The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – A Kingly Effort

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian     B+

Starring Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage, and Sergio Castellitto
Directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek)
Rated PG for epic battle action and violence
Appropriate for all ages

The Story: While only one year has passed since Lucy, Susan, Peter, and Edmund left Narnia to go back to London, 1300 years have passed in Narnia.  An evil king (Castellitto) attempts to kill his nephew Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne, forcing Caspian to flee into the woods where no one will follow him.  When he summons the kings and queens of old to come back to Narnia, the five young rulers must fight for all of the creatures of Narnia and attempt to create peace throughout the land.

The Good: Disney has done a remarkable job of making this film look great (of course it helps to have Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop on your side).  The melding of computer animation with live action and lush landscapes makes this a memorable film at least.

I also really enjoyed the last hour of this two-and-a-half hour long film very much.  The battle sequences trump that which was seen in the first Narnia flick in both scope and realism.

As for the acting, Ben Barnes was a perfect Prince Caspian (maybe a little too good-looking – but I’ll forgive him) and Peter Dinklage was equally strong as the dwarf Trumpkin.  As a side note – if you liked Dinklage here – check out his indie hit The Station Agent – he might be a little person, but he’s one of the biggest talents in Hollywood. 

There is some word going around that due to the violent nature of the film, that it might be too much for young children.  That depends on the parent.  There is no bad language, sex, nudity (even the female centaurs have shirts on), and while there is lots of violence, blood is almost non-existent.  I would have rather had it a little bloodier, but with young kids being the target audience, I can understand that artistic decision. 

The Bad: I found much of the action revolving around the four siblings to be a little annoying.  I loved the action with Caspian and crew, but the four returning characters only added storyline, not excitement.  Most of their dialogue was stale and their acting seemed more whiny at times than decisive.

I would have also liked the editing tightened up a bit.  Much of the second act drags senselessly.

The Summary: Breathtaking visuals and a strong new cast make Caspian an excellent sophomore Narnia pic. 

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