This week at the movies, we’ve got a spiritual journey (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, starring Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) and some European intrigue (The Tourist, starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie). What do the critics have to say?
Thus far, the Chronicles of Narnia movies have generated respectful enthusiasm from audiences and critics – in contrast to the rabid culthood surrounding the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies. And critics say that’s not likely to change with the franchise’s latest outing, (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which they say is visually striking but lacks both excitement and a sense of wonder. Once again, the Pevensie children are back in Narnia, and this time they must journey across the sea and collect seven swords in order to save Narnia from certain destruction. The pundits sayDawn Treader isn’t bad, and some of the creature designs are remarkable, but it’s short on urgency, wide-eyed marvel, and a sense of fun.
Everybody loves a caper picture, the kind in which beautiful people get in and out amidst picturesque locales. Right? Not necessarily in the case of The Tourist; critics say the seemingly can’t-miss proposition of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie trying to escape danger amidst the splendor of Europe’s most iconic cities is a serious letdown, a slow-moving bagatelle with minimal chemistry between its superstar leads. Depp stars as a lovelorn American who meets the mysterious, beautiful Jolie on a train. It turns out she’s caught up in an international game of cat-and-mouse, and Depp is caught in the crossfire. A certain level of absurdity is inherent in this sort of thing, but the pundits say The Tourist is too slackly paced to keep audiences from suspending disbelief, and the romance between Depp and Jolie is a nonstarter. (Check this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some other noteworthy superstar duos in the same movie.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Rabbit a la Berlin, a doc about the thousands of wild hares that lived in the Berlin Wall dunring the Cold War, is at 100 percent.
The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in a drama about a boxer with some serious family problems, is Certified Fresh at 83 percent (check out co-star Amy Adams’s Five Favorite Films here).
Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie, a doc about the countercultural prankster and activist, is at 70 percent.
Finally, props to Harrison M. for coming the closest to guessing The Warrior’s Way‘s 38 percent Tomatometer.