THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader comes exactly like all the other BBC Narnia adaptations that is to say, it is very faithful to the source work (C.S. Lewiss 1952 novel of the same name) but suffers from poor production values. The book suffers as a result of having been condensed to be told in four episodes and placed on the back end of Prince Caspian. The story, for instance, abruptly opens with the children being whisked into the painting no explanation, nothing, and certainly none of the books preamble where Lucy and Edmund are sent on holiday and encounter the obnoxious Eustace he gets almost no introduction. The condensed nature of the story makes the episodic quality of the original book even more evident. C.S. Lewis was clearly using the story to create more heavy-handed lessons in Christian morality about the evils of greed and covetousness where the pool of gold comes to symbolise the love of money ..., where Eustaces transformation into a dragon becomes a lesson in humility, where Lucy must resist the temptation of vanity when she comes across the beauty spell and so forth.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader suffers from the same weak dramatics of the rest of the BBC adaptations, which were problems that came more from C.S. Lewis than the writers of the various series. Many dramatic aspects seem poorly motivated. For example, when the party come upon the pool that transforms objects into gold, they are overcome by backstabbingly vicious greed with almost instant rapidity, until the appearance of Aslan banishes these feelings as quickly as they came. One can see C.S. Lewiss point in wishing to beat a tub about covetousness but when the otherwise noble characters are suddenly beset by such sins out of nowhere, it seems ungainly and unconvincing. Eustaces brattish obnoxiousness is also overstressed.
Occasionally though, the magic does fire up and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has a competent flight of the imagination during its picaresque. I liked the sequence where Caspian confronted and deposed the governor who was selling slaves. There are occasionally some appealing characters, with the show being stolen by dwarf actor Warwick Davis, the chief Ewok and the title character in Willow (1988) for George Lucas and Marvin in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (2005), as a fiercely dedicated warrior mouse. There are some oddly surreal sights like that of the giant one-legged Dufflepudstrampolining through the air.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader also suffers from the same shoddy production values that beset the other adaptations. The dragon that Eustace transforms into is highly unconvincing, seeming like no more than the big oversized puppet it is. The effects are even worse when the dragon takes to the air and the slipshod blue screen effects come into play. There is also the use of animation to stand in for magical creatures that we saw in the first series, used here to represent birds, bees and storm clouds, which is only loudly signals impoverishment of budget. To their credit, the BBC have gone out and obtained the use of a real sailing ship to stand in for the Dawn Treader.
As part of the big screen Narnia adaptations mounted in the 2000s, the story here was filmed as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010).
Full mini-series available online in several parts beginning here:-