The third in the “Narnia” series in now at a theater near you.

The good news: It’s better than Prince Caspian.

The bad news: It’s a bit hard to follow.

The Good news: Eustace.

There I was, sitting annoyed and bored as the gushy Pevensie kids were saying how happy they were to be back at Narnia…. but there was Eustace grumping about how silly the whole thing was. I couldn’t agree more.

The movie tries to keep everything from the book in it’s plot, and as a result, a lot of the plot passes by so fast that you might miss them. And if you are familiar with the book, some of the changes seem to make the film more superficial for older viewers.

Yes, the kids are captured by slave traders  (no cellphone to call for help back in 1944, or in Narnia). But the very funny part in the book about no body wanting to buy the obnoxious Eustace went by so quickly that you might have missed it.

Indeed, although Eustace is the obnoxious brat in the books, in the movie, Lucy and Edmund seem to be having the grumps in this movie.

Lucy wants to be beautiful and uses a magic book to see what she might look like if she were  as beautiful as her sister Susan. (“Be yourself” Aslan later corrects her). Later, she tells the same thing to a young heroine worshipping girl.

But in the book, Lucy uses the magic book to see what her friends at home are doing, and gets a nasty shock. She overhears her best friend not disagreeing when another girl says something nasty about her. Aslan later points out that her eavesdropping was wrong, and that she now will never know if the friend was silent out of agreement or out of fear of being ostracized by the other girls, and as a result of her snooping, she has lost that friendship forever.

Similarly, there is a subplot about Edmund wanting to be a king again, and fighting with Prince Caspian at one point about who should be boss. He’s almost as bad as he was in book one.

Tell you the truth, the best part of the movie wasn’t in the book: it’s when Eustace turns into a dragon. Then, voila, once he is a dragon he becomes friendly and helpful.

Eustace as superhero, using his dragonhood  to save the ship by pulling it out when there is no wind. And again, there is Eustace the dragon fighting the evil sea serpent, risking his life for the others. True, at first Eustace doesn’t want to fight, but Reepicheep gives him a pep talk, and voila, instant Terminator-Dragon. And the kids loved that part.

For his heroism, Aslan  rewards him by turning him back to being a boy again.

Yet in the book, the cowardly whiny Eustace became a cowardly whiny dragon.  And Aslan only can turn him into a boy by removing his (dragonish) skins, i.e. Eustace’s greed, resentment and snobbery.  Guess that one was too theological for film.

But anyhow, the dragon fight against the sea-monster was the best part of the movie.

If the best part was the dragon, the second best part was Reepicheep, the valiant sword buckling mouse. But again the plot line goes so fast that his best lines are lost.

So should you see the movie, and should you take your kids to see the movie?

As an adult, I’d pass. Read the book instead.

But for kids over age five up to age 12, it’s a good movie that won’t go over their head. The special effects are good, and it doesn’t have too many boring parts.

After all, what kid wouldn’t like to morph into a dragon, kill a monster, and become a hero?

I give it three stars out of five.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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