Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian B
Reviewing Prince Caspian has made me wonder if perhaps either Iíve become a big softie recently or Iím just losing anything I possibly learned in my Film Criticism classes. The last few movies Iíve reviewed have all been ones that havenít done terribly well with the critics (although Prince Caspian didnít fare too badly) but which I thought werenít that bad. This movie is certainly no exception.
This new chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia movies sees the Pevensie children being whisked away for a second time to Narnia. However, the Narnia they have returned to is very much different to the one that they had left. Thirteen hundred years have passed since the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve peaceably ruled Narnia. Since then, much of Narnia has been invaded by the Telmarines. The old magic of Narnia is gone. The trees, as Lucy notes, no longer dance. Many animals no longer talk and Aslan has not been seen for a very long time. The Pevensies have been brought back by Prince Caspian, the rightful heir of the Telmarine people, who is on the run in Narnia after his usurping uncle, Miraz, fathered a son of his own who he plans to place on the throne. Thus, the audience is placed into a very different Narnia. This Narnia is much darker than the previous movie. Thereís no Father Christmas in this movie, no Turkish delight. In fact, the best way to describe this movie would be as a childrenís version of the LOTR: The Two Towers. Seriously, there are a lot of battle scenes in this movie. Probably more than there needs to be. Aside from definitely venturing further away from the source material with the amount of battles, it also makes for a slightly butt cramping two and a half hours, which while being fairly standard with movies nowadays, is unnecessary for a childrenís movie, much less for such a simplistic plot.
The four young actors portraying the Pevensies do a fine job in this movie, clearly having become better actors since the first movie. Unfortunately, Ben Barnes, who plays Caspian, is a somewhat bland character, with very little growth, although this has less to do with Barnes himself, and more to do with the script which does sacrifice characterization for battles. However, while the title character lacks characterization, I was quite impressed with the characterization given to the Pevensies. Something which is never really addressed in the books is the fact that the children grew up in Narnia, only to find themselves as children again in England. This theme is explored to some extent in the movie. They also have some nice character moments for each of the children, particularly Edmund. Additionally, youíll find some nice performances from the villain Miraz played by Sergio Castellitto, as well as a nice cameo from fantasy veteran Warwick Davis as Nikabrik, and Eddie Izzard who plays Reepicheep (interestingly, Warwick Davis played Reepicheep in the BBC version of Prince Caspian). The battle scenes are fun, although surprisingly bloodless, or unsurprisingly when you consider the PG rating. The movie has some beautiful location shots courtesy of New Zealand (which just makes you think of LOTR again) and for the most part, the FX were great, although, I have to admit, the CG for Aslan looked a bit dodgy in parts! As I said, it doesnít always follow the book, but it is a fairly enjoyable movie if you give it a chance. The three disc edition comes with a nice array of commentaries, deleted scenes, blooper reels, ĎMaking ofí as well as a digital edition of the movie.
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