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Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Quick Plot Summary: The two younger Pevensie children return to Narnia with their cousin for an adventure on the high seas.

Rating: Great
Suggested Ages: 10+
Version Notes: This review is for the 2010 movie released by Fox (now Disney).

While not as solid of a movie as the two previous Narnia films (which set the bar quite high), this is still a very entertaining adventure movie loaded with positive messages and Christian themes.

Whereas the theme of the first movie ("The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe") was "redemption" and the theme of the second movie ("Prince Caspian") was "faith", the theme of this third movie I believe ultimately comes down to "fulfilling your God-given destiny", particularly by overcoming fear and temptation. Other positive messages espoused include: not comparing yourself with others but rather being who God created YOU to be, being noble, and how this world is not our "real home". The ending scenes of this movie by Aslan's Country I consider the most powerful and they get me every time.

Like "Prince Caspian" before it, you're probably much better off just viewing this as a movie in its own right rather than trying to compare it with the book. Much of the criticism this movie has garnered has come from those familiar with the book because there were notable changes made for the movie (to seem to try and make the book work better in a typical movie format). But, again, my encouragement if you've read the book is just try and separate yourself from that as much as you can and just enjoy thie film for what it is. Whatever flaws it may have (and I acknowledge it has some), it's still a fairly-decent Hollywood produced quality movie with really good faith-oriented messages! And those things are MIGHTY RARE, so let's rejoice with what we've got!

This film has a rather scary "sea monster" towards the end of it, which is a main reason why I set the suggested age as I did, as I could see it being nightmare-inducing for younger children. There is also a scene with magic being displayed less in a "fantasy-like" type and more of a type reminiscent of Harry Potter. While it initially bothered me a bit, after seeing the movie a few times, I've come to see it more within the Narnia framework in a way that it really isn't concerning to me. In any event, like the other Narnia films, whatever negatives could be leveled against this movie, I believe its positives make up for several times over.

This is the 3rd and last film in the major Hollywood movie Narnia reboot of 2005-2010. Unfortunately they did not continue the series, but at least the 3 movies that were released pretty much finalize the Pevensie children storyline (for the book fans, I'm not counting "The Last Battle" in that statement). All three films utilize the same actors and voice talent and fit together quite well (although this 3rd film definitely does feel different and "cheaper" in the way it was filmed/produced compared to the first two). To me, these three films together work pretty well and if they had to stop somewhere, this wasn't a terrible place to do it considering how this movie ends. In one of the final scenes of this movie, Aslan (the Christ character) tells the children that the whole reason they were brought to Narnia in the first place was so that "by knowing Me here for a little, you may know Me better there." And that's a great summary statement to these 3 movies that really ties them together when you view them through this broader-perspective.

In 2019 it was announced that Netflix is developing a series based on Narnia, which I admit to being quite skeptical about how Christian-friendly they will be. Time will tell, but for now, despite whatever shortcomings of the 3 released 2005-2010 Hollywood films could be levied by lovers of the books, the 3 films stand as pretty solid Christian-friendly high-budget entertainment. And that's a good thing.

Reviewed by Christopher Long,
BodEquip Ministries

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