The Movie: 6.5/10
I have a good time watching all the Narnia movies. I don’t think I got as swept away with Prince Caspian as I did with the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, or with the Dawn Treader. It’s all a great adventure and I totally go along for the ride each time. Yes, I’m a grown up, but that doesn’t take away the love of the idea of being a kid and being taken away to a distant land where I am the queen, or king, or a great warrior. I mean, that’s what we do when we are kids and that feeling never goes away. The feeling of WOW.
Narnia, in this part of the story, has a problem. People are being sold as slaves, and some are being taken by a creepy green mist on the ocean. What is the green mist? Hmmmm I try not to be the grown up, but it’s almost always some kind of mysterious evil or darkness that will take over the world….you get the idea. I don’t mind that it’s not something more clever, pardon the coldness, but I do see how as a kid a dark force taking away the glory of your fantasy land is quite doom filled, so it works for me.
This adventure takes the young kids of the family plus their annoying (but open to learning life lessons) cousin to many islands in the world to find swords of lords of the land. They must get them together to break the spell of the darkness. It’s packed with big action moments, a sea monster, a star lady, one footed dudes, an invisible mansion, tricks of the mind, and more.
The thing about the evil mist is that it tempts you, tricks your brain into wanting something it shouldn’t. This is a life lesson we all learn from many kid movies, Willy Wonka comes to mind. You are reminded not to be vain, not to be greedy, not to be selfish, etc. I like this idea and in this story it’s done with a bit of darkness. They don’t turn away from the unpleasant side of temptation. It’s not cartoony or charming, but kind of scary sometimes. I like that.
Narnia is a place I would take the young girl I used to be anytime. I would love to sail the seas in that awesome ship, swash buckle with creatures, encounter magic and wonder. That’s what these movies do for me and I can’t complain:)
I hope for another Narnia movie, but then again, I could always read the books and let my mind take the journey on its own.
Features: 8/10 (All extras are directed to the kids, not a lot of in depth information behind the scenes, for those looking for that kind of thing.)
- The Untold Adventures Of The Dawn Treader Animated Short – Readings from the book with animated illustrations. I like this extra.
- King Caspian’s Guide To The Dawn Treader: Legends and Lore of the Great Ship – Each section of the ship with readings from the book describing how the amazing vessel was built in Narnia. It’s a fun extra for kids to explore all the parts of the ship. Well presented.
- Deleted Scenes – There’s nothing that would have added to the movie, fair enough.
- Islands Exploration – It presents itself as if you are examining each island with lots of information on them specifically, but really you are just exploring all kinds of extras. It’s still a fun way to look around and soak up more Narnia movie making magic.
- Narnian Discoveries: Friends and Foes of Narnia – More kid friendly explanations of who inhabits the world.
- 3 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes Including Battle On The Sea – Making a big ocean battle look real and fantastical at the same time takes a lot of creativity, movie tricks, and hits to the budget. The cast and crew take us along with them while they get wet, a lot.
- Audio Commentary with the Filmmakers – A good voice on a director always makes a commentary that much more fun, and this guy has some great voice!!
- Game – A game for kids to spend a little more time with the dvd player. It looks nice, but it’s pretty limited. Memorize the swords, remember, click, win or lose. It, like many of these extras is directed straight at the young ones, and even they might not be occupied for long.
- Collectible Photo Book – This is a bound book of shots from the movie made into post cards, quite a nice extra that the kids will enjoy.
- BD Live Enabled – Not much here to see beyond what you get on the disc, well except for a Carrie Underpants music video.
- Digital Copy – Copy it, watch it, take it, watch it…we get it, it’s not an extra.
Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
Elaborate, decorative, fitting for such a grand adventure, the cover and presentation of this whole Blu-ray situation is nice. I’m not a fan of investing so much in the packaging. Give me a download these days in good quality and I’m happy, but people like my husband Ascully flip out for such packages. He loves it, and that’s what counts. Me, I’m neutral on the whole thing, even though it’s nice and I might even have a poster from the movie, I’m not sure I would have this cover specifically.
Audio & Video: 9/10 (By Ascully)
The third in the series of Narnia is probably the best in terms of adventure. How does the Blu-Ray picture and audio quality fare though?
First the video. Lots of sites on the internet were reporting that the theatrical version of the movie was presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio where the Blu-Ray is a more home friendly 1.78:1. Now in the old days this would be cause for alarm as when they master the disc they would have to crop the picture (aka Pan & Scan) to fit the 16:9 frame. This clearly is not the case here if you compare shots of the Blu-Ray release to the theatrical trailer included on the disc, what FOX have done is what they did with Avatar (Ie shot the film in 1.78:1, made the theatrical prints 2.39:1 then went back to 1.78:1 for the Blu-Ray release) So with all those numbers out of the way what this means is you are seeing the whole picture nothing is missing. Case closed…
Dawn Treader looks a lot different than the first two Narnia movies, mainly because this was all shot digitally and the other films were shot on film. This gives Dawn Treader a crisp look that is almost surreal at times and really adds to the fantasy of the story. Blacks are very deep and digital artifacting is nowhere to be seen. Overall Dawn Treader looks incredible on Blu-Ray you will find nothing to complain about here.
Dawn Treader used a 7.1 audio track in it’s theatrical release, but here on Blu-Ray FOX have chosen to go with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. I am not sure why they chose to drop the extra channels but they did and if that is a concern consider yourself warned. The soundtrack itself sounds incredible from the opening scenes of the WW2 spitfires gliding through the air to the open sea battles on the Dawn Treader everything sounds amazing. Turn this up loud enough and you will not only wake the neighbors, you will wake half of Narnia as well.
For family living this might be a watch again and again kind of movie. For you folks, buy it and enjoy. For people like me who enjoy Narnia enough to keep coming back for more, but who just don’t need to own it, well, rent it. It’s not a series I crave to have on my shelf, but it’s well worth the time and a few bucks to watch the movie and all the extras.
Overall Score 6.5/10