Written by Andrew Adamson & Christopher Markus
& Stephen McFeely
Directed by Andrew Adamson
Running Time: 2:25
for epic battle action and violence.
Much like the first film, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was a decent film that didn't leave me feeling much after it was over, but was entertaining enough while I was watching.
Our 4 intrepid young heroes from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are back again. A year has passed in the real world and literally a few seconds after the elder sister has resigned herself to never going back to Narnia, they end up in Narnia. 1300 years have passed and nothing is the same. The Narnians have been forced into hiding, slaughtered at the hands of the Paravels. In Cair Paravel, young Prince Caspian, heir to the throne, is being pushed out by his uncle. Fearing for his life, he escapes and only with the help of the former Kings and Queens of Narnia, can he regain the thrown, and return Narnia to it's prosperous state. But without the help of Jesus... I mean, Aslan, can the Narnians rise to the challenge?
I can't say I was a huge fan of the first movie when I saw it in theaters, although I did enjoy it more on DVD. So I didn't go into Prince Caspian with huge expectations. Basically I felt the same way I did about the first one - it was decent but not great. I'll start with the story. It was actually a decent story, from the perspective of Prince Caspian. Here was a kid who was destined to be King, but his father was dead and his uncle wanted the throne. So when the uncle has a son of his own, he tries to kill Caspian. Then the rest of the movie with Caspian teaming up with the citizen his people had murdered is a good story. But the problem is the return of the Pevensie kids. They really didn't have much to do in the whole scheme of things. They didn't feel all that useful to me. I mean, it was nice to see them after all this time, and I'm happy they're doing well, but they were rushed back to Narnia, then almost as quickly they leave. I just didn't feel like they were an integral part of the story and yet they are the stars. The real movie is about Caspian but the focus wasn't on him as much as it should have been.
The movie was filled with all sorts of cute (and not so cute) creatures to give it more of a family film feel, but to me the movie was so filled with action and fighting, it was like a cross between Braveheart and the Lord of the Rings. There were huge battle scenes, one-on-one sword fights, people getting stabbed, having their heads cut off, and other bad stuff. There wasn't any real blood, so I suppose that's why the movie is still rated PG, but it was a little more than your standard family film. I will say though that the battle scenes were pretty well done. But much like the first one, the movie felt very choppy, like entire sequences were missing. I know the book is fairly lengthy and they have to keep the movie at a certain running time, but right from the start where we meet the Pevensie children again we see the two elder boys in a fight and then suddenly they're sent to Narnia.
The special effects overall were much better this time around. The last movie I felt was very uneven in that respect. This time though I had a hard time telling CGI from live action. And the creature effects were really well done, especially the badger. All of the creatures were pretty adorable, especially the mouse who I predict will have a big following after this film (and should get his own spin-off!) The creatures provided the most laughs in the film, in an attempt to keep things a little on the lighthearted side, considering the amount of fighting going on otherwise.
I thought the acting was exponentially better than before as well. It's always nice seeing untested child actors come back for a second go around because they're now a little more comfortable in their roles. And the addition of Peter Dinklage was brilliant. He was easily my favorite character in the film and the only one who actually had real emotions. And there is a scene towards the end of the film that will leave a lot of the audience in tears. The rest of the cast was solid enough to not take away from the rest of the film, which is important. Sometimes you have a so-so movie that is hurt even more by a couple of actors who shouldn't be on screen. A couple of characters from the first film make an appearance as well (besides the kids) - there's Aslan of course, who doesn't have a lot to do in the film, but is the spiritual center. And the White Witch makes a cameo and it seems the years haven't been kind to her.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I have mixed feelings about The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It was a decent film with some good action sequences, but it didn't have a strong enough story to be great.
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