What a lovely finale and final (I think) installment of the fantasy/Christian allegory created by C. S. Lewis.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," could be the wrap-up of the Narnia film series (the books number seven, though), the predecessors of which are, respectively, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian."

The movie begins during World War II, with Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) staying temporarily with their spoiled-rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter, who can pout like no other young actor). Eustace thinks he's much better than his cousins and enjoys mocking them for enjoying what he calls "fairy tales."

One day while they are in an upstairs room, the siblings notice that a ship in a picture on the wall looks quite "Narnian," which, of course, it is. The room is flooded as the painting's waters begin spewing into reality, and when the children surface, they find themselves back in Narnia, where they are welcomed by Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the dashing mouse Reepicheep (voice of Simon Pegg).

The Dawn Treader is Caspian's ship. All three children join the crew, although the reluctant Eustace wants to go back home as soon as he arrives. The mission involves collecting seven swords and placing them on a table to remove evil forces. On their journey, dark forces tempt each of the children, who must wrestle with their innermost thoughts as they continue.

There is no question this movie is based on faith, particularly the Aslan the lion character and references to the land where Aslan dwells.

I saw the film in 3-D, but you don't have to. You will enjoy the beautiful imagery without it, particularly the creatures that inhabit Narnia, especially a gorgeously wrought dragon along with the wise, gentle Aslan.

It's interesting to watch the young people contend with the forces that drive people in general: the lure of wealth, the dream of beauty and the quest for power. The special effects are better than ever, and the characters all are interesting and multifaceted.

You will appreciate this interpretation of the writings of Lewis, whether you watch it for the fantasy, the adventure or the theological overtones.

 

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