The Chronicles of Narnia is one of those classic series of children’s books that I have vague recollections of reading but there’s not really a lot that stands out in my mind, so I don’t really have a strong connection with the source material, and I’m not sure I’d really spot any of the changes. I’ve kind of liked the previous 2 films in the series but so far neither have blown me away or really become favourites. The first was pretty good but it felt like something was missing, the second I seem to remember feeling cheap and rushed, although I have to admit I’ve not seen either since the cinema release and those impressions may be wrong.
So we’re now on to the third Narnia film and it’s changed hands from Walt Disney to Fox and some how feels better made for it. The film wastes no time in getting you in to the story. We get a quick introduction to Edmund trying to join the Army, only to be outted as using fake ID by Lucy calling his name and asking him to help with the shopping. Then a quick bit about Susan and Peter being in America and Lucy and Edmund staying with their Auntie and Uncle, and their annoying cousin Eustace. And within 10 minutes we’re in Narnia with Caspian, now King, and on the Narnian ship The Dawn Treader. And away we go in to an adventure, with Eustace complaining all the way.
There’s a green mist descending on a distant part of Narnia and taking people and the only way they can stop it and rescue the people is to collect the swords of the 7 lost lords and place them on Aslan’s table to break the spell. While the plot isn’t really confusing, it’s not very well explained what is actually happening or why. There’s the dark island which the spell is originating from but how and why I don’t remember being explained.
I’ve seen it twice now, and the first time it seemed fine, didn’t seem to drag too much and was fairly entertaining, I’d probably say I thought it was my favourite of the 3 films but the second time it seemed to drag quite a bit, while also seeming quite compressed, with swords seemingly just there for the taking so they could rush through to the end. So on the one hand it felt too long but it could have done with more room to let things happen more naturally.
For the most part it’s well acted, with only a couple of dodgy moments, but Will Poulter really stands out as Eustace, probably the best performance in the film. He carries off the role of such an unlikeable character really well.
After my second viewing my feeling is that it’s only a bit above average, well done enough to be enjoyed by everyone but I don’t think it’ll make anyone’s top 10 of the year and after seeing it in 2D and 3D I’d say it’s pointless paying the extra for the 3D, it doesn’t really add anything but it’s well done enough that it doesn’t detract either.