There comes a point in every franchise when a movie will make or break the future of the series, for Narnia this is it. After surviving a massive budget cut, a studio change and a writers strike Narnia 3 is FINALLY here but the question is will it secure the future of the series especially with a new director at the helm?
Quite simply the answer is Yes! Unlike other meant for children but we'll make it darker to add wider appeal and make it cool, Fox 2000 and Walden Media have decided to turn the series around and make the movie for the audience the books and CS Lewis intended it for, children. This dramatic change should appeal to the broader market with a softer rating and the kind of movie your whole family could go and see no matter the age. The teasers have been telling us "Return To Magic" and it really is, for me nothing will ever hold a candle to the first Narnia (LWW) and this one doesn't but it is a separate chapter in the Chronicles that will allow you to escape from the world for two hours and transport you to Narnia and give you enough feel good fuzzy at the end to walk out smiling.
The story has been dramatically changed from the book, this is seen all the time in adaption and can be understood, the addition of Gael gives Lucy a companion on the Dawn Treader but feels a little out of place in parts. Eustace becoming the dragon is quite rushed and doesn't quite translate on screen how I hoped but the effects where fantastic, the relationship between Eustace the dragon and Reepicheep was done beautifully, you couldn't ask for better chemistry between two CG characters.
Being filmed in Australia we are all proud of our country and it is definitely presented in a beautiful and amazing way that makes you believe you are in Narnia. The design of the Dawn Treader was breathtaking on screen and the water was amazing I think this is the most believable CG water and ship work on film ever. The addition of the white witch still concerns me alot as much as I love Tilda Swinton as this character I wish they would film the Magicians Nephew and just be done with that character her presence also makes you question why?
The Dufflepuds where a let down, they where too scarce in the film and maybe a extended version would see more of them as they provided much needed relief from the slavery scene and really helped to add to the magical element of the film. The best is definitely saved for last as Doug Gresham has been telling us, the final scene is breath-taking, tear-jerking and all round perfect finish for the "Pevensie" trilogy, you find closure for the characters who aren't returning to Narnia and Eustace is that loveable and believeable it's going to be easy to accept him as the new lead in "The Silver Chair" (if it gets made)
Overall The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader is well worth the wait, take your kids, take your friends and let's save this franchise! Harry Potter is going to be over next year and we need something fantasy wise, I hope Disney are biting their nails right now because dropping Narnia from their company might just prove to be the biggest mistake they ever made! For Narnia and for Aslan!