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Andrew Adamson's 2008 fantasy film and the first sequel in the Narnia film series.

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Improves from the first and provides real thrills.

  • May 18, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
As a child (probably over 30 years ago now), I read the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA every couple of years. I loved the books, and at that time, they seemed like fast moving, exciting adventures to me. Looking at them these days...they are charming but a little slow-paced for a modern audience. I still highly recommend them as an introduction to epics for younger children (kids too young for LORD OF THE RINGS, for example)...but I also admit that they aren't exactly barn-burners.

This was further borne out when I saw the made-for-TV British versions a few years ago. While very faithful to the books...they moved at a glacial pace (and the special effects were pretty awful). My kids couldn't get through them.

So that's the main reason I so much appreciate the latest versions of these great stories. Part 1, THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE was very faithful to the original...yet added some epic action sequences to jazz up modern audiences. My biggest problem with that film was the sometimes poor special effects (I thought The Beavers were pretty badly done...to the point of distraction) and I thought James McAvoy was poorly cast as Mr. Tumnus...again a big distraction. I thought the kids were very good, and Tilda Swinton was probably the perfect person for her role. I liked the movie...but I didn't love it.

I almost love PRINCE CASPIAN, though. For one thing, it's nice to see another book in the series getting loving attention. Second, the four young leads have really grown as performers. (Although the young man playing Edmund has grown just a tiny bit too much...no fault of his.) I particularly liked both of the young actresses. Susan is truly a young woman you would NOT want to mess with in a fight...she's empowered but not the least bit showy about it. And Lucy is perfect...we believe she is always the one who keeps one eye out for Aslan.

The kids return to Narnia after one year back on our earth...and 1300 years have gone by. Their old palace is in ruins, and they quickly discover that a race of humans called the Telmarines have driven the "magical" denizens of Narnia out of their own land. The current leader of Narnia is so cruel, in fact, that he has driven his own nephew Caspian (and rightful heir) out of Narnia and into the woods. There Caspian meets his destiny.

PRINCE CASPIAN is populated with delightful creations. The dwarves are a delight...Peter Dinklage is an actor of considerable gravity and subtlety...and gives a heartbreaking performance. Reepicheep the Mouse appears and steals his scenes...just as he does in the book. There are badgers, mighty Centaurs, fearsome Minotaurs, etc. Most of them are rendered better than in the first movie, and there were only a few moments where the CGI wasn't quite up to the task. For the most part, these creatures felt very much like physical presences.

Naturally, the book's modest action scenes are greatly enhanced for the film. While the ending battles are truly spectacular and actually quite exciting...I enjoyed the sneak attack on the Telmarine fortress almost as much. Not only was it exciting...it had emotional resonance. The great High King Peter and the up-and-comer Caspian both get taken down a peg or two...at a great cost.

I hate to reveal any more plot...because most kids are far less familiar with this story than the first. It isn't exactly a groundbreaking plot...but it's done very well and will engage kids and adults alike. It is rated PG...but I almost think PG-13 would have been more appropriate...it is VERY violent, and lots of people die.

There are some weaknesses, of course...Ben Barnes as Caspian needs some maturing. He looks the part, and no doubt is quite a handsome young man...but his acting skills are not up to his fellow-young people. Perhaps if he returns in a sequel...he'll add some gravitas. Also, the movie is just a little slow going early on. One or two scenes of voyaging or trudging through woods could easily have been eliminated. Once the film kicks into high gear, though...it's pretty terrific. The script itself is fairly faithful to the book and serves its purpose...but it's not transformative.

By no means is this film the masterwork that THE LORD OF THE RINGS series was. It has just a little childish edge to it...which is appropriate. Nonetheless, I heartily recommend it. If you liked the first film...you'll love this one. If you were only so-so on the first film...I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how this one grows.

The best sign, to me, that I liked the film was that five minutes after it was over...I was very sad knowing it would be years before VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER comes. I EAGERLY await that film...with its epic action sequences set at sea.

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More The Chronicles of Narnia: Prin... reviews
review by . January 31, 2010
FAR better then the first film
I still remember all the hype surrounding the first Chronicles of Narnia films, The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Widescreen Edition), and for all that hype, for all that attention it received (due mainly to the success of
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
not my favorite of the chronicles of narnia series, but it was still good
review by . June 10, 2009
The Narnians and the Pevensies
"You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve," said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content."    –Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis   In Disney's first sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, director Andrew Adamson decided to make a darker, more adult film than the original entry film into the Narnia …
review by . December 27, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
If you liked The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I think you'll love The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Technically, as a piece of cinematography, the latter stands as a marked improvement over Andrew Adamson's first Narnia film. Better acting, better special effects, even better soundtrack. The plot also has more twists and turns, from the raid on the castle to the internecine fighting among the Telmarines.    The Pevensie kids feel more comfortable …
review by . May 31, 2009
Prince Caspian Poster
So far, The Chronicles of Narnia films have kind of been like a hidden gem in a recent line of epic films.  Though The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and its sequel film, Prince Caspian don't match up to such films as the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or the Harry Potter films.  However, these first two films have brought some fun entertainment and great stories that I loved growing up as a kid.    One year has passed since the four Pevensie children have left the …
review by . January 18, 2009
This 2nd installment in the Narnia movie franchise picks up one year after the end of the first movie; in England time. When our four heroes return to Narnia, it is actually a millenium later. But the ensuing movie is just as exciting as the first one, with even some romance thrown in at the end. Like any good fantasy movies, Prince Caspian has several grand battle scenes, creatures of various species interacting with each other in English, great swordfighting, and some double-crossing, both by …
review by . December 06, 2008
Prince Caspian is the follow-up to the the very popular Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe of the Chronicles of Narnia book series.    Full of battle scenes, some pretty spectacular. Small children may struggle with fearful images. One scene was particularly sad involved several Narnians caught behind enemy lines awaiting death.    As in the first movie loads of creatures make up Narnia's population. All had been living underground since shortly after the kings …
review by . September 08, 2008
I already expected this to be an exciting movie, but I have to tell you that the excitement got so much higher as I watched this movie with my kids. I couldn't believe just how well this movie was, I mean the first Chronicles is a fantastic movie, but this movie takes a few steps ahead. It's definitely more mature, it takes on a lot of battle scenes, like a Lord of the Rings type of battle with a ton of creatures who are fighting for their land back. We have amazing effects, with taking badgers, …
review by . June 05, 2008
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is the sort of movie that has one group of people it caters to and one it does not. The group the movie does not cater to is the book lovers. These people are the sort of people who read books and complain about the movies for insignificant changes. These are the sort of people who say they would have no problem with the movie if it was under a different title, a logic I've never completely understood, seeing as how book huggers still complain about "The …
review by . May 20, 2008
There are probably two camps who will be interested in this `Narnia' sequel: Those who have read the C.S. Lewis allegorical fantasy series, and those who have not, but loved The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Full Screen Edition).     To be brief, our inquisitive British children return to `Narnia' caught in a time warp that finds it in ruins and its remaining citizens dispirited and scattered. Their enemies, the Telmarines,' have a new heir born …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a story of the Pevensie siblings who are determined toward off an evil king and restore the crown to Prince Caspian.  Directed by Andrew Adamson, this movie was released on May 16, 2008, and was nominated for a MTV Movie Award for the Best Summer Movie So Far and A Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Breakout Movie and Choice Movie: Action Adventure.  The film starred Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, and Peter Dinklage.

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Details

Director: Andrew Adamson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Release Date: May 16, 2008
Screen Writer: Andrew Adamson
DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
Runtime: 144 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios, Walden Media, Walt Disney Pictures
First to Review

"The Boy Who Would Be King"
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