The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader * * *
Cert PG, 112 mins
We’re all at sea for the third in the Narnia series, both literally and figuratively.
While not without some highlights, this is the worst film to date, with some particularly wooden acting.
The two eldest Pevensie children have sensibly jumped ship, leaving the story to focus on siblings Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Plus, the welcome addition of their brattish cousin Eustace Scrubb. Young actor Will Poulter, who’s obviously destined to play Andrew Lloyd Webber, adds some much needed comedy to the movie and shows the other cast members how to act.
Lucy and Edmund are staying with Eustace in Cambridge when a painting of a ship comes alive, filling the room with water.
They surface in Narnia next to the Dawn Treader, a fine-looking ship shaped like a dragon.
They are rescued by King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the mouse Reepicheep (voiced by Simon Pegg).
They tag along on Caspian’s mission, to voyage into dangerous, uncharted waters to find the seven Lord of Telmar and their swords and defeat the evil green mist.
There are some magic moments to be had in Narnia, including an exciting battle with a terrifying sea serpent and the discovery of one-legged hopping dwarves called Dufflepuds.
But the visually stunning scenes are much fewer and further between than in the other Narnian films, and the plot is slighter.
It seems a little odd that Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) is a wonder of modern technology, with every hair of his mane visible, while other special effects fall flat. Despite a briefly exhilarating dragon flight, it’s really not worth watching it in 3D.
My main problem with the film comes at the end, where it crosses the line from touching into sappiness, with an unsubtle religious message for good measure.
It’s not a shipwreck of a film, managing to stay afloat and be mildly entertaining for two hours. But it’s not especially good, either.
If the Narnia movies continue to run out of steam at this rate, I doubt very much that we’ll get to the seventh one in CS Lewis’s Chronicles. RL
Lemmy * * * * *
Cert 15, 116 mins
Just like Anvil: The Story of Anvil last year, this is a ‘rockumentary’ of the highest order.
Schooled in Anglesey, Stoke-born Lemmy will be 65 on Christmas Eve, which makes him old enough to “remember before rock ‘n’ roll when there was only Rosemary Clooney”.
Heaven knows what George Clooney’s aunt would make of Lemmy’s lifestyle of sex and drugs and the rest...
Inspired by Little Richard, he saw The Beatles at the Cavern Club before they were famous and he was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix.
Switching to bass and playing it more like the rhythm guitarist he used to be with bands like The Rockin’ Vickers, Lemmy was part of Hawkwind’s Silver Machine success until a drugs bust.
Enter life as Motörhead, who forged a path for Metallica et al.
Sticking to the roots of lyrics like: ‘You win some, you lose some... it’s all the same to me’, Lemmy says he lives in a world of “controlled madness... I had a dream and that dream came true, why stop?”
As Aston’s own Ozzy Osbourne says: “You either take him or you don’t and he doesn’t give a flying **** whether you do or you don’t.”
Born Ian Kilmister, Lemmy admits to 1,000 lovers but says “I’m 63 and single so it’s not that many.”
He has even swapped partners with his son Paul, musing: “A lot of kids like that, the old man and the son.”
Ahh, Paul. Lenny claims his son’s mother “lost her virginity to John Lennon, but I think she must have been after Paul (McCartney)”.
A tank-driving collector of German wartime memorabilia, Lemmy denies he’s a Nazi: “How could I be when I’ve had six black girlfriends?”
Living in a small LA flat crammed with his own memorabilia, Lemmy denounces his own father for walking out on him, but doesn’t seem to care about the welfare of a second son he’s never seen.
Then again, family life would have made Motörhead unsustainable.
Men, he argues, never tire of ‘a quick one’, but women do.
“You have to give up everything that might be a risk to their sanity,” he says. “And, for a woman to be interesting, she’s got to be a bit of a bitch.”
Stuffed to the brim with compliments from tattooed rock stars as well as fascinating insights into musical technique and even how boots are made from his own designs, Lemmy the film is at the Electric Cinema, Station Street on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday.
It’s a well-crafted, non-sycophantic breeze which ends as if we’ve been watching Mickey Rourke giving his Oscar-worthy masterclass in The Wrestler (2008).
Since Lemmy clearly transcends all known barriers while tapping into man’s primeval spirit, I left thinking that if ever I needed to hitch a lift in any country then a Motörhead T-shirt and a CD of The Ace of Spades would be indispensable. GY
Secretariat * * *
Cert U, 118 mins
A heavily contrived and overlong account of the greatest US horse in racing history, Disney’s Secretariat still has a lot going for it as an old-fashioned family drama.
The cinematography from Dances With Wolves’ Oscar-winning Deam Semler almost puts you in the jockey’s seat and Diane Lane gives her usual quality performance as the owner of a horse which won the fabled Triple Crown 37 years ago by still-record margins.
On the downside, trainer John Malkovich wears the most ludicrous outfits and we learn nothing about how to train a horse (Secretariat benefited from a huge heart and exceptionally long stride).
But even the most stay-at-home non-gamblers will surely enjoy the pumped-up racing sequences. GY