The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Cas Harlow, 30th April 2011.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a slightly disappointing third entry in the adapted C.S. Lewis franchise. It boasts neither the epic feel, nor the driven narrative required to sustain this kind of fantasy adventure, with a strung-together plot of island-hopping and CG mist which simply does not reach the heights of the previous two entries. The plight is not assisted by the restrictions of an overly shiny-looking boat, the loss of the two elder, better child actors, and the presence of Prince (now King) Caspian – only this time jarringly missing the accent he had in the previous instalment.

On Region Free UK Blu-ray the film suffers further from having a director-approved ‘bigger’ image of 1.78:1, following suit after what they did with Avatar, and removing the cinematic breadth of the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1. Add to that the use of digital cameras for the first time in the franchise, and this one ends up looking more like an expensive TV movie than a lavish theatrical fantasy adventure. I guess the lower budget really does make a difference.

In technical terms, the release, ostensibly identical to its US counterpart, still boasts great video and excellent audio, as well as a huge selection of extras which – somewhere in amidst the throwaway 60-second intros – boasts a good few quality offerings. It’s just a shame that they’re peppered across a painful-to-navigate extras menu. Fans of the movie should be prepared for a different look at home than in the cinemas, but will otherwise probably be damn happy with this package; those who loved the previous two movies should go in with comparatively low expectations, treat this as a TV movie, and then maybe it’ll lessen the blow of disappointment. I don’t really know where the series will go from here – there are more books but are any of them viable continuations of the story? – and if the films continue on in this vein I’m not sure I really want to find out.

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Standard Member
Nicely reviewed. As a big fan of the first two films I couldn't agree more. Watched this weekend with Mrs Bill Sykes (an even bigger fan of the first two) and were both disappointed. As Cas so aptly puts it, lower your expectations to get more out of this one.

I felt it was a shame and a wasted opportunity.

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