row boats in the calm sea covered with stunning white flowers that are “out of this world!” This is my favorite scene.

My favorite character is Reepicheep, a talkative, sword-fighting rat. He is cute, funny, quick-witted, courageous, and optimistic. Even the worst-tempered brat Eustace noticed his optimism: “Reepicheep is one of those ‘glass is half-full’ people (or rats?).” Reepicheep is also patient with Eustace who hates him at first, “please don’t make me go back to the rat!” But gradually, Eustace starts to like Reepicheep whose charm and wisdom win him over.

Other than Reepicheep, Eustace is the most memorable character. He is selfish, stubborn, greedy, keeping a secret journal and looking down upon everybody except himself. The young actor Will Poulter who played Eustace is “Perrific!” However, I don’t believe Eustace can be fully transformed in the end.

Like Eustace, today’s children have lost much of their imagination as they grow older. A few have retained their imagination and wonder, such as Lucy in the film. I think I am more like Lucy because I love to imagine and create things all the time.

I read that kids today spend 7.5 hours a day on average on electronic devices (video games, TV, computer, etc.) which drain creative energy and make your mind lazy if uncontrolled. If the trend continues, our nation could become a bunch of couch potatoes! I hardly ever watch TV (though I do watch my favorite Disney TV show Phineas & Ferb online), and spend less than an hour a day on computer for homework, emailing friends, taking care of virtual pets, etc. Besides doing homework, I spend my time reading, drawing, playing in the backyard, and flying kite in the park. I think there is still hope for kids to regain their imagination, just like Eustace did, if they are exposed and encouraged to create and open their mind.

There are a few flaws in the film: After being rammed by a colossal sea serpent, the ship Dawn Treader appears untouched! Also, it doesn’t make sense to me that Eustace becomes a dragon when he takes the magic gold while the same action killed another man! Why does fate treat him better?!

Among the three Narnia films, my favorite is the first one, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” where Lucy was much younger and more innocent, and the film had more wonder and fantasy in it. The newest Narnia film is my second favorite which I recommend to kids and adults alike.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is a fantastic journey to explore the inner self. To defeat evil around you, you must first conquer the evil temptations within yourself.

Copyright 2010 by Perry S. Chen
At 10, Perry Chen is the youngest award-winning entertainment critic, TV personality, Annie Awards presenter, filmmaker/animator, and radio host, reviewing movies and entertainment with his trademark kids-friendly starfish from a child’s perspective. Perry became a national sensation on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and National Public Radio (NPR) with Liane Hansen, and a frequent star on the red carpet at film festivals and premiers. He is the youngest columnist for the San Diego Entertainer Magazine and recently won the San Diego Press Club 2010 Excellence in Journalism Awards. “The Young Icons,” a nationally syndicated TV show featured Perry on Nov 20, 2010. He recently joined Amazing Kids online magazine over 800,000 readers as its first resident film critic, and was also featured on Variety for being one of the leading young film critics:

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