The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)

(In theaters, December 2010) I’ve had a particular lack of affection for the Narnia series so far, and while this third entry is a bit better than the first two, it’s not enough to make me think any more fondly about the trilogy: it’s still a colossal waste of resources in the service of fantasy adaptations that have been hammered in a generic Hollywood fantasy-film plot template.  This time, it’s less Lord of the Rings and more Pirates of the Caribbean as the adventure shifts locales to a boat going from island to island.  Taking the two most annoying Pensieve children and adding a quasi-insupportable twerp of a cousin to the mix, Dawn Treader, like its predecessors, patiently waits for Aslan to show up so that the series’ usual deus ex leo and religious allegory quota can be neatly fulfilled.  What saves the film from a complete lack of interest are the more diverse nature of the adventures at sea and on land, culminating in a familiar battle between heroes and sea monster.  Numerous nods to the two previous volumes help wrap up the Pensieve trilogy of the Narnia series, leading one to hope that this may act as a natural stopping point for any effort to adapt more of C.S. Lewis’ novels to the big screen.  Dawn Treader already creaks under a complete re-structuring of the novel’s plot in order to fit a standard Hollywood plot formula.  There’s no need for more.

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