'Chronicles of Narnia' Reviews: It's Hard to Bash a Classic

Emily Abbate

NarniaIt seems like no one has the guts to say that The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader just isn't that good.

Maybe critics are so reticent to bash the newest Narnia installment because the C.S. Lewis series is such a classic. But if there's anything we can gather by reading between the lines of reviews for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it's that the movie is ... well, just OK.

Roger Ebert tries to give the film the credit it's due. But there are only so many ways to say, "Well, they tried ...":

This is a rip-snorting adventure fantasy for families, especially the younger members who are not insistent on continuity. Director Michael Apted may be too good for this material, but he attacks with gusto. Nor are the young actors overly impressed by how nobly archetypal they are; Lucy (who is really the lead) could give lessons to Harry Potter about how to dial down the self-importance. A universe may hang in the balance, but hey, it's only a movie.

Then there were the critics who were able to muster up the courage to tell families to stay away, like Manohla Dargis for The New York Times.

Not long before the children’s movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sets sail, you might find yourself hoping for a nor’easter to come and blow this latest and perhaps last installment in the screen version of C.S. Lewis's series, far, far away.

Meanwhile, Mr. Moviephone himself, Russ Leatherman, holds nothing back. Hell, he even sends you into other theaters:

I wasn't a big fan of the first two movies, and I'm not a big fan of this one either. The movie is as long and convoluted as its title. So unless you're a huge Narnia fan, you'll be better off with Tangled, Megamind, or Harry Potter. I'm out.

Overall, critics are mixed about whether the book translates well to film. But there is one thing that's for sure: Narnia is still one of the best children's series of all time.  

Will you be seeing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this weekend?  


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