PG for epic battle action and violence.
May 16, 2008
Literary and Fantasy
Ben Barnes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Peter Dinklage
Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeeley, Andrew Adamson (adaptation), C.S. Lewis (source)
Movie Web site
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Prince Caspian: A Bold Departure
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
- Based on the theme of losing faith and regaining it, the much ballyhooed The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Walt Disney/Walden Media) opens nationwide in theaters today. A departure from the character driven and widely hailed 2005 release The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian relies much more on adrenaline-laced action than it does on the beloved characters created by C.S. Lewis.
In this sequel that shades itself darker than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, have returned to Narnia 1,300 years after they were crowned kings and queens to find a land that is very different from when they left. The land they remember has fallen into ruins as a group of pirates from the land of Telmar (Telmarines) have taken over Narnia and driven all the creatures into the forest. Complicating matters, Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne has been driven out by his evil uncle Miraz. The children are back to help Prince Caspian restore Narnia to what it once was but along the way will face tremendous challenges including their belief in Aslan.
If you are expecting Prince Caspian to be a shot by shot re-enactment of the book, guess again. For the most part the film’s director, Andrew Adamson, has remained true to purists of C.S. Lewis’ writing but the film contains several scenes not found in the 180 page children’s classic including a subtle romantic tension between Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) and a pivotal scene involving the White Witch (Tilda Swinton).
Where the film soars is in its cinematic splendor and use of computer generated characters. Shot on location in various parts of the world including New Zealand’s South Island and Prague, Czech Republic, the film looks magnificent on the big screen especially the scenes shot in lush green forests and the crystal-clear water’s edge. In addition, Prince Caspian’s Trufflehunter and Reepicheep are leagues ahead of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’s Beavers in terms of movement and texture. Even Aslan is more lifelike.
While fairly obscure, Christian viewers will be delighted with the undercurrent of faith that flows throughout the film’s 144 minutes. Tantamount to this premise, the scenes involving Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) are tender yet packed with spiritual truth.
Whereas The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe highlighted the mutually greedy relationship between Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and the White Witch, Prince Caspian belongs to the reluctant partnership between Peter (William Moseley) and Prince Caspian. Moseley shines in his role as the reluctant, erstwhile High King who must bequeath the kingdom of Narnia to its rightful heir.
Where the film fails is the cartoonish representation of two new characters to Narnia. One is the liberal infusion of Adamson’s Puss n Boots character from the Shrek movie franchise into Reepicheep the diminutive mouse warrior. Serving as Prince Caspian’s comic relief, the sword wielding rodent comes across as a cheap imitation of the swashbuckling feline sans knee high boots. Also, while Peter Dinklage turns in a credible performance as the skeptical red dwarf Trumpkin, he bares a striking resemblance to the William Wallace character from Braveheart every time he appears on screen.
Ultimately, Prince Caspian is a film that wants you to believe that great change and sacrifice can bring about great progress to a hurting world. A few larger than life sword fights, intense battle scenes, and the sage advice of a messianic lion go a long way in helping that cause.
More from CBN.com's Prince Caspian Special Feature
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More articles by Chris Carpenter on CBN.com
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