Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Chronicles of Narnia: 
The Voyage of the 
Dawn Treader

cast & credits
Edmund Skandar Keynes
Lucy Georgie Henley
Eustace Will Poulter
Caspian Ben Barnes
White Witch Tilda Swinton
Reepicheep (voice) Simon Pegg
Aslan (voice) Liam Neeson

20th Century-Fox presents a film directed by Michael Apted. Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroni, based on books by C.S. Lewis. Running time: 115 minutes. Rated PG (for some frightening images and sequences of fantasy action )

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is an old fashioned type of journey that probably would have benefitted from some of the old Ray Harryhousen charm. Audiences are more weaned these days to accept a certain amount of commonality between the use of new tech effects and a certain kind of entertainment. Not that I mind this kind of “Andy Griffith Show” level of conflict and motivation, quaint as it is.... and also comfortingly safe, but if a movie is going to be “out of time” then it should give the feeling of being classical, in a sense. At least that is my opinion.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” third of the films inspired by the C. S. Lewis tales, once again requires the services of English children to rescue an alternate universe. The how and the why’s of the journey of the principles is a bit lost among the train of events that literally drags them from everyday life and into a painting that contains another parallel universe. These charmingly 1940’s British children are heroic beyond their years, and really only useful for teaching certain character traits to the youth group present in the theater. And mighty good lessons they are, too. Lessons of self sacrifice, self acceptance as a special, unique person, finishing a job one has set out to do, and so forth.    

The main principles, Lucy and her brother Edmond, are kids on one world but Kings and Queens in Narnia. They at first find their existence in our world to be tedious and unfulfilling, and they are overjoyed to be thrust as they are back into Narnia’s universe. With real kids of their age, I envision a bit more brattiness and fumbling around on their own two feet. But not these two, nor do the others of the crew who lead and attend the ship  “The Dawn Treader” show any real youth that I am accustomed to seeing, small fry in the theater will buy it hook, line and sinker I am certain.

Once we are given a rather long introduction to the main story line, one which had me wondering if the movie was really three hours long, or perhaps the ending wraps up in about three minutes, we’re told that Narnia is threatened by a mysterious island of evil that the people are sacrificing their citizens to in the hopes of appeasing the evil that lives there. It’s all very amorphous and doesn’t provide us with someone or something to connect with and dislike, but we are a bit drawn in by the plight of one little girl who stows away on the ship because her mother is given to the evil island by the bad guys in a boat full of captured citizens that disappears into the green mist.

Our heroes must find seven swords of the seven lords  and return them to a dinner table of the “big kahuna”, Aslan (the talking lion) in order to break the spell. What happens next is something between Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones, but without any of the bounce those two bring to the table. The story is basically a quest movie, a la “Lord of the Rings” or even “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The events are one thing then another and then another. But the tension and danger of each episode is so brief and so low level that only someone under 9 years old would not notice the banality of the proceedings.  

There are, of course, plenty of visuals to delight the young at heart and also some amazingly rendered talking animals, a rat, a bull, and the huge lion, that tell the viewer just who the movie is really aimed at, and that makes all the quaint, old fashioned storytelling completely forgivable. You’ll have NO problems bringing even the littlest of kids to this movie, and if you haven’t done that in a while, you might consider it just for the outing. 

When you see the Dawn Treader ship yourself, you’ll smile knowingly, but don’t let on to the kids that nothing like that could survive in any other place than in an amusement park. The bad guys are very kid friendly also, the pirates and slave traders being squeaky clean and purposefully inoffensive. If you remember the old “Voyages of Sin Bad” type film, this goes directly in line with that sort of movie making.

The last scene is a bit of an intense ride, as the villain at this time is huge and seemingly more powerful than any of the heroes, as is usually the case for heroic triumph, and the tech rendering is truly, truly amazing. But how all the events that happen in the movie fit into the actual running time, I will never know. I suppose the lack of tension development is the key as we flit from one low level moment to the next. Yes, that must be it.    

One thing is for sure, without all the usual blood and horrific violence, you’ll be left to enjoy the “Richie Cunningham” type performances of the kids in the cast. Especially the young Lucy, who’s face is all “Strawberry Shortcake” and her demeanor may suggest a regressed puberty. But she and her brother, though babies really, are true heroes who can do sword battles with the most experienced adults who mean to do them harm, and the kids succeed. :-) 

Take your young family, or your grand kids, you won’t need to cover their ears or their eyes one time.

3.5/5 Stars

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