Movie Reviews

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

MOVIE REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Kudos to FOX for taking over production of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – the third adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic and beloved series of fantasy novels – since Disney bailed out because the last movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, didn’t do well at the box office.

However, it didn’t do badly either.

If anything, it did decently and it broke even, but Prince Caspian was a hard book to adapt for the big screen as opposed to Voyage, which is arguably the most popular book in the series. Furthermore, Voyage has a lot more high adventure and derring-do in it – it was a fun movie, pure and simple. Director Michael Apted (1999’s The World is Not Enough, a 007 film) really did Lewis’ novel justice in this adaptation, which is in Digital 3D.

The plot has the youngest of the Pevensie children, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (George Henley), living with their relatives, including their obnoxious cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). All three are transported to Narnia via a magic painting where they meet up with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes reprising his role) aboard the Dawn Treader, the prince’s ship.
The three must team up to save Narnia from an “unfathomable fate,” as well as a green mist that consumes everyone in its path. To do so, they must locate the Seven Swords of the Seven Lords and place them upon Aslan’s Table. For the uninitiated, Aslan is a lion (voiced once again by Liam Neeson), who is an obvious Christ-like figure.
Poulter’s screechy voice as the bratty Eustace (who makes Harry Potter’s cousin seem cool) grates on your nerves. Thankfully, the character redeems himself (as to how, you’ll have to see for yourself) and his voice isn’t as annoying. He mellows a lot.

The movie stays true to the book. The older Pevensie siblings Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) aren’t joining their brothers for this fight, but they do make cameos. As does Jadis the White Witch (Twilda Swinton), who tries to bend Edmund to her will like she did in the first movie.
The one who steals the show is 15-year-old Henley, the youngest cast member. Remember in 2005’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Lucy walked among the snow-covered fields of Narnia for the first time? Henley was carried onto the set blindfolded before she saw it. That was smart because her wide-eyed expression of wonderment was authentic.

She has that same expression of wonderment throughout Voyage. She is reminiscent of the late, great Jimmy Stewart who really knew how to act with his face, given the believable expressions he’s made throughout his films.
The acting, the music, the writing, and the directing are top notch. It blows the first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, the seventh movie in that series, out of the water.

RATED PG-13 for some intense and dark scenes. 115 minutes


MOVIE REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

By Kurt Anthony Krug

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the adaptation of the final novel in J.K. Rowling’s phenomenal best-selling series about a boy wizard and his friends battling the forces of evil.

Half of it anyway.

The other half will debut in July 2011. The book is over 750 pages and Harry Potter fans – who are a rabid fan-base that are as passionate and loyal to Rowling as Trekkies are to Star Trek – would be up in arms if a good chunk of the book was cut to fit it in one movie. So, like Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, it’s divided into two movies.
It’s also blatantly obvious that Hollywood’s doing it this way because it’s the last book and the bean-counters want to run this gravy train for as long as it can go. Afterwards, it’s over and done… unless Hollywood remakes the movie series with new actors (note to Hollywood: do everyone a favor and don’t… at least until 100 years have passed since the books are proving as popular as The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings).

Understand, I stopped reading the books after the second installment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I am NOT saying the books are bad; I’m saying that they just did not hold my interest, nor did I care about the characters the way many others do. I know that’s committing a cardinal sin, but it’s true. Obviously, I’m in the minority.

I have, however, enjoyed the movies. I like the actors and how they bring these beloved characters to life, I like the musical score, and I like the different directors that have given their vision of the Potter mythos, whether it’s Chris Columbus with 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – the first installment based on the first book – or David Yates, who also directed 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

However, this movie is boring. A whole lot of nothing goes on. You think that wouldn’t happen since Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), the arch-nemesis of the bespectacled wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) who has a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his brow, killed Prof. Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), Harry’s mentor and friend, and assumed command over the Ministry of Magic in the previous installment, Half-Blood Prince.

But it does.

The movie has some action scenes and funny moments, but mostly it focuses on the love triangle between longtime friends Harry, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint). There are forces at work that conspire to tear the three apart, which it does for a spell (nice choice of words, eh?), but this subplot drags out for far toooooooooooooo long.

It’s just a blatant setup for the second part that comes out next summer.

RATED PG-13 for some intense and dark scenes. 146 minutes.