The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Darkness defeated – the new Narnia film brings hope to our own terrors and temptations
To the film’s cast and production crew, it must have seemed like nothing short of a miracle when the Queen stepped onto the red carpet of Leicester Square last Tuesday to make her way into the cinema to watch the world premiere of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Two years ago the film was in jeopardy when Disney pulled out as producers but the film’s maker’s, including veteran English director, Michael Apted, have fought back to make this an energetic and startling third installment of the Narnia series.
In the striking opening scene, Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and their rather pompous cousin, Eustace (Will Poulter) are swept up in a rush of water and into a painting of the Dawn Treader sailing on the seas.
We are back in Narnia where Edmund and Lucy rule as King and Queen, where little boys can turn into dragons, a talking mouse (Reepicheep with the voice of Simon Pegg) fights with a sword and the visible is made invisible with a simple spell.
The children are hurled back into Narnia for a specific purpose of course - there are the seven swords and lost Lords of Telmar to find, to rescue the lost souls who have been captured before mysteriously disappearing into a green haze.
They have their own battles to overcome; Lucy desperate to be as beautiful as her elder sister Susan, Edmund struggling against his longing for power and Eustace dazzled by a stream of gold. At times their temptations seem inescapable. The battle for the mind is a theme which comes into full force as the Dawn Treader heads deeper into Narnia’s waters: the Captain warns Prince Caspian: ‘staying at sea too long can play tricks on your mind’.
Perhaps the film’s strength lies in the children’s ability to overcome their fears and temptations (with a bit of Aslan’s guidance along the way of course). In an arresting final scene Edmund looks his worst fear right in the eyes and prepares for anything that may come his way.
It is Coriakin (Bille Brown), the wizard who offers the wisdom which resonates over the whole film, ‘To defeat the darkness out there, you must first defeat the darkness within yourself.’
The Christian parallels to these battles are left open to further interpretation but it might be a great place to take the discussion as you chat about this film ewith your friends
It's a vigorous, fast moving action-packed adventure shot beautifully in Australia. Dante Spinotti the cinematographer, has done a masterful work in visually shaping a vast number of imaginative scenes. If you watch the film in 3D the vibrant colours reach out towards you before pulling you backi into thescreen's immediate action.
Perfect Christmas viewing. Enjoy.