>> The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (John’s Review, 6.5/10)

Prince CaspianPrince Caspian is like watching all of the parts of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that I didn’t really enjoy, namely, the parts with clanging swords and allegorical politicking amongst fawns, centaurs, and the like.  I could appreciate the sense of wonder upon entering Narnia in the first film.  I mean, everybody likes funny animals and Santa Claus, right?  But as the film marched towards a strangely inevitable Diet LOTR climax, my interest waned.  There’s nothing particularly wondrous about this return visit to C.S. Lewis’s mythical land; neither in the story nor the execution.

Set a few hundred years after Wardrobe, Caspian (Ben Barnes) is a Telmarine prince who seems like an easy target for his uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), who wants to rule the Telmarines with an iron fist.  A botched assassination attempt on Prince Caspian opens the film, and, in a panic, he blows an enchanted horn which transports Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan from their dreary lives in 20th Century England, back into Narnia.  These former kings and queens of Narnia form a quick alliance with Prince Caspian to prevent Miraz from taking the throne and destroying the few remaining Narnians that are left in this more natural, less magical world.

(Strangely the psychological ramifications of the Pevensie children being thousands of years old because of the fact that they’ve already led full adult lives ruling over Narnia, is never explored.  This is particularly weird in the case of young Lucy, who not only behaves like a little girl, but is basically treated as one by everyone she encounters.  My suspension of disbelief would be strong enough to ignore this particular bit of malarkey, if the Pevensies weren’t always making wisecracks about how old they really are.)

The Christian allegorical content of Prince Caspian is on the surface a little bit more than in the first film.  Lucy keeps spotting Aslan, and while the others don’t see him, it is important to their survival that they believe that he still exists, and that they consider what Aslan’s will is before they enter into any battle.  WWAD, indeed.  The one battle where they do rely on their own instincts goes poorly, and that’s no big surprise given that some of the characters practically scream “THIS IS NOT WHAT ASLAN WOULD DO” as they reluctantly enter battle.

The battles are a step up from Wardrobe.  No longer are war scenes filled with rubber-masked extras clanking swords together like first-timers at a ren fair, and while it doesn’t reach Peter Jacksonesque heights, it’s slightly better than Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood movie when it comes to mass castle invasion.

Sometimes I just have to realize that a particular movie is not really for me.  I’ve never been a big fantasy guy, and both Narnia films have failed to connect with me on any kind of level.  Really, this is lightweight stuff for kids that aren’t quite teens–an adventure movie created for people who haven’t watched a lot of adventure movies, nor had any particular personal adventures of their own.  Writer/director Andrew Adamson doesn’t think big enough for Narnia; neither from his imagination nor from his emotional heart.  These films squander their potential to emotionally connect with a wider audience by keeping things as thin as the paper that the original novels are printed on.

6.5 on a 1 to 10 scale

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2 Comments

  1. You’re not a big fantasy guy?
    I still wanna catch this eventually.

  2. I’m not interested in stories with wizards and warriors and elves and dwarves and such. Just not my cup of tea, in a general sense.


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