The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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(2010) ★★★

Channel 4: Sunday 15 November, 3.30pm

With Susan and Peter Pevensie away in America during WWII, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) are stuck in Cambridge with their insufferable cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) – until a painting sweeps them all aboard the royal Narnian ship Dawn Treader. Ben Barnes’ King Caspian is headed through uncharted waters in search of lost souls at the edge of the world… Long before the exciting sea-serpent finale, Lucy’s run-in with the ‘invisible beasts’ is a highlight in an episodic Sinbad-like adventure that ploughs on playfully enough: dragons, dwarves, sinister sea mists, slave traders and talking animals, Aslan above all.

Not quite as spectacular as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time nor as amusing as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (and young Poulter’s tiresome twerp is a presence as problematic as Chris Tucker in The Fifth Element, say, or that useless dog in Dead Calm). But in Narnia’s grand scheme of things, it’s both more of the same and – running mercifully under two hours – less of the same. Photographed by Dante Spinotti so, yes, it looks just fine (although, unlike the Disney films, it’s not in Panavision).

Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are actually the fourth and fifth books in C.S. Lewis’ seven-part Chronicles of Narnia, but they’re the second and third films, allowing the use of the same child actors (although Simon Pegg takes over from Eddie Izzard as the voice of Reepicheep). Even so, Disney delayed then ditched Dawn Treader after Prince Caspian’s disappointing box office.20th Century Fox picked up the slack but have delved no deeper into Narnia.

Certificate: PG
Duration: 113min

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