With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 still raking in untold millions at the box office another book-based fantasy franchise The Chronicles of Narnia makes a decidedly less conspicuous return this week with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader the third chapter of C.S. Lewis’ faith-based tale of the Pevensie siblings and their magical instructional adventures.
With the elder Pevensies Peter and Susan now too old to enter Narnia the burden falls upon young Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) to save the mythical realm when a new evil emerges to threaten it: the green mist. Generally speaking faceless formless antagonists like mists and blobs are the stuff of horror movies like say The Mist or The Blob. But in Dawn Treader the green mist isn’t merely a mindless menace; it has the capacity to alter its shape to embody the deepest fears and vulnerabilities of any person it encounters. Not exactly Voldemort but still plenty impressive.
If only the characters sent to vanquish it were a little more interesting. This is the essential problem that plagues director Michael Apted’s film: though legitimately well-crafted and bursting with all manner of gorgeous and terrifying imagery (the monster that emerges during the climax is grotesque enough to traumatize the littler audience members) it wants for protagonists who can be as compelling as the various CGI wonders they encounter. Lucy and Edmund are brave and humble and kind and they are magnificent vessels for the various (and worthwhile) lessons the film has to teach; sadly try as I might I couldn’t summon the strength to care a whit about them. Ditto for their mighty confederate the dashing swashbuckler King Caspian (Ben Barnes) who seems scarcely more than a pretty (but virtuous) face. And Aslan the Jesus Lion voiced by Liam Neeson emerges only on occasion to give a pep talk or a kindly sermon.
You know your $150 million epic is in grave danger when its most memorable character is a talking mouse. Unfortunately (spoiler alert!) I fear that little Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg) will not be seen in the next Narnia film. If there is a next Narnia film.
The trailer for the next installment of the film adaptation of CS Lewis' classic series The Chronicles of Narnia has released with all its child-like, fantasy glory. Check it out out below.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of the more popular books in the series, and it probably has something to do with it being totally badass in every way possible. Not only does it continue the epic-ness of the first two books, but it continues it on a mother-effing boat (Oh yeah, I said it). The story follows King Caspian and his quest to find the seven lords -- who were good men that his evil uncle Miraz banished once upon a time. On the voyage, they run into all sorts of mythical creatures as they try to save the world. The film stars Georgia Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, and Simon Pegg, and was directed by Michael Apted.
So yeah, Voyage releases on December 10 and is pretty much any 12-year-old's fantasy on the big screen.
The Brit star is currently in Australia filming his role as King Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is due for release next year (10).
But while filming scenes with co-star Skandar Keynes earlier this week (begs07Sep09) a sword stunt backfired - and Barnes had to receive treatment for an injury to his mouth.
He says, "We've been sword fighting. It didn't go quite according to plan - I've got a slightly swollen lip, because I got popped with the sword by young Skandar Keynes."
After making three quarters of a billion dollars the first time around it was inevitable more editions of C.S. Lewis’ seven book Narnia series would find their way to the screen. So here is Prince Caspian which jumps ahead 1300 years ( in Narnian time) to reveal a very different world than the one portrayed in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. As the press notes correctly say “The lion hasn’t been heard from for 1 000 years The white witch is dead and the wardrobe is gone.” Now--as the kings and queens of Narnia (aka the Pevensies) are transported to the land from a World War II England train station--they discover the magical land just isn’t what it used to be. It has been taken over by an evil and aggressive band of humans called the Telmarines led by the unforgiving Lord Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). All the talking animals and mythical creatures are now just wallpaper. Just a year (in human time) after their first trip the four Pevensie siblings find themselves summoned back to help the dashing heir to the Narnian throne Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) defeat his uncle. With the assistance of a few characters like the dwarf Trumkin (Peter Dinklage) and Black Dwarf Nikabrik (Warwick Davis)--plus the swashbuckling chatterbox talking mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard)--they set about bringing Narnia back to all its former glory.
Returning just a bit older and wiser the four young actors who play the Pevensie brothers and sisters are in fine form with each getting a chance to display their own quirky talents. Georgie Henley returns as Lucy the only one able to channel the legendary lion Aslan and Anna Popplewell is back as the proper older sister Susan. As for the boys William Moseley is on board again as Peter who summons up the courage to lead the fight against the Telmarines while Skandar Keynes’ Edmund--despite his betrayal in the first film--finds enough backbone this time to redeem himself. The new human characters are led by British stage actor Ben Barnes who is commanding as Caspian the man who would be King but must stave off Spanish film star Sergio Castellitto’s vicious Lord Miraz. The wonderful Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent) is an amusing Trumkin while Eddie Izzard offers the perfect voice for Reepicheep. And even though it appeared we wouldn’t be hearing from them again Tilda Swinton’s presumed dead White Witch and Liam Neeson’s eloquent voicing of the Lion Aslan make cameo appearances as well. The large supporting cast is too numerous to name everyone but a special shout-out is also in order for Willow’s Warwick Davis as Nikabrik. Shrek director Andrew Adamson proved in the first Chronicles of Narnia--with all its minotaurs centaurs and other assortment of creatures--that an animation background comes in handy. With Prince Caspian he confirms that promise displaying nifty live-action skills particularly in the battle scenes. The full force of his abilities are put to test in the ultimate confrontation with the Telmarines and what he gets on screen can be favorably compared to something straight out of Braveheart. The stakes in the story this time have been ramped up and so has the fighting. It’s probably safe to say that after 140 minutes of this stuff you will come out with serious battle fatigue but it’s all thrilling to watch with some breathtaking special effects that for lack of a better description are awesome. With all the hardware effects and CGI on view it would be easy for the characters to get lost in the mix but Adamson clearly knows where the heart of his story lies. If this sequel proves anything it’s that the magic fun unforgettable people and creatures are the reasons we will keep coming back to Narnia.
Director Andrew Adamson has secured the four young stars of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to start filming sequel Prince Caspian later this year.
William Moseley, 18; Anna Popplewell, 17; Skandar Keynes, 14; and Georgie Henley, 10, will return to New Zealand to shoot the next film installment of the C.S. Lewis series.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has taken $637.8 million worldwide since opening in November and picked up three Oscar nominations earlier this week.
Adamson enthuses, "Prince Caspian not only gives me an opportunity to challenge my imagination with another classic story, it also allows me to work alongside the many talented artists who contributed to the first film, and of course to collaborate again with The Pevensies, Georgie, Skandar, Anna, and William."
Prince Caspian is set for release at the end of 2007.
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Who wouldn’t want to discover a magical world inside their own closet? Lewis tapped into this childlike wonderment when he wrote The Lion the Witch and
the Wardrobe in 1950 his first of seven adventures into Narnia and the movie picks it right up. Its starts with the four Pevensie siblings—Peter (William Moseley) Susan (Anna Popplewell) Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and little Lucy (Georgie Henley)—who are sent from war-torn London to stay in a country home during WWII. Once there the children stumble upon the enchanted wardrobe that leads them to Narnia a fairytale realm of mythical proportions. But Narnia has fallen under the icy curse of the evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton)—and only the two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve can break the spell. Now with Narnia's rightful leader—the wise and mystical lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson)—by their side the four children find strength to defeat the witch and lead Narnia into a brand new era. [Cue the sound of trumpets].
After searching long and hard the casting directors for Narnia found the perfect unknowns to play the four Pevensie children especially Lucy and Edmund the two characters who go through the most changes in the story. The sweet-faced Henley has just the right amount of innocence and bravado as Lucy the first to discover Narnia who then has to convince her brothers and sister its real. In turn as the mean-spirited jealous Edmund—who just wants a little respect—Keynes scowls and pouts like a pro. The rest of the Narnia children may be a little stiff but will gain seasoning the more Narnia sequels they do much like the Harry Potter trio we’ve grown accustomed to. Of the adults the always unusual Swinton (Constantine) is one scary broad adequately chewing it up as the malevolent sorceress as well as striking a very formidable pose dressed in highly elaborate costumes. And Liam Neeson adds a nice calming touch as the voice of the wise Aslan. It’s taken awhile to bring a live-action Narnia to its adoring fans—and New Zealand director and co-writer Andrew Adamson (Shrek and Shrek 2) has only his fellow countryman Peter Jackson to thank for finally making it happen. Just as C.S. Lewis was influenced by his friend J.R.R. Tolkein Adamson is obviously guided by the Lord of the Rings filmmaker. From the great Aslan to the thousands of mythical creatures Adamson uses the technological advances set up by the Rings trilogy and creates a real magical Narnia many of us have only imagined in our heads. It seems the glorious New Zealand can pass as Narnia and Middle-Earth. But in paying homage to all the greatness Jackson achieved with Lord of the Rings The Chronicles of Narnia inevitably pales in comparison. You just can’t watch the final drawn out battle between Aslan’s army and the Witch’s and not measure it up to Rings far more stellar conflicts.