The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

Genre: Fantasy Running Time: 2 hrs. 30 min.

Release Date: May 16th, 2008 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Andrew Adamson Actors: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Vincent Grass

 


 

“T

he Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is nearly as entertaining as the first theatrical film in the persisting adaptations of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia book series. The action sequences and special effects continue to improve exponentially, but the plot remains uninspiringly repetitious; here, there simply isn’t any revivification. While Lewis may have created countless original ideas in his novels, the movies themselves have been beaten to the punch by “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” “Shrek,” and many others, causing this second outing to feel like it’s generously borrowing elements from other popular fantasy fare. Amusing at times but always predictable, this sequel is sure to win over longtime fans – though it’s unlikely to garner new recruits.

Only a few years have passed in England, but eons have drastically changed the war-torn lands of Narnia. When the scheming Lord Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) plots out a usurpation of the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the young royalty inadvertently summons the kings and queens of old – Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley). Forming an allegiance with the scattered Narnians, Prince Caspian and the Pevensies (with the help of a little magic and a talking lion) must wage battle against Miraz’s Telmarine army to once again restore peace to Narnia.

The story starts right up without pausing considerably to educate unfamiliar or forgetful audiences as to the origins of Narnia, or the magical elements that affect the Pevensie children. While many will grow accustomed to Narnia’s paradisiacal qualities, the children’s return, without the use of the wardrobe, is rather inexplicit. Along those lines, the mysteries surrounding Aslan’s apparitions, Lucy’s selective use of her healing serum, and the unharnessed powers of Mother Nature all bring questions to the film – most of which are never answered.

As the children mature, so do the Shakespearean themes and tone of this darker follow-up. Tragically, the biggest downfall to the fascinating world of Narnia and its colorful inhabitants is the fact that nearly every idea has already been expended by other movies. C.S. Lewis may have crafted many creative elements back in the ‘50s, but numerous other entities have visualized them at the box office. Whether it’s Reepicheep, who is unappealingly similar to “Shrek’s” Puss In Boots, or the Telmarine infantry, whose armored masks closely resemble “300’s” Immortal army, “Narnia” can’t muster a feeling of originality. It’s a shame that many viewers’ first encounter with the thaumaturgical inventions of Narnia will be through the film and not the novels.

Despite a “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” type of drawn-out conclusion (a comparison that high fantasy films should avoid), “Prince Caspian” manages to amp up the level of adventure. Better stunts, superior use of slow-motion, and family-friendly violence (such as a PG-styled decapitation) aid in the project’s smooth pace and sustained action. A more savage, scorched Narnia doesn’t necessarily make a better one, but new heroes and villains, nonstop epic battles, and a mature setting help keep this second Disney take afloat in the heavily treaded waters of fantasy novel adaptations.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10