Film Reviews

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

By • Jun 9th, 2008 •

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Far superior to its predecessor and the faun has evolved into a more masculine background extra.

I liked THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, though I thought the faun, Mr. Tunmus (even though it was played by now-heartthrob James McAvoy) was creepy.

PRINCE CASPIAN is more mature and has at its center an actor who can be charismatic by just standing around. Imagine if he had something more to do!

Somehow, all of C.S. Lewis’s books slipped past me, so I am shocked to find out that there are seven in the “Narnia” series. The last time we saw the kids was way back in 2005. I recall it snowed a lot and there was a semi-naked faun always spying on the kids.

The Pevensie kids, Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) are summoned back to Narnia when Prince Caspian blows a horn. Being former kings and queens, it is a real karmic slap in the face that they have been sent into the future to be middle-class high school students in wartime England. Thankfully, that horn transports these royal beings to their magical land where everyone bows to them.

It’s like Buddha came back.

Last time they were in Narnia was a year ago in Earth time. In Narnia, 1,300 years have passed. King Miraz’s (Sergio Castellitto) wife has just given birth to a son, which means Prince Caspian’s (Ben Barnes) right to his father’s throne is in jeopardy. It’s time to form an army and storm the castle!

Caspian flees for his life and, when found by a dwarf named Trumpkin the Red Dwarf (Peter Dinklage) and his roommate Nikabrik the Black Dwarf (Warwick Davis), he blows the horn. Help arrives from 1,300 years ago!

The Caspian posse is filled out by Trumpkin’s buddy, a talking badger named Trufflehunter (voice by Ken Scott). Then there’s the swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard) who is starring in his own Disney movie.

Now the royals join forces with Prince Caspian to win Narnia’s freedom from Miraz’s rule.

I liked that the kids see cave art memorializing themselves like “mythical” Egyptian gods and goddesses. There was a prophecy they would return. There are two impressive battle scenes, one involving past High King, the young Peter, now up against the evil, old tyrant Miraz, and the grand finale where even the rats form a fighting brigade.

When tiny creatures, like rats, talk, why don’t people have to bend down and put their ear to the ground?

Narnia is a peaceful community of woodland human-creatures of centaurs, minotaurs, moving conscious trees, and rodents. Against the numbers, they decide to fight Miraz’s million-man army. They have stones.

Dinklage is so good, you will want a spin-off. Why does he live with an old guy and a naked badger? Where are the lady dwarfs? Heavily made up with a prosthetic nose, his wry attitude is just what Narnia needs. He should have had a scene with the White Witch (Tilda Swinton)! That would have been this year’s acting Olympics.

The internet buzz began some time ago about Barnes, and he deserves it. With the four Pevensie kids, Lucy ticking off the minutes to sexual ripeness, and Dinklage stealing every scene he’s in, it’s easy to miss Barnes and forget the movie is named after him. He stands around a lot. But he does it with panache!

The story is darker, and people get killed in battles. Only little Susan stays off the battlefield. Director Andrew Adamson (who also directed WARDROBE) and his CGI team have done a much better job maturing the series.

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