Movie Review
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian poster
By Craig Younkin     Published May 17, 2008
US Release: May 16, 2008

Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Georgie Henley , William Moseley , Skandar Keynes , Anna Popplewell

PG for epic battle action and violence.
Running Time: 144 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $140,693,781
The battles, the effects, and almost all of it makes for good family entertainment.
"The Chronicles of Narnia” has gorgeous looking set-design and visuals, a really good cast, and stories that teach a good moral lesson. But one thing keeps me from really raving about the series so far, which is it is not “Harry Potter.” When I watched the first one something just seemed missing. Maybe it was originality, maybe the kid actors just didn’t charm me in the same way and maybe it was the promise of dealing with weightier subjects still to come, but my inner jury is still out on whether this series has a chance to touch epic greatness or not. I went into “Prince Caspian” hoping for a clearer picture and what I got was something far less than “Potter” and “Rings," and yet still something entertaining and fun.

As I remember it, the Pevensie children, Lucy (Georgia Henley), Edmund (Skander Keynes), Peter (William Moseley), and Susan (Anna Popplewell) were crowned Kings and Queens of Narnia after helping Jesus (actually Aslan) the Lion defeat the white witch. It is now one year later and the kids find themselves back in Narnia, where they are surprised to discover that Narnia is now 1300 years older and the years have not helped it age well. Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). The King’s nephew, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), has called the children back to Narnia to help him take back the throne and establish himself as its rightful heir. Miraz has forced Caspian into hiding and vowed to kill him so that he can put his son on the throne next. With the help of a kindly dwarf, Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage), and many other Narnian creatures, the kids and Caspian set out to find Aslan (Liam Neeson) and put an end to Miraz’s reign on Narnia.

The screenplay by Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely begins slowly with its plot setup but it doesn’t take long before “Narnia” turns into "Lord of the Rings"-lite. This is a much more brutal “Narnia” movie, staging two absolutely epic and rousing battles (one an invasion on Miraz castle and the other being Narnia’s final stand against Miraz) that will thrill both young and old. I love an excellently choreographed sword-fight and this movie doesn’t disappoint in that category either. There’s no blood but for a children’s film, the action is first-rate and non-stop excitement. The visual effects and make-up design on the Narnian creatures are a marvel to behold and the music by Harry Gregson-Williams adds to the movie's epic feel. “Narnia” also offers a bit of compelling religious symbolism, specifically referring to such topics as believing in a higher power and temptation.

“Prince Caspian” does have its problems, primarily coming from the four leads. While these kids are likable in and of themselves, you never really see them as having individual personalities. They’re noble and brave and the actors play the roles well but they’re also pretty bland and the movie is at its weakest when they’re talking to one another. Peter Dinklage, on the other hand, is a nice addition to the cast and adds some comic relief, and the ladies are going to love the charming Ben Barnes. Castellitto’s glowering Miraz makes for a decent villain and if you were going to give a voice to Jesus, who’s better to do it than the hearty and authoritative Liam Neeson.

One other problem is that “Caspian” seems to steal several ideas from “Lord of the Rings” (walking trees, anyone?) and at times that can be distracting but overall this is a kids movie that will excite adults as well. The battles, the effects, and almost all of it makes for good family entertainment and after last week’s terrible “Speed Racer," they could use some. Enjoy!
Craig's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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