THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA:
PRINCE CASPIAN is the latest of this summers big releases. This is the second movie in the Narnia series based on the C. S. Lewis stories in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. I should point out to those of you who are not familiar with THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA that it consists of really seven separate stories. The first movie, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, was based on the second story in the series. It was released in 2005 and won 1 Oscar and was nominated for two others. PRINCE CASPIAN, based on the 4th story in the series stars the same four main characters from the first movie, Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie, Skandar Keynes as Edmund Pevensie, William Moseley as Peter Pevensie and Anna Popplewell as Susan Pevensie.
PRINCE CASPIAN wastes no time with recaps or character building. It assumes you are already familiar with the story line and characters from the first film. With that out of the way, the story wastes no time in getting started. The story is age old, a young prince is going to be overthrown by the evil pretender to the throne and flees for his life to find a way to get back his throne and overthrow the evil usurper. Our young heroes are summoned back to Narnia, which in Narnia years is 1300 years since they were last there, but only one year in their time scale. They are the Kings and Queens of Old.
That’s all I’ll mention of the plot and story line. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone.
The movie is well done, like the first; I’d even say it was done better. The makeup and special effects are wonderful. There are a ton of different characters both human and non-human, but I have to say that the mice have the best lines!
The movie is directed by Andrew Adamson, who also directed THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, SHERK and SHREK 2. Adamson was also a writer in both Narnia films and SHREK 2 and SHREK THE THIRD. After you have seen this film, you will notice that there is a slight resemblance between Reepicheep the mouse in PRINCE CASPIAN and Puss ‘n Boots in SHREK. That is no accident as Adamson has stated that he developed the character of Puss from the Reepicheep character in Narnia, except for a few subtle differences. Interesting trivia.
The movie runs 146 minutes, the first movie ran 145, and the time flies. There are just a few spots where the story drags a bit, but other than that it’s pretty non-stop.
The CGI characters are all wonderful. Computer animation has come a long way. I did have some problems with the centaurs though. The centaurs in the Harry Potter films are 100% CGI, if I remember correctly. The centaurs in Narnia are actors with CGI added for the hind sections. This is quite a feat to do and it is done very well for the most part, but still, there are a lot of scenes where the centaurs are always facing directly to the audience to hide their hind sides. I found that obvious and a bit annoying. But, I’m far too critical here, I’m sure. I also wish that the centaurs had a bigger role in the dialog. There are lots of centaurs, but very few lines for them. I see them as far too important characters to be left out.
The other thing that bothered me was the acting of the William Moseley (Peter Pevensie). He just didn’t do it for me. He came off as to strained and phony, but, hey, I’m a critic, right? But, that is made up for with the mice. I just love what they did to the cat!
But, despite it all, I found PRINCE CASPIAN a well done, exciting and entertaining film. For non-Narnia fans, I’d give it an 8 out of 10 since you don’t know what it’s all about. For Narnia fans, I’ll give it a 9 out of 10. If you’re a fan or not, read the books!!