The first time we visited Narnia in 2005’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, its citizens were threatened by the mercurial White Witch. In this second installment of the beloved series of books by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the heroes discover that the threat comes in the form of a corrupt human ruler. No doubt that Lewis felt that a greater, more relatable challenge to the resilience of the young heroes would be an evil that is not an external force but personified in greed and tyranny.
The story wastes no time in whisking the Pevensie siblings, Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) away from WWII Britain into the land of Narnia. What was only a few years since the events of the first film in the real world though has been 1,300 years in Narnia and they find that the human Telmarines have driven the Narnians into exile and extinction. Among the Telmarines, there is the treacherous Lord Miraz (Sergio Castellito) who now wishes to eliminate his nephew and would-be heir to the throne, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) after his wife, Queen Prunaprismia (Alicia Borrachero) has finally bore him a son.
Caspian barely manages to escape the attempt on his life thanks to the early warning from his mentor, Doctor Cornelius (Vincent Grass) and finds himself in the midst of Narnians. The latter are reluctant to trust a Telmarine like him at first until he shows his extensive knowledge of the Narnians, including talking animals, Centaurs, Minotaurs, and others including Trumpkin the Red Dwarf (Peter Dinklage). As they realize that the Telmarines led by Miraz will come to hunt all the Narnians down, the Pevensies, Caspian, and the Narnians band together to battle against the impending threat.
The original C.S. Lewis books have been read by millions of children worldwide and one thankful note is how director Andrew Adamson (who did the first two Shrek movies) and his co-writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote both the first film and this one, have not diluted the allegorical themes of the source novels. They may rely much more on spectacle this time around than in the first one and the climactic battle at the end does substantially blow up a small portion of the original book. But they retain the lessons of faith particularly in Lucy, who still believes the Christ-like lion king of Narnia, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) will come again to restore order to the land. While Peter, Edmund, and Susan provide good role models for children in their fierce, admirable mettle (even if the kids cannot imitate their fighting skills), Lucy reflects how there may come a point when we must consider allowing God to step in and do the rest.