Review: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
PLOT: It has been thirteen-hundred years back in the land of Narnia. But for the Pevensie siblings, they are only a couple of years older. Little Lucy waits for one day to return to the place she fell in love with, and thanks to a young Prince, she gets her wish. When Prince Caspian is banished because the lord protector has gained a son, he finds that the legends of what once was are true. Narnia, has fallen hard and many of its creatures have gone into hiding. And once the Pevensies return as the kings and queens of old, a battle begins, to take back what once was.
There is something unavoidably powerful when a tale of sword and sorcery is well told. Yes, it can crumble to a cheesy, over-the-top borefest when it becomes a cliché mess as opposed to a well crafted story, yet with THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN, director Andrew Adamson is able to generate enough chivalry and magic to conjure up an entertaining sequel. As with another popular franchise, Narnia sticks with a talented group of actors to remain at the core of the story, Georgie Henley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell are all very charming as they return to their roles as the Pevensie family. Im guessing the success of HARRY POTTER has made it difficult to just stick new actors in every time they ask for too much money. And truthfully, this is a good thing. The four original characters return easily to their perspective roles. I actually enjoyed how both Henley and Keynes have changed from the original film as Lucy and Edmund.
It has been thirteen hundred years since the foursome left Narnia as such a happy place with no white witch to spread her hate. But there is trouble stirring, when a young man who would be king, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) finds that his Uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) and wife have born a son. Well, when the regent hears the news, he sends his men to kill the prince. I kept wondering if RICHARD THE THIRD would wander around the castle screaming, My HORSE! MY HORSE! MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE!. But alas, it didnt happen. Yet the young Prince narrowly escapes through a local wardrobe closet (if youve seen the first one, youll certainly recognize the significance) which leads to a few hidden tunnels. Once outside the castle, he takes his horse into the dark of the haunted woods. It is there he finds remnants of the odd little folk who once made Narnia their home. Apparently, much has changed since the white witch was killed, and now the trees have stopped their dancing, and many of the animals have stopped speaking. As one character offers up, when you are treated like a dumb animal than you become a dumb animal (that may not be exactly the quote, but it will suffice).
So when Prince Caspian ends up lost, he finds the key to bring the Pevensie family back to right the wrongs that have been done. And so, the Kings and Queens of old return, albeit they are in their younger state at the moment. If youve forgotten, it seems that life inside Narnia ticks away but once you return, it seems like time had stopped. If you havent seen the original or read the books, then I suggest you do one or the other before venturing into this world. For as often as it resembles LORD OF THE RINGS with battling trees, and even a few similar characters, it still might be difficult to factor in all the info without prior knowledge. Not that this is a complicated tale. But by the time you try and figure things out you may just find yourself losing interest.
As far as this kind of genre that is geared towards families, I think I prefer the Narnia series slightly to the more Pagan loving crowd of HARRY POTTER (that really surprises me, Im all about the witches). The main reason is that at least, this episode felt more like LORD OF THE RINGS than the first NARNIA. I always feel with Harry Potter, that the films are a bit too similar, aside from the last couple. But with Narnia, there is death and there is a bit of violence as the two armies battle at Helms Deep (okay, it wasnt Helms Deep but it looked like it could have been). But the truth is, both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien were very good friends and used to discuss literature together. Im guessing some of their ideas were in some way shared. And yet, Narnia, with its touch of Christianity is still a pretty beautiful world. The talking animals and the dancing trees and the myriad of creatures created by KNB are all pretty wonderful. This is a very competent family tale of fighting the good fight and letting those who are the destitute and the downtrodden, or just minotaurs and talking lions lead a peaceful life while letting the true king reign.
But on the dull end of the blade, I was not completely enchanted with Prince Caspian himself. Bens accent was a bit silly and earned a few laughs when he gets intense. But it wasnt too bad in the lighter moments. I think less is more sometimes and it might have been better off to not use one at all. Yet, it made sense with the rest of the casting. I was thankful, that the veterans from the first film all showed such growth. They almost always brought me back in. I also felt that this time around it seemed a bit long. The first one moved fairly quickly while this one seemed to be a little too much. It is hard to adapt a story like this, but for some reason, the pacing just seemed to drag at times. A few cuts might have helped this. Yet there is quite a bit of goodness going on back at Narnia. It is a very well done family adventure, that even ends on a overly sappy song. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that song makes me think of all things happy. In short, I could have done without it. My rating 7/10 -- JimmyO
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