Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; fantasy, USA, 2008; D: Andrew Adamson, S: William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes

The four siblings - Peter, Lucy, Susan and Edmund - are back in London, and one year has passed since their last events. While in the subway, they are transported back to Narnia - where 1,300 years have passed in the meantime - because the horn to summon them was blown by Telmarin prince Caspian, who is the rightful heir, but is exiled since his uncle Miraz wants to take over his throne. Siding with Caspian are animals from Narnia. Resisting revenge, Caspian rejects the offer from the Witch and chooses not to kill Miraz in a duel - however, one of his own henchman kills Miraz in order to have an excuse to attack Narnians anyway. Aslan the lion shows up and helps the Narnians win against the Telmarins. The four kids return back to London.

The second adaptation of C. S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" novel series for the big screens, "Prince Caspian" is a solid and easily watchable, though too standard and conventional mainstream fantasy film. It manages to break away from the mainstream area on several occasions, most noticeably since it is more explicit in showing that sword fights can result in deaths, unlike the first film, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", where that was dimmed, but in all other aspects it seems like a half-hearted product where special effects and set-designs stand out more than the pale emotions or characters they are suppose to carry. The characters of the four children truly ended up one-dimensional, almost like underdeveloped extras - for instance, Susan has only one scene where Susan the personality emerges from Susan the character, in the London sequence where a student tries to flirt with her so she presents herself as "Phyliss" - who just say stiff lines but the sole story does not allow them to develop their more interesting traits to the fullest. When a talking mouse is a more fleshed-out character than the four live action protagonists, something is not right. More scenes should have been invested to bring Susan, Lucy, Edmund and Peter to life. One could also wonder why Aslan the lion was hiding throughout the story and helped the four kids only near the end? However, that is more or less pointless to ask since Lewis is more interested in bending everything to subordinate it to his Christian views and hidden messages than to actually craft a logical storyline. In that respect, he missed the point that Aslan could have showed up and help them win already at the beginning. Still, the story does have a few memorable, wise quotes that manage to lift the movie into something more compelling and spiritual (Caspian not wanting to take a life because "It's not mine to take"; the doctor saying: "You may be the most noble contradiction: a Telmarin who will save Narnia").


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