Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The second installment of the Chronicles of Narnia titled Prince Caspian and directed by Andrew Adamson sees Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy brought back to Narnia some ten thousand years after their last reign as the Kings and Queens of Narnia. This time the sons and daughters of adam are brought back to help dethrone an evil king an restore the rightful throne to Prince Caspian and the people of Narnia.

Prince Narnia at its best, felt like a rehash of the first film. Having not read but only the first book in the series as a child, and I am unaware of what happens throughout the rest of the series. That said, this film feels way too similar to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That may not be the fault of Adamson, but instead C.S. Lewis, the author of the original series. For instance, the evil king, King Miraz, played by Sergio Castellitto feels extremely close to the character of the Snow Queen who wanted to rid Narnia of all its inhabitants. Furthermore, the re-introduction of Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan and the final battle is very closely aligned to the the introduction and final battle of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I did like this film. The action is very good. Some of the battle sequences are great and really deliver fun for the whole family. Particularly the collapse sequence during the final battle. It was surprising and really put a smile on my face. The trees also in the final battle, although a little similar to the Ents in Lord of the Rings, were awesome.

The animation throughout the film is also amazing. The battle sequences were seemless. Aslan looks more refined as does all of the animation. It looks as though the animation team has its footing underneath them moving forward in the series. I enjoyed the fact that not all of the Narnians were animated this time around. Most of the characters were actual actors in suits or costumes, which again made me happy. One character who was fully animated and really made the movie for me was Reepicheep, played by british talent Eddie Izzard. Eventhough his character was way too reminiscent of Puss in Boots in Shrek 2, he was perfect. All of his lines were hysterical and his action is also great. Izzard just really adds a great aspect to the film, humor, that is otherwise absent.

Edmund played by Skandar Kenyes, Susan played by Anna Popplewell, and Lucy played by Georgie Henley have all really grown into their roles and feel much more suited this time around. William Moseley absolutely shined returning as Peter. He felt much more believable as the high king of Narnia. Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian was decent, but nothing to write home about. His accent however, felt extremely forced and did not work for me at all. One final tidbit on casting that was great, Warwick Davis as Nikabrik. His character is pivotal and was great to see Warwick working again.

Overall Prince Caspian wasn't necessarily a disapointment, but it wasn't great. I feel the problem wasn't the direction by Andrew Adamson but instead the source material. The Chronicles of Narnia is a great series, but I wonder if it has enough core material to keep people coming back for more sequels. I guess what I really mean is, I hope we dont keep seeing the sons and daughters of adam returning and starting yet another war with some evil king or lord who wants to rid Narnia of its people.