The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Rated PG; Directed by Andrew Adamson; Starring Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Peter Dinklage, Sergio Castellitto
The second entry in the Narnia series, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, offers tons of sword fighting, magical creatures, and mighty battles. It also gives us a dashing young prince who must battle his evil uncle for the throne. The movie works for those who love sword fights and lengthy battles; if you like more than that in a film you can find yourself entertained with lovely visual elements.
There are two storylines in Prince Caspian. The first is about Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the rightful heir to the throne, who must run from his uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), who has decided to kill Caspian and take the throne for himself. Caspian makes it away from the castle and heads for the woods of old Narnia. The second storyline is about the return of the Pevensie children to Narnia. Called by a magic horn that Caspian blows, it brings them back to a very different Narnia than the one they left; for over 1300 years have gone by in Narnia. Aslan, the mighty lion, has not been seen, and Peter (William Mosely), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) discover that Narnia was invaded by Caspian’s ancestors. Now the children can help Caspian retake his throne.
The script for Prince Caspian is not as faithful to the book as Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but goes for much more of an epic feel. It doesn’t always succeed. The characters get in the way. An irritating rivalry between Peter and Caspian takes away some of the fun. Caspian is pretty to look at, but doesn’t carry the dramatic weight necessary for the role. The real fun comes from the supporting characters. Even in tons of makeup and hair, Peter Dinklage steals every scene he is in as Trumpkin the dwarf. Eddie Izzard voices the charming Reepicheep, a battling mouse. In a stupendous scene, Tilda Swinton returns as the White Witch.
If the movie isn’t quite as crackling as a crackling good yarn needs to be, the special effects certainly make up for it. The magical creatures have improved from the first film, and we have even more effects that leave their mark: trees that come to fight and a water creature called up by Aslan. Prince Caspian succeeds with battles and the special effects. If it isn’t as successful at character development blame it on all those battles and special effects.