The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe took the world by surprise. Not many thought that the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series could be repeated, yet it happened again with The Chronicles of Narnia. The first movie went on to gross over $730 million worldwide and left audiences all over the globe wanting MORE.
In Prince Caspian, the world of Narnia has been ravaged by time and the harsh rule of a race of humans called the Telmarines, a people who do not believe in magic. In the 1300 years since the Pevensie siblings left Narnia after serving for years as Kings and Queens, the Telmarines invaded and managed to drive Narnians almost to extinction.
The King of the Telmarines is dead and his son, Prince Caspian, is waiting for a time when he can take the throne. In the meantime, Caspian’s uncle, Miraz, serves as Regent of the realm. However, when Miraz’s wife gives birth to a son, Caspian’s life is suddenly in danger and he is forced to flee in order to survive. In the throes of his escape, he blows a horn with a mysterious past, and in doing so summons the Kings and Queens of old to help in his plight.
It has only been a year for the Pevensies, yet the transition from royal adults back to ordinary “children” hasn’t been easy for all of them. Peter, for one, hates being treated for his age and starts fights with other school-aged boys just to prove his manhood. Yet one day they feel an strange pinching in their stomachs as they’re waiting for the train to school, a pinch that feels oddly like magic. In the blink of an eye, the children are back in Narnia and they are faced with fighting two battles: the advancing Talmarine army, and their waning faith in Aslan and in themselves.
From the moment I stepped out of the theater after watching the first Narnia installment, I instantly wanted to watch the next one. It has been two and a half years, and six months longer than the original release date, and I’m very pleased to say that the wait has been well worth it. Through most of the two and a half hour movie, I literally had chills running up my spine. This movie, in my opinion, is even better than the first.
What makes it so great is that director Andrew Adamson didn’t try to recreate the look and feel of the first movie. This is a much darker movie, one with severe moral undertones about acceptance and prejudice, and it shouldn’t feel as fluffy as the first one was. A number of reviews I read about the movie complained that there wasn’t enough magic in this one, yet what did they expect? The Pevensies come back in an age where magic is all but gone, so there naturally wouldn’t be any magic to see. There are still a number of Narnians left: from centaurs and minotaurs, to talking badgers and mice to dwarves. There was plenty of magic in that respect, and certainly enough action, to let the audience leave feeling satisfied.
Another interesting element of this movie is the level of emotion that the young actors were able to bring to their roles, as well as the feelings the characters themselves were feeling. In the first Narnia, it’s obvious that it was their first real acting job. Yes, they did the best they could at the time, but they have all grown as actors, resulting in much more three dimensional characters this time around. They actually FELT like they were the Kings and Queens of Narnia past stuck in the bodies of teenagers and children. It was something in their eyes, a sense of knowledge far beyond their years, and the very way they held themselves that made it so believable. They have all grown, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
My favorite transition was in the character of Edmund who, in the first movie, betrayed his family for his own gain. In Prince Caspian, you can tell he is still trying to make up for this betrayal and will do anything for his family. Not only does he defend his brother, stick up for Lucy when no one believes that she’s been seeing Aslan when none of the rest of them has, but he’s turned into a calculated, badass warrior. He’s very confident in his position as a King, gets right into the thick of battles, and even slides down a roof to kick a Talmerine soldier over a balcony. He is able to stand in front of the Telmarine usurper, surrounded by enemies, and shoot off a witty sort of banter that lets Miraz know exactly who Edmund is: a Narnian King. Not to mention how much older he seems, considering actor Skandar Keynes’ voice dropped about three octaves!
Newcomer Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian only added to the great cast. The only thing I was confused about was his accent. He’s British, yet he had some sort of Italian accent in the movie, which didn’t exactly match up with the rest of the Telmarines. Other than that, I’m glad we’ll be seeing more of him in the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie in 2010.
Overall, really incredible movie. The action is enough to keep anyone’s eyes glued to the screen, but the sarcasm and wit will keep you in your seat, and the emotion will leave you longing for more. This is one of those movies that you really need to see in theaters, and one you’re likely to see multiple times (like I’m surely going to do myself!): 10/10.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE.