The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader rightfully restored the whimsy that the franchise needed back. Prince Caspian was a fine action filled return, but the dark realism from the book couldn’t be avoided. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was one of C. S. Lewis’ more popular books. Even I heard of it before knowing anything about The Chronicles of Narnia. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to keep Narnia adaptations alive. Major fans like myself remained faithful, but a simple seafaring adventure just wasn’t enough. Michael Apted became the new director and Walt Disney Pictures made the ill advised decision to give the rights to 20th Century Fox (how ironic). With the older Pevensie children too old for Narnia, the younger Edmund and Lucy are still able to go. They’re staying with their obnoxious bookworm cousin Eustace Scrubb. Back in 2010, I thought Eustace was pretty annoying, but he’s far more entertaining when you know him as a young Will Poulter.
Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are whisked into Narnia when a painting floods the room. They’re picked up by King Caspian, who invites them on a titular voyage of the Dawn Treader. Since only 3 years have passed in Narnia, brave swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep is back too. As someone who doesn’t believe in fairy tales, Eustace does nothing but complain and clash with Reepicheep. Whose voice is now Simon Pegg replacing Eddie Izzard. The decision was due to the greater importance Reepicheep has in the story. In fact, the Christian theme is Reepicheep living a spiritual life as he desires to see Aslan’s Country at the end of the world. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is unique for having no specific villain. Just a group of slave traders who are quickly disposed of. Really it’s an evil green mist that takes over the seas. So Caspian and his loyal shipmates seek to find seven swords belonging to the seven lost Lords of Telmar. They encounter harsh waters and meet a magician on an island inhabited by invisible Dufflepuds. Very bizarre looking dwarves with one giant foot.
They learn about their quest and the tempting nature of the mist. Lucy is first tempted by a desire to be as beautiful as Susan. Even though the actress is far from plain. Peter appears only in a vision where Aslan snaps Lucy out of her obsession. Apart from that, Lucy has become far more of a fighter. Edmund is still a hero worth rooting for, but his past comes back to haunt him. In the form of the White Witch. Edmund and Caspian are like brothers, but they briefly clash as well. King Caspian is far more interesting in his second appearance. With his temptation being the disapproving voice of his father. Eustace is more so tempted by gold that surprisingly turns him into a golden dragon. Which helps make him a better person. The ship is guided by a beautiful blue star that leads them to the final sword. A sea monster is slayed, Aslan restores Eustace, and the end of the world is finally reached. This is sadly another goodbye, but Aslan is indeed known by another name here on Earth. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is good fun, but it feels incomplete without The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.
Preceded by: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian