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Chronicling Narnia

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prince_caspian-poster21.jpg“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is colossal! It’s gigantic! It’s huge! It’s galactic! It’s also really long with a running time of 2 hours 24 minutes.

“Prince Caspian,” the sequel to Disney Pictures and Walden Media’s $700 million blockbuster hit, “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” merits praise for its family-friendly nature, charm and computer generated images (CGI). Moviegoers will notice returning director Andrew Adamson elected to make the new film darker in tone than the first movie.

The movie starts with an earsplitting scream from a woman giving birth. The baby is the son of the antagonist, Regent Miraz, of Telmar which forces Prince Caspian to run away from his home.

Viewers find out that Miraz killed Caspian’s father, King Caspian IX, to take the throne. After the hostile takeover, Miraz conquers the land of Narnia forcing the Narnians to go into hiding.

While on the run, Prince Caspian unintentionally finds Narnia’s Nikabrik, a dwarf, and Trufflehunter, a talking badger. Thinking his life’s in danger, Caspian blows a magic horn that summons siblings, the former kings and queens of old Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy.

In the meantime, Caspian gains the trust of the two Narnians and is introduced to more including centaurs, minotaurs, bears and more. Caspian agrees to be the true king of Narnia and help them take back their land.

Although only a year has passed in the kings and queens of old Narnia’s world, Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy discover 1300 years have passed in Narnia. When the kings and queens return, they rescue a dwarf from Talmarine soldiers. The dwarf informs them about what’s going on in the world and the four come to the aid of Prince Caspian.

Two uber-cool elaborate battle scenes make up a sizable portion the film. The battles pit crisp CGI Narnian characters like mice, lions, flying gryphons, cheetahs, Niads and dryads against hoards of the Talmarines all without a drop of blood being spilled.

Much like “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Adamson blends fantasy and reality together to make battles seem as real as they can be for a PG rated movie.

One of the problems with the film is that the two main battle scenes are almost too long. Yes, the technology of today is snazzy, but it becomes a little too much. Long fights seem to halt the film rather than progress the plot. Because of the fighting quagmire, many of the characters come off as being bland.

C.S. Lewis’ “Prince Caspian” has a slew of likeable characters which has charmed children and adults alike for generations. Adamson’s adaptation of “Prince Caspian,” however, doesn’t quite measure up to the book because a combination of forced dialogue and stiff acting which take away from the films grandeur. The actors who play Caspian and the kings of queens of old Narnia are mediocre at best.

On the up-and-up, the warrior mouse, Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard) the red-dwarf Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) steal the show. Both are spot on representations of Lewis’ vision. Although the great divine lion, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) isn’t in the film as much as the previous movie, Neeson pulls off the Christ-like image nicely.

Despite the flaws in the “Prince Caspian” film, moviegoers who’ve never read the book will enjoy themselves in the theatre; yet, those who’ve read the novel might not be impressed because it lacks Lewis’ message. Overall the grade is a B-.