When J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series hit bookshelves it was a critical and commercial success. As a Christian, I may not agree with the witchcraft practice of it all, but I do have to admit that it brought good news for the literary industry and that it’s just a good story.
Before Harry Potter came on the scene, children were getting lost in their video games, without reading material that would grab their attention. And adults began picking up books again; for some, it was the first time since grade school.
If it hadn’t been for Rowling’s series, we probably wouldn’t have the series craze that we do now for young adults. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series would probably not have the same impact as it has. The upcoming Hunger Games series from Suzanne Collins wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. Even Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy with the ever endearing Lisbeth Salander would just be some Swedish story. All of this was made possible, in part, by a boy wizard.
Even though the series is a phenomenal success, there were quite a few Christian parents who forbade their children from reading the books. So, what were those children to do? They wanted to read a story about a fantasy world where creatures could talk and there was a sense of adventure.
They had C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, which he wrote between 1949 and 1954.
Narnia has long been a staple of children’s literature. While I have never read any of the books — or any of the Harry Potter books, for that matter — I can see why the Narnia series is a favorite, involving, as it does, a mysterious world with a protective and gentle talking lion who teaches life lessons. It’s the kind of story that keeps a child’s curiosity intact.
Thankfully, Narnia got its own Hollywood treatment to become a highly successful franchise, but alas, we have come to the point where the main characters are growing up and no longer childlike enough to enjoy the wondrous adventures of the fantasy land called Narnia.
In Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy, played by Georgie Henley, and Edmund, played by Skandar Keynes, are stuck in Cambridge with their cousin Eustace (Will Poulter), while Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Peter (William Moseley) are in America with their parents. Feeling the pang of teen angst in their own world, Peter and Lucy are grappling with being children again after having lived to adulthood in Narnia. In true sequel fashion, the youngsters, Lucy, Edmund, and Eustace, are called back to Narnia to save it.
Along the way, they reunite with Caspian (Ben Barnes) and Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg). And, as always, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) makes an appearance to give guidance when needed — basically, just like the Narnia films that have come before it, just less children.
I have two bones to pick with this latest Narnia film. One of them is that it was over too quickly. The end of the film left a feeling like there were still adventure to be had and stories to tell. Maybe I was just longing for good, quality entertainment and was reluctant to see it come to an end.
Also the 3D, for which I paid an extra $5, was not special enough to warrant the additional charge. The film probably would have been just as good in 2D. If I’m going to pay extra to wear those goggles that don’t fit properly on the bridge of my nose, the film had better be so fantastical with 3D effects that I don’t even care about the extra money spent from my single-woman, hard-earned income. It was not.
Other than that, this film is good, clean fun, through and through. The addition of Poulter’s Eastace was a bit annoying, at first, but, watching Poulter in action, he seemed way too young to be so talented. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he ends up on the Royal stage. He’s that good.
In a time when finances are thin and people are looking for good films to watch with their children for the holidays, this is the film to watch. Just don’t splurge on the 3D. It’s not worth the extra expense.
Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com.