“The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader” begins with Edmund, one of the four British children who have twice before adventured in the mystic land of Narnia, trying to enlist in the British Army of World War II.
It is just as well that Edmund’s attempt is ruined by his sister Lucy. Edmund may rightly boast that he has fought and even commanded armies in Narnia. But a British Drill Sergeant is not going to be impressed by all that. Besides, World War II combat was an altogether different form of nastiness from the sword and sorcery kind in Narnia.
Still, with big siblings Peter and Susan in America and Edmund and Lucy ensconced with their nasty little cousin Eustace, it is understandable why Edmund might choose service in Burma or Italy. Eustace is a pain to be in the same room with.
‘Fortunately, that all changes when, through the artifice of a magic picture, Edmund, Lucy, and the hapless Eustace find themselves in Narnia once again. They are picked up by the Dawn Treader, a huge ship that seems the combination of a Viking longship with a Dragon’s head and a caravel with a broad beam. Their old friend, Prince Caspian, is in command with a mission to find seven missing lords and seven missing swords. The fate of Narnia is in the hazard.
The adventures encountered in the voyage are exciting enough, with foes both mundane and mystical. The Dawn Treader holds old friends and new, including a talking mouse with a rapier and a minotaur.
But, as with most quest stories, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is as much a spiritual journey as it is a physical one. Each of the main characters must face temptation, struggle with inner demons, and then prevail.
With Lucy, for example, it is the desire for physical beauty, though she is already cute enough for a girl her age. Edmund must overcome his desire for power and wealth. Prince Caspian has father issues.
How Eustace, though, makes the transition from peevish little boy to a man in the forming is a magnificent story indeed, which could only happen in a magical world such as Narnia.
The moral lessons, as would be expected from any tale by C.S. Lewis, are delivered with dispatch and with a minimum of preaching. The Narnia books, the blathering of Richard Wolffe not withstanding, are not just for children.
And, finally, Aslan, the Christ-figure lion appears at the grand climax, reminding one and all that he is known by a different name in our world. There is a hint of more adventures to come; there are, after all, more books in the series to be made into movies.
Source: The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Yahoo Movies