The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
Director: Andrew Adamson
Cast: Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley
Plot: The Pevensie siblings return to Narnia, where they are enlisted to once again help ward off an evil king and restore the rightful heir to the land's throne, Prince Caspian.
Genre: Action / Adventure / Family
Rating: PG for epic battle action and violence.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
A much heralded improvement over its immediate prequel, the second installment of the 'Narnia' series, Prince Caspian, is a delight to watch. It is one of this year’s best summer blockbusters, outclassing the likes of Iron Man, Speed Racer, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Andrew Adamson who also helmed the first Narnia shows his full array of talents here since the success of Shrek.
Prince Caspian is in every way a much better film than its prequel. It has a darker tone, a smoother plot development, and more stunning action set-pieces. While the prequel was too colourful and appealed more to kids, adult fans of C.S Lewis' masterpiece will equally enjoy Prince Caspian as much as their younger counterparts.
From the start, it makes a solid impression with an extended opening title sequence featuring Caspian (Ben Barnes) trying to avoid arrest by escaping on a horse, riding through miles and miles of open plains under the moonlight. Together with the soaring music, this sequence sets the perfect mood which paves way for Adamson to weave his magic in storytelling.
The main cast from the prequel reprises their roles again in Prince Caspian. Their performances now have more depth and energy, though there is no particular display that is quite as memorable. The CGI (by WETA) used may seem superfluous but is still satisfyingly good.
An example will be the huge water wall that drowns and sweeps Narnia’s evil conquerors to their doom. Another fine example occurs during an epic battle when the enemy charges forward only to literally fall into an ingenious trap set by the Narnians.
Adamson is a quality director but he’s no Peter Jackson. Inviting comparisons with The Lord of the Rings, the 'Narnia' films fall short of being a major cinematic epic that the former is. Both sets of books are equally great literary masterpieces though it's obvious which is the better film adaptation.
After The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there have been fears that Narnia movies might become kids' pictures. Prince Caspian does well to allay those fears; it's a step in the right direction for this is excellent family entertainment that even older folks will enjoy.
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