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Movie Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

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The Pevensie children return to the fantasy land of Narnia in this second installment of the classic C.S. Lewis novels. Following 2005's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an exciting, action-packed fantasy adventure.

If one has not seen The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a viewer may find themselves scratching their head over the story and characters in Prince Caspian unless they have read the novels. Like many sequels, this film doesn't have to bother with setting up a premise or the development of the characters, and proves to be much darker than its predecessor.

One year after leaving Narnia, the four young Pevensie children — Peter (William Moseley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) — find themselves back in the wondrous realm. Upon arrival, the children discover more than 1,300 years have passed in Narnian time, and Narnia has been conquered and destroyed by the invading Telmarines under the control of the evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto).

The children meet up with the young Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne of Narnia, who has been forced into hiding along with the remaining Narnians. The prince's uncle, Miraz, plots to kill the prince and place his own newborn son on the throne. The Pevensie children team up with Prince Caspian and the rest of the Narnians on an extraordinary journey to find Aslan (Liam Neeson) and rescue Narnia from Miraz's oppressive hold.

As far as story is concerned, Prince Caspian has little to none. Director Andrew Adamson, of Shrek fame, is content with having the film act as one giant action sequence without exploring character background. The film has the feeling of a filler. It has little plot development and seems to be waiting until the next novel from C.S. Lewis' chronicles is adapted onto film. The only significant aspect of this film was the introduction of Prince Caspian, who is relevant in the later novels.

What the film lacks in story is made up with action and special effects. Adamson apparently wanted to spend more time on special effects and battle sequences than on the actual story behind all of the action. The digital and special effects (done by Weta Digital) are better than the last film, including improvements on the movement of the centaurs and minotaurs, and the precise detail of the individual sets and Aslan.

The surprise character of the film has to be the mighty mouse, Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard). The character is similar to the sword-wielding assassin of honor, Puss in Boots, in Shrek 2, also filmed by Andrew Adamson. Reepicheep provides much needed humor lacking with the rest of the characters.

Many similarities are evident in this film between the writings of C.S. Lewis and his friend, J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), and Lewis were both authors and leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University during the 1930s. Prince Caspian presents on film the similar ideas both Lewis and Tolkien had in their novels, such as trees that can move and a mystical presence in the water of the rivers.

Rated PG for epic battle scenes and violence, Prince Caspian is much darker than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but is far from the darkness evident in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This film is as much for the youngsters as it is for the adults.

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  • sara

    this is the lamest thing i ever saw, yeahhhhh so dont make anymore of this. LLLLLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEE=LAME!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.kogmedia.com patrick

    haven’t seen Prince Caspian yet but definitely looking forward to it
    i’ll have to look over the book one more time just to remind myself how the original story goes

  • Philip

    just seen it for the second time. made me weep. great movie! i do believe its aims are quite different from those of LOTR. with the second movie, narnia is more than ever a world of its own. nevertheless, i’d say reading the books helps a lot. there are so many things in the books the director managed to suggest some way or the other (for example, susan’s later “parting” from narnia).
    once again, great great movie!