Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawntreader, some thoughts.

Tonight my wife and went to a movie for the first time in many, MANY months. As the title suggests, it was the latest of the Narnia series.

All of us, for the most part, as children have a place in our minds and dreams of a world we go to retreat from the troubles of everyday life. There are the bullies, the chores, the fears, the hates, the drag of day to day living. For most of us, it is a fantastical world where we are the kings or queens, and everyone loves us and reveres us. For me, I was a super hero. I was Superman, or someone relatively close to what he is. Invincible, nobody could touch me and I was able to stop all the evil in the world.

When I watched The Voyage of the Dawntreader, I felt the same feelings inside that I felt as a child, hiding away from the latest bully or the latest school day. I sat in that theatre with my bag of popcorn and my bladder buster coke and ate this movie up with a vigor I hadn't felt in a long time. I sat there like I was that 10 year old boy again, seeing the joyous fantastical world that was created by my mind. The long vistas, the adventure of a lifetime, all was pouring out of the screen before me. I didn't want it to end, and when the credits rolled, I was sad and wanted more.

(Spoilers ahead)

Technically, the movie severely lacks when it compares to Avatar. It's 3D felt tacked on as an after thought. It was more comparable to Clash of the Titans. It did enough to bring me into the film more, so in a sense it did do what I feel 3D should and bring more immersion to a film experience. Visually the movie, outside of the 3D, was astounding. The Dawntreader was a beautiful craft. The animals, Reepicheep the mouse, Azlan the Lion, and Eustace the Dragon, plus the wonderful denizens of Narnia, were a sight to behold. Each whisker, freckle, skale, and horn was rendered beautifully and in comparison to much of what we see in the realm of 3D animation, puts almost all to shame.

Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and all human parts were played believably and wonderfully. Eustace in particular stole the show and was quite convincing. At the start of the movie, he literally makes you hate him, and by the end, makes you love him. What an amazing actor this Will Poulter is at such a young age. You don't see a child playing in a movie (such as Skandar Keynes was in the first movie, The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe), you see a character in the movie growing before your eyes, learning to become the man he needs to be for such an extraordinary situation.

Caspian, played by Ben Barnes, was dashing. Many a young hearts will swoon when they see him on screen. Barnes' portrayal of Caspian was far better than his last outing, and will even inspire thoughts of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in the now legendary Lord of the Ring trilogy. Edmund and Lucy, played by Keynes and Georgie Henley, were servicable in their portrayals, serving more as a perspective for the audience to this fantastical world of Narnia, than the children they play.

The religious aspect of the Narnia series is a nuisance for me. Azlan is God of course, but do we need to hear him say this at the end of the film? This in itself really took away from the adventure, fantasy, and joy of the film for me, and I feel it will keep many people in a society that is growing more atheist by the day. The horrors wrought on society as a whole by organized religion are now showing as scars upon us all. But I won't get into this one, as it is a discussion for another time.

All in all, this is a fantastic Christmas epic that should be experienced by all fantasy lovers and fans of the books. I have never read the books and really do not care to. But should this film franchise continue, I will always be ready to relive my childhood fantasies, and buying a ticket.


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