The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


What Is 'Dawn Treader' About? In this third adaptation in 'The Chronicles of Narnia' series, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) Pevensie are living with their aunt, uncle and insufferable younger cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter) in Cambridge. One day, Edmund and Lucy stare at the guest room's painting of a ship on choppy waters, only to have water seep out of the painting and sweep them -- and their cousin Eustace -- onto the boat, where King Caspian (Ben Barnes) is surprised to see them again. The Pevensies resume their roles as Narnian royalty by helping Caspian track down the "seven lost lords" of Narnia, whose enchanted swords must be found and delivered to Aslan's table in order for peace to be restored.

Where Are the Good-Looking Older Kids? This movie, unlike the first two, focuses on Edmund and Lucy, as well as their annoying younger cousin Eustace. In the movie (as in the book), Susan (Anna Popplewell) is in America with their parents, and Peter (William Moseley) is just plain absent (in the novel he's preparing to attend university). But fans of the elder Pevensie siblings will still get to see them -- just in a few brief glimpses that occur mostly in Lucy's imagination.

Are Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson, or Bill Nighy In It? Yes and no. Swinton's White Witch is dead but appears to Edmund as a frightful vision that beckons him to give into his dark side. Neeson once again voices the wise lion Aslan, but he's only in a couple of scenes. Nighy did not return as the voice of the valiant mouse Reepicheep, but the role is in the capable hands of comic actor Simon Pegg.

Who's That Handsome Orlando Bloom Look-a-Like? That would be Ben Barnes, who reprises his role as Prince (now King) Caspian. The 29-year-old Englishman is a hot item across the pond. Although his titular performance in 'Dorian Gray' was a bust in 2009, next year looks promising with his starring role in the Irish indie drama 'Killing Bono,' in which he'll play the frontman of Ireland's other up-and-coming band from the late '70s.

Are There Religious Overtones? Kind of. It will go over most kids' heads, but "Aslan's Country" is considered an allegory for heaven, and Aslan himself is one of the most Messianic figures in literary history (just thinking about him helps the characters make right/moral/righteous decisions). There's also a major theme about overcoming temptation, but the more overt references to Christianity boil down to just one line, when Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that he is "known by another name" in their world (a reference to Jesus Christ, at least according to my old English and Sunday School teachers). However, no one in the movie ever explicitly mentions religion at all.

Will Little Kids Be Frightened? There are a few scenes that may scare the early-elementary set and will definitely freak out preschoolers and kindergarteners. One three-or-four-year-old at a press screening couldn't stop screaming during an action sequence with a giant sea serpent that attacks the Dawn Treader. There's also a good bit of sword-fighting, a fire-breathing dragon (who turns out to be good, but at first he's scary), and slave-traders who sacrifice people to an evil Island.

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