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Film / The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a 2010 fantasy-adventure film based on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third novel in C. S. Lewis' epic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia (and fifth in internal chronological order). It is the third installment in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walden Media. This is the first film in the series to be distributed by 20th Century Fox, as Walt Disney Pictures chose not to produce the film after a budget dispute with Walden Media (but they did buy the rights to this film after they brought Fox nearly a decade later, ironically). It is the only film in the series to be released in Digital 3D.

The film is set three Narnian years after the events of Prince Caspian. The two youngest Pevensie siblings, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), are transported back to Narnia along with their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter). They join the new king of Narnia, Caspian (Ben Barnes), in his quest to rescue seven lost lords and to save Narnia from a corrupting evil that resides on a dark island. Each character is tested as they journey to the home of the great lion Aslan at the far end of the world.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Due to being visibly older, Lucy now gets to have action scenes too.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Caspian's worry that he won't be as good a king as his father is played up much more.
    • Edmund experiences much more jealousy over having to answer to Caspian as a king than he did in the book. It's also shown that he's still haunted by Jadis seducing him.
    • Lucy's jealousy of Susan's beauty is expanded. In the book she almost reads the spell to become more beautiful than Susan but is stopped by Aslan at the last minute. Here she steals the spell to replace Susan and reads it later on the boat, getting a huge nightmare sequence where she imagines that she is Susan, Lucy never existed, and her siblings never heard of Narnia because Lucy wasn't there to find the passage through the wardrobe.
    • The argument at the Deathwater Island was just a random incident in the book, and implied to be partly the result of a sinister magical influence. In the film it's the escalation of a lot of conflict that's been building up for a while.
    • Eustace has his epiphany and is turned back from being a dragon before they've even left the island. Here he doesn't get turned back until the end.
    • Ramandu's daughter only appears at Aslan's Table. Here she is foreshadowed as the Blue Star that guides the sailors to the various islands and serves to warn them about the Dark Island. She also gains a name.
  • Adaptation Induced Plothole:
    • The seven Lords having swords associated with Aslan. At the time when they set sail, Aslan was known only as a myth believed by fantastical creatures and as a likely enemy to Telmarines like they.
    • Averted when the Dufflepuds come to get Lucy to recite the spell to make them visible (only a female or the book's owner can cause spells to work), one of them notes that Gael is also a girl. However, the Dufflepuds then note that Lucy has a book next to her, indicating that she knows how to read, and kidnap her.
    • Eustace's teasing rhyme indicates that the parents of the Pevensie children are no longer living. But this is not based on anything in the book where their parents, while never seen, are implied to both be alive and well. It is said that the Pevensie parents were visiting America during the time that Edmund and Lucy were visiting with Eustace and his parents. The movie does not indicate any alternate fate.
    Eustace: There once were two orphans who wasted their time, believing in Narnian nursery rhymes.
  • Adapted Out:
    • In the book, Lucy finds a spell in Coriakin's house that will help her hear what her friends say about her. She uses it and then witnesses a friend being pressured into saying nasty things about her. Aslan later scolds her for this, and tells her that the friend did not mean the things she said. The book also shows her what would happen if she used another spell that would make her "beautiful beyond the lot of mortals". In the movie this is replaced with the Susan nightmare sequence.
    • Ramandu, despite being mentioned a few times, never actually appears in the movie.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Gael, who isn't in the book. In a sense she acts as someone for Lucy to be a big sister to, having spent two films as the baby of the group.
  • All There in the Manual: According to the DVD Commentary, the Mist was created by The Lady of the Green Kirtle.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • When Drinian mentions the possibility of encountering sea serpents, Edmund and Caspian scoff at him for believing in such superstitions.
    • Also the Minotaur amongst the crew mocks Eustace for asking a seagull if it knows where food is.
    Eustace: Well I just assumed...
  • Ascended Extra: The sea serpent.
    • Also, The Island Where Dreams Come True. Originally a very scary island, but only important because a lord was there. Now, it's known as the Dark Island and is the source of the evil mist.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Kings Edmund and Caspian are both extremely proficient swordsmen, and Lucy's not half-bad herself.
  • Ball of Light Transformation: Lilliandil, Ramandu's daughter, falls from the sky as a blue star before taking human form. Then she rises up again in the same shape. It's implied, though, that the star is her true form and that she could take any she wish.
    Lilliandil: If [my beauty] is a distraction, I can change form.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Eustace's dragon form is rather noble-looking creature, while the sea serpent is a hideous near-Eldritch Abomination.
  • Beneath the Mask: The darkness tempts the main characters, showing their hidden desires.
    • Edmund is still resentful of always being number 2 and he reveals his hidden envy of Peter and Caspian. He still secretly desires to have absolute power. He gets better however.
    • Lucy secretly isn't happy with herself and she envies her older sister's beauty and life to the point that she wishes she had her sister's life. She gets better.
    • Caspian is still broken over Susan and is borderline obsessed with the Pevensies and the world they come from, almost to the point of living between worlds. His issues with his father are also still completely unresolved. He gets better too.
  • Behemoth Battle: There is a brief one between Eustace in Dragon-form and a Sea serpent.
  • Berserk Button: Eustace accidentally presses Reepicheep's button when he grabs his tail. The great Aslan himself gave Reepicheep that tail, and "no one touches the tail, period, exclamation mark!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: The threat of Dark Island is defeated, Eustace has become a Friend of Narnia, and Reepicheep makes it to Aslan's Country, but Edmund and Lucy can no longer return to Narnia although Aslan reassures Lucy that they will meet again. It also serves as one for the Walden Media series, providing a decent send off for the original cast but setting up a Sequel Hook for the Silver Chair that would never be followed up on.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Eustace. It's extraordinarily difficult not to hate him until his Character Development finally kicks in.
  • Brick Joke: The torch Edmund lost in Narnia during Prince Caspian not only returns, but gets bumped up to Chekhov's Gun. That's right, the thing still works!
  • Call My Name: Edmund and Lucy constantly call each other's name when they're separated from each other, talking to each other or if they're in danger.
  • Central Theme: Temptation, and how it's a better idea to not give in to some desires.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Eustace's temper tantrum upon coming aboard the Dawn Treader, and arguably a few other occurrences. This didn't stop with Will Poulter's physical acting; even when lacking the ability to speak, our dragon friend manages the odd nibble.
  • Color-Coded Patrician: King Caspian always wears a purple shirt or tunic. The exact shade is very close to the royal purple worn in the past by nobility.
  • Composite Character:
    • Goldwater Island and Dragon Island have been combined into a single volcanic isle.
    • Ramandu's daughter explains everything that her father did in the book and he does not appear.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In what could be also considered a Sequel Hook, Jill Pole, one of the protagonists of The Silver Chair, gets a brief mention at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
    • In the same film, as in the corresponding book, the Stone Knife from the first film/book gets a brief appearance and mention. Probably confusing for anyone who hasn't either read the books or got a very good visual memory, since it's never named as such in the first film.
  • Cool Ship: The Dawn Treader, of course.
  • Creative Closing Credits: As a departure from the first two films, the end credits use illustrations from the books.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Eustace stealing treasure and getting turned into a dragon. You'd think the curse would turn one into something completely useless like a toad, and not a flying, fire-breathing death machine with human sentience intact!
    • In the book, the downsides of the transformation are considered by Eustace in a way that couldn't really translate into film. The price of that power was total isolation from humanity - forever.
  • Dark Is Evil: As a massive departure from the original book, the Nightmare Island is now a villain. In the novel it was a horrifying Wacky Wayside Tribe, significant mainly as a place where the characters had to confront inescapable fear.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Even though he's since lost his Telmarine accent from the last movie, Caspian technically is still one.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked by the star, Ramandu's daughter.
    Lilliandil: If [my beauty] is a distraction, I can change form.
    Caspian and Edmund: NO!
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Tavros the Minotaur; while laughing with another crew member at Eustace's expense, he pats the man on his back with enough force for him to bump against the boat.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Played with. Caspian and Edmund warn the sailors of eating the food at Aslan's Table, believing it to be a Schmuck Banquet which has already made the three remaining Lords fall into enchanted sleep. When Lilliandil arrives, however, she tells them that the food is free for the taking, and the enchanted sleep had a different origin entirely. (The novel has a similar scene but doesn't employ this trope, as nobody from the Dawn Treader is willing to touch the food until Ramandu's daughter tells them it's safe.)
  • Dragon Rider: Reepicheep spends a good deal of scenes on top of Eustace's head.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Lucy dreams that she is Susan and that she is in the USA with her only two siblings, Peter and Edmund. She wakes up from this dream to have Aslan appearing in a mirror and talking to her. Then she wakes up from this dream- and is now awake in Narnia.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Aunt Alberta mentions Jill Pole at the end of the film, though why she's coming to visit is uncertain, as in the book they weren't friendly to each other at all, and if given a choice likely wouldn't come over. However, it may also be an attempt to better develop Eustace for his leading role in The Last Battle, assuming the series gets that far.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: When looking for Eustace, Edmund and Caspian come across the dragon's treasure hoard, the remains of one Telmar lord, and Eustace's discarded (and slightly singed) clothing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Once again, Lucy is the only person paying attention enough to notice the Mermaid following the ship, suddenly stop in its tracks and start to silently scream "Don't go that way! TURN BACK!"
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Reepicheep with Eustace, once the former takes him under his wing and especially once the latter has become a dragon.
  • Foreshadowing: At various points in the film, Edmund brings up the idea of the ship running into a sea monster. So guess whose deepest fear Dark Island uses to create one?
  • Furry Confusion: In-universe example — the crew laugh at Eustace for talking to some random seagull and expecting it to talk back. But Dumbass Has a Point: he's in a magic land full of talking animals, why the sudden Arbitrary Skepticism, from a minotaur no less?
  • Genre Savvy: Toyed with. After he gets over the shock of being in Narnia, Eustace often assumes things and invokes fantasy conventions, and when they look at him confused points out they're forgetting this is a magical land. Why not?
    • A distinct change from the book, where Eustace (due to "reading the wrong books") is subject to utter Genre Blindness.
    • However, Eustace is quite ignorant of some very important basic facts about dragons.
    Caspian: Everyone knows not to touch a dragon's treasure.
    Eustace: (Death Glare glares)
    Caspian: Well, everyone from here.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The film adaptation added a young Narnian girl named Gael who becomes Lucy's friend on the ship. Susan appears in the film as well, but only as a cameo.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The film adds a plot arc, not present in the book, where the characters must collect seven magic swords by resisting various temptations that correspond to these sins.
  • Grand Finale: Of this continuity of films, at least.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The Mist is a literal monster made manifest by this trope, sharing this colour and bringing out hidden envy in several characters, as envy is also a form of the desires it exploits.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain / Outside-Context Problem: It's never really stated who or what the Mist is, or what it wants. It is rather explicitly green... which means it may be clever Foreshadowing for the Lady of the Green Kirtle/the Emerald Witch of The Silver Chair, the next installment of the Chronicles. Which, in turn, would turn the sea serpent into a bit of foreshadowing as well. It's confirmed by Word Of God that The Lady of the Green Kirtle is behind the green mist.
  • Incest Subtext:
    • An accidental one, the scene at the beginning of the movie where Lucy does a gesture that is meant for flirting right in front of Edmund. For the people who haven't read the books and didn't know Lucy's actual intentions, that scene accidentally implied that Lucy actually intended to flirt with him, until the explanation was given later. It should be noted however that while she did do it in front of him, she was certainly not doing it AT him. She actually looked startled and embarrassed when he asked her what she was doing.
    • In the scene when Lucy has Susan's body, the first person she sees is Edmund who walks with her arm in arm saying "You're beautiful, sister". And Peter even joins them.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Lucy is jealous of Susan's beauty. Then again this is mostly a case of sibling rivalry so it's justified either way. It's more to do with Susan being taken to America and having boys chasing her. Lucy just assumes it's because of Susan's looks.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: We first see Edmund trying to enlist in the army. Since he's underage, he's trying to pass his Aunt Alberta's identification off as Albert A. Then Lucy comes up and calls him by name.
  • Irony: Meta-example. Eustace is younger than Lucy. Will Poulter is 2-1/2 years older than Georgie Henley.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Eustace lives at Cambridge. Guess who else once lived there?
  • Little Stowaway: Gael, a Canon Foreigner.
  • The Load: Eustace until the point mid-story when he has his very own Anvilicious adventure in character development. He starts the voyage as a complaining selfish prig. The "Eustace's journal" portion of the book is a scarily effective portrait of self-delusion and self-righteousness.
  • Magic Pants: When Eustace is transformed into a dragon, it tears up his clothes, though he initially still has the magic armband on. When he turns back, he's fully clothed. (For what it's worth, the book says that Aslan dressed him after turning him back.)
  • Mind Rape: Every interaction Edmund has with the Mist in the White Witch's form has shades of this.
  • Mirror Monster: A rare heroic example; after Lucy wakes up from her nightmare, Aslan appears next to her in the reflection.
  • Mr. Exposition: Coriakin helpfully explains a lot of things about their quest.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Ramandu's daughter is named "Lilliandil."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: See Missing Trailer Scene, which was there to give the impression that the two older Pevensie children feature in the plot too. Additionally the trailer made a point of showing the White Witch's cameo - which Tilda Swinton herself expressed surprise about.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Just as the heroes are about to escape the Dark Island, Lord Rhoop basically tells them "Whatever you do, don't think about the thing you fear most." Though in all honesty, if he's been trapped there fearing for his life for an indeterminate amount of time, no doubt his reasoning and sanity have degraded from what they were.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Caspian lost his Telmarine (i.e. Hispanic) accent between films 2 and 3. Although this may just reflect the fact that he's been King of Narnia for a good few years and has simply picked up the natives' (very British) accents, or even emulated them on purpose as a gesture of solidarity. After all, he is a Telmarine king. Word Of God was that it was because it was a different take on the character with a new studio and new director, and since C.S. Lewis was a British writer, they would no longer use that accent.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Edmund and Lucy become this, as they constantly look for one another and desperately call each other's name when they are separated. Edmund and Caspian have some elements of this as well as they become like brothers, but their friendship always takes a backseat to Edmund's concern and care for Lucy, when his Big Brother Instinct kicks in. Basically, Lucy is the most important person to Edmund, as his first priority is to take care of her and keep her safe. The same for Lucy, who constantly looks for her brother.
  • Not Quite Dead: Eustace. Edmund and Caspian find his charred clothes and thought he died. He didn't.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: In the beginning of the film, Lucy meets a group of aquatic beings in the ocean as she did near the end of the book. However the film replaces the ivory skinned, purple haired Sea People with naiads. While naiads where mentioned in the book versions of the first two films, they were omitted almost entirely save for the River God in the second film. The film naiads are basically similar to the mermaids that appeared near the end of the first film, except instead of being made of flesh, blood, bone, and scale like traditional mermaids, they are made entirely of non-dissolving liquid. The books and classical mythology state that naiads are fresh water nymphs and salt water nymphs are nereids and oceanids. The books and mythology also NEVER state that water nymphs have fish tails. Also falls under Sadly Mythtaken.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: There are a couple of minotaurs in the film, one of them looks more like a goat rather than a bull.
  • Passing the Torch: Suggested in Aslan's farewell to Eustace: "Narnia may yet need you..."
  • Pet the Dog: When Reepicheep sees dragon Eustace crying and unable to sleep, he offers to stay up with him and tell him about some of his adventures.
  • Plank Gag: A variant of this old gag is used here: Eustace is attempting to set an oar in a rowboat, nearly loses his balance, and swings it about, knocking out a pirate leader who was sneaking up behind him with a knife.
  • Plot Coupon: The Seven Swords belonging to the Lords Caspian seeks.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The film's main plot, about the mist of evil and gathering the swords, has no basis in the book series at all. On the other hand, the mist and swords help to tie everything together - the original book was a series of short stories tied together by the eponymous boat, the same characters, and the fact that they were trying to find the seven Lords. With the addition of the mist, it gave the story a kind of nebulous Big Bad of a sort.
    • The naiads. Naked sea people probably wouldn't fly in a family film these days.
    • Eustace turning back into a human happens much later than in the book. While an internal epiphany is much more easily done in a book (that can allow us access to Eustace's thoughts and motivations), his character growth instead happens gradually across the course of the film. Also he didn't do much in the book after he turned back either.
  • Ramming Always Works: The crew attempts this against the gigantic sea serpent — but actually succeeds in only making it angry.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The White Witch in mist form has these.
  • Rousing Speech: Caspian gives one to the crew as they sail into Dark Island, and Reepicheep gives one to dragon Eustace as he tries to flee from the giant sea serpent.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Liliandil does get bumped up a little from this compared to the book. In the book she doesn't even have a proper name; here she's given a role as the Blue Star that guides the protagonists to the islands, and takes on her father's role as Mr. Exposition.
  • Shout-Out: The closing credits are made up of the original illustrations from the book.
  • The Stoic: Drinian is played as this in the movie.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The seven swords of the seven Lords of Narnia, which must be placed on Aslan's Table to put an end to the evil mist plaguing the area.
  • Talking with Signs: I AM EUSTACE "written" in the lava that Edmund sees from being carried in the dragon's claws.
  • Thought-Aversion Failure: See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Throw the Book at Them: In the melee with the slavers, there's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment when Lucy clocks two of them upside the head with their own ledger.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Presumably because Eustace remains a dragon for a much longer length of time in the movie than he does in the book, Lucy gets the bracelet off him right away, rather than having it stuck on his foreleg and causing him considerable pain the whole time he's transformed.
    • His eventual reversion is still painful ("like when you pull a thorn from your foot"), but Aslan removing his dragon-skin via Full-Contact Magic is much less physically disturbing than in the book where Aslan literally peels off Eustace's dragon-form with his claws.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Eustace (in dragon form), with the encouragement of Reepicheep overcomes his fears and beats the crap out of and even sets fire to a kaiju-sized Sea Serpent, then later saves the day by overcoming the Mist and laying the Seventh Sword on the table.
    • Also Lucy, who goes from not fighting at all onscreen in the first film, to drawing her dagger with Aslan at her side in the second, to a successful close-quarters combatant on this occasion.
  • Visible Invisibility: Actually, the Dufflepuds are completely invisible, even to the audience. One can tell roughly where they are, however, by the footprints they leave and the 'puff' of crystallising breath in the cold air when they speak.
  • Vocal Evolution: Eustace's voice grows softer and less-irritating after he returns from being a Dragon.
  • Was Once a Man: The dragon the crew of the Dawn Treader encounters on the island of enchanted gold. Better known to them as Eustace Scrubb. But Eustace himself encounters no dragon, unlike in the book.
  • Weredragon: Eustace gets transformed into a dragon.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    Edmund: Lucy, we'd be so one could tell us what to do. Or who to live with.
    • The White Witch's illusion does this to Edmund too.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lucy calls Caspian and Edmund out after they they are corrupted by the mist.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Given some Adaptation Expansion here. In the book, the fate of Lord Octesian is left unclear, although he presumably died on Dragon Island; in the film Eustace finds his skeleton.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Much like the last film, the trailer gives the impression that the White Witch is a villain in this film. (To a certain extent she is, at least as far as Edmund is concerned. And you can't help but wonder how many times Edmund has to smack her down before she gets the message and stops trying to tempt him.)
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Eustace assumes a rowboat will row itself on command, and is surprised when it doesn't.
  • Xenafication: As with Susan in the other movies, and Prince Caspian especially, Lucy is now far more violent than in the book.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Reep to Eustace.