Prince Caspian – Spoiler-free Review

May 16, 2008 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

Picking up a year after the first one ended, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian finds the four Pevensie children still living through Nazi bombing raids in England and trying to go about their lives, all with the knowledge that the amazing world they left is one they may never get back to. Peter (William Moseley), the eldest boy, is having trouble adapting to life in our world after being a king and leading troops into battle in Narnia. This all changes when Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) sounds a magical horn, featured in the first movie, that calls the Pevensie’s back to Narnia.

Caspian was the heir apparent to the throne of the Telmarines who have taken control of Narnia. The Telmarines, most of which speak with Spanish accents, have committed genocide and have tried to wipe out the Narnians. The Narnians aren’t too happy about this and have fled deep into the woods to avoid being killed or captured. Caspian escapes when his uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) tries to kill him in order to make his own son the heir to the throne. The next two or so hours is basically the Pevensies re-uniting with the Narnians, now led by the exiled Caspian, and trying to oust Miraz and restore the land of Narnia to the Narnians.

The first movie was filled with Judeo-Christian allegory, but this one is nearly devoid of it. The only main theme that I could pick up on is this idea of absolute faith, belief in something without having proof of it. Basically, only Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley), the youngest, believes that Aslan (Liam Neeson) will return; whereas everyone else, even the other siblings, believe Aslan has abandoned Narnia. This absolute faith is what saves them in the end.

The rest of the movie is a well-done adventure with some rousing battles and sword fights. The abundance of action, however, makes me question the PG rating is received. In the first movie, there really weren’t any humans, aside from the Pevensies. Here, the Telmarines are human, fighting against the Narnians, and the children do get plenty of opportunities to slash and shoot their way through ranks of Telmarine soldiers. Honestly, I’d say this movie should’ve been PG-13 for the bodies that pile up by the end of the movie. Granted, there really isn’t any blood, but when you see Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) swinging his sword and striking enemy soldiers, you know those guys are dead.

There is a bit of a romance that develops between Caspian and Susan Pevensie (Anna Popplewell), but this romance is very brief and not very well-developed. Humor is more prevalent throughout this movie, as well. There are some good one-liners said by the children and by Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage). Also, the audience that I saw this with absolutely loved Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard), a chivalrous mouse who leads a band of mice that fight against Miraz and his troops.

The only thing that really bothered me were these ‘glorious charge’ moments. For example, the Pevensies are leading a raid on the Telmarine castle in an effort to force a surrender from Miraz. When the Narnian troops finally enter, Peter yells, “For Narnia!” and the troops valiantly rush forward. However, this is about the hour-and-a-half mark, so this obviously isn’t the end of the movie. Repeat that phrase (occasionally replacing ‘Narnia’ with ‘Aslan’) roughly three or for more times. Yes, moments like these can really fire up the audience and make them cheer, but if you do it too many times, it loses its intended effect. The last charge, though, really got the audience excited. And occasionally the acting is cheesy, especially from Lucy.

Prince Caspian is, in my opinion, a better movie than the original, simply because there’s just more going on screen. There’s more action, more humor, and it all moves along at a brisk pace. The movie runs approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes (slightly longer than Speed Racer), but there’s enough going on that anyone should be able to sit through this. But, like I mentioned before, the violence level is amped up a bit, so be weary if you’re planning on bringing the little ones.

8.5/10

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