When The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion. The Witch and The Wardrobe

was released back in December 2005, the anticipation was well worth the wait. Disney’s

magic and Andrew Adamson’s direction of the talented young cast brought C.S. Lewis’

novel to life with a distinctive Christian message for all. This was no accident. Lewis

meant for it to be portrayed as such.

Unfortunately, Prince Caspian , released three years later, didn’t quite match up

with it’s predecessor. Despite the epic Lord of the Ring type battles, the magic and the

message from the first one just wasn’t there.

Director Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough), attempts to ( as the tagline

reads), return to magic and the message in this third installment, The Chronicles of Nar-

nia: The Voyage of  The Dawn Treader. As the newest helmer of the franchise, his versa-

tility for drama is certainly not limited to children’s fantasy.

As World War 2 rages on, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar

Keynes) Pevensie, now well in their teens, are without their older siblings Peter and

Susan who are studying for university exams and traveling across America with their

parents respectively. They’re presently living with their Aunt Alberta and Uncle Harold,

much to the chagrin of their irritant cousin Eustace who defines the uncompromising

reality that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives.

Essentially, it’s this annoying character, played by Son of Rambow’s Will

Poulter, that adds real spice to the Dawn Treader. Despite his cynicism, Eustace ap-

parently likes to write and keeps a diary which at various times keeps you abreast of

what’s going on. His naughty, comical antics are the laugh relief.  Especially in one

encounter with the irrepressible, sword wielding Reepicheep.

All three are transported to Narnia via a beautiful painting of a ship at sea hang-

ing in the boys’ room. The ocean waters come to glorious life, flooding the place while

they’re helpless splashing seems to pull them deeper. Eustace, of course is the most

freaked out. Swimming for their lives, they finally surface for air in the Narnian oceans

only to see a life size version of the ship in the painting flowing towards them. They’re

brought onboard by the crew of the Dawn Treader, under the command of King Caspian

(Ben Barnes). Any chaotic confusion that Lucy and Edmund may have suffered vanishes

instantly as far as their whereabouts are concerned.

But it’s why they’ve been brought back to Narnia that gives Luce and Edmund

pause. And was is really necessary to have Eustace dragged along with them? Finding the

answers is challenging to them and us as the trio faces raging ocean storms, a mysterious

green mist with interesting qualities and new enemies who will test their imposing figh-

ting skills, all in a gallant effort once again to save Narnia.

Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes continually mature as actors, taking center

stage and commanding your attention unpretentiously. William Moseley and Anna Pop-

Plewell do make a brief appearance as Peter and Susan, but it’s Lucy and Edmund who

have all the “fun” this time. Their performances are not hampered by the absence of the

eldest ones. You may be a little amazed how well they handle all those medieval weapons

too.

Accompanied by a vibrant score from Alexander Desplat, eye-popping special f /x

from the likes of  Cinesite and the return of  the inimitable Liam Neeson as the voice of

Aslan, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has (maybe)

Marked the return of as franchise that will continue successfully-if the studios can

stick to C.S. Lewis’ real message.