Australian Council on Children and the Media

Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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Not recommended under 10, PG to 12 (Violence, scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  • a review of Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 December 2010.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 10-12 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children over the age of 12 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence and scary scenes
Length 112 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are staying with their extremely spoilt and obnoxious cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). As the three children look at a painting of a ship, The Dawn Treader, on the bedroom wall, the painting comes to life and the children find themselves in the ocean with the ship bearing down upon them. They are rescued by King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and Eustace is befriended by a talking mouse named Reepicheep (voice of Simon Pegg). We learn from King Caspian that he is searching for the seven lost Lords of Telmar, who disappeared while on a quest to defeat a great evil.

The children join Caspian on his voyage and encounter many adventures which test them all, but particularly Eustace.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Fantasy and the supernatural; good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader contains some fantasy action violence with little blood and gore. Examples include:  

  • Caspian shoots a man who is hanging from a rope with a crossbow. The man falls from the rope but no blood is shown.
  • A rough looking pirate restrains Eustace by holding his ear. Eustace appears to be in some discomfort and pain.          
  • A man punches Edmund in the face, knocking him unconscious. A short time later Edmund wakes up in a prison cell.
  • A man runs after a wagon full of prisoners and a guard slaps him across the head, knocking him to the ground.
  • In a fight between a number of pirates and the crew of the Dawn Treader we see sword fighting, men punched in the stomach and head and a man being strangled with a chain. Lucy hits a man across the head, a bull/man creature throws a man through the air, and a man is kicked through a second storey window.
  • A pirate holding a dagger in a threatening manner approaches Eustace who is holding a boat oar. Eustace turns around, accidentally knocking the man over with the oar.  
  • Reepicheep attacks Eustace with a sword, slashing his shirt in several places. The attack is slapstick with a comical intent and Eustace ineffectively slashes at the mouse with a knife.   
  • Under the influence of evil, Edmund and Caspian have an argument that almost comes to physical blows before Lucy steps between the two and stops the fight.
  • Reepicheep stabs a dragon (Eustace transformed) in the foot.  The dragon picks Edmund up in its talons and flies off.   
  • In a battle between the crew of the Dawn Treader and a giant sea serpent, the creature wraps its coils around the ship in an attempt to crush it, snaps at the crew and tries to eat Edmund. The serpent is attacked by a dragon (Eustace transformed) that breathes fire.  The serpent bites the dragon and throws it against a rock. Lucy fires an arrow into the serpent’s mouth and the battle ends when the creature is impaled through the mouth with a magical sword.
  • A sword is thrown at the dragon, sticking into the dragon’s shoulder. Later we see the dragon land wounded on a beach.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • When their bedroom is flooded with water, Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are seen struggling underwater and floundering on the surface before being rescued.
  • Images of large jars containing large bugs and other creepy crawlies.
  • Several of the crew of the Dawn Treader are mythical creatures, half animal and half human in appearance.
  • A rowboat full of prisoner disappears into a sinister green mist.
  • Invisible creatures with gruff voices come into Caspian’s camp, leaving giant sized footprints in the sand. Lucy is picked up by the invisible creatures and carried off. Lucy pulls a knife on the creatures and is knocked to the ground. The creatures threaten Lucy that if she does not do what they want they will kill her friends. Later the creatures are made visible, appearing dwarf-like and with a single large leg.        
  • Several scenes depict ghost-like and threatening images of the White Witch.
  • Edmund discovers the burnt remains of Eustace’s clothes, suggesting that Eustace has been killed. In the same scene we see the skeletal remains of one of the lords of Telmar.
  • Eustace is transformed into a frightening fire-breathing dragon
  • A ball of blue light floats down to earth and transforms into a young women. Later see the woman transform back into a blue ball of light.
  • The sea serpent that attacks the ship is very scary with a large mouth and many teeth.   

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

The film contains some mild name calling and put downs, including:

“useless clown”, “mullet mouth”, “squeal like a girl”, “smells like the rear end of a …”, “senile old coot”,  “spineless sap”.   

In a nutshell

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a fantasy adventure based on the book of the same name by C.S.Lewis. Unlike the previous Narnia film, Prince Caspian, which was more suited to a slightly older audience, this seems to be aimed at 10-14 year-olds.  Parents are cautioned that the film does contain scenes and images likely to disturb younger children, in particularly those under eight.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Don’t doubt your worth or who you are.
  • Before we can conquer the evil outside, we must first conquer our personal fears.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage: At the start of the film Eustace was presented as a selfish coward, but with Reepicheep’s help, Eustace displays courage and selflessness when he risks his own life to protect the others.
  • Selflessness: all of the film’s main characters repeatedly display selfless acts throughout the film.
  • The importance of positive reinforcement and encouragement: Reepicheep’s encouragement of Eustace enabled Eustace to think more highly of himself, making Eustace more selfless and understanding.    

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