Welcome to The Flick Chicks
- Category: Judy Thorburn
- Published on 06 November 2008
- Written by Administrator
Las Vegas Tribune - http://www.lasvegastribune.com
Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundheclock.com
The Women Film Critics Circle - http://www.wfcc.wordpress.com
"THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN" - LACKS THE ROYAL MAGIC OF THE FIRST CHAPTER
I’m sorry to say, the second big screen installment of C.S. Lewis’ beloved book series is a big disappointment. What drew me into 2005’s magnificent film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is missing, as this follow up lacks the magical qualities and spiritual essence that was prevalent throughout the previous movie. Even the CGI, with a few exceptions, does not appear as seamless and breathtaking as before.
That isn’t to say fantasy elements including talking animals and mystical figures such as forest dwarves, minotaurs, centaurs, giants, fauns, and the like are not present in the continuing saga, but Prince Caspian is a darker tale with an international cast that unfolds as a war movie with battlefield sequences taking up most of the action.
The story opens in a London subway station as the Pevensie siblings, the precocious young Lucy (Georgie Henley) her older, cautious sister, Susan (Anna Popplewell), brother Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and the eldest, brave Peter (William Moseley), are suddenly transported back to the mystical world of Narnia. Although only a year has passed for the children since their last adventure there, it has been 1300 years in Narnian time and lots of things have changed. Aslan, the magnificent Christ-like Lion has long been seen, and life in the enchanted woods has been withdrawn. Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes, featured in Stardust), the rightful heir to the throne, has escaped into the woods after an attempted murder by his evil uncle, King Miraz (Italian actor Sergio Castellitto) who rules the land as leader of the Telemarines. Miraz’s plans include making his newborn son next in line to the throne and wiping out the peaceful Narnian creatures that are hiding out in the forest.
With a blow to a magical horn given to him by his wise “professor” (Flemish actor Vincent Grass) Prince Caspian is able to summon the four Pevensie kids back from World War II era England, in hopes of helping him bring down the ruthless King Miraz and restore Narnia to its former peaceful existence.
Among the assortment of forest characters that gather together to join the Prince and the returning benevolent former kid rulers in battle against the tyrannical king and his army of warriors are Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) the Narnian Red dwarf, Nickabrik (Warwick Davis) the suspicious Black dwarf, Asterius (Shane Rangi) the aging minotaur, Glenstorm (British musical theatre star Cornell S. John) leader of the centaurs, and several talking CGI created animals; Trufflehunter, the faithful badger (voiced by Scottish actor Ken Stott) and Reepicheep, the wisecracking, sword fighting mouse (voiced by English comic actor Eddie Izzard).
For those looking strictly for an action movie, Prince Caspian offers plenty of loud, violent battle scenes to fit the bill. But, as a continuation of the first chapter, where religious symbolism and spiritual undertones were incorporated throughout the magical storyline, I expected more of the same. Biblical references aren’t totally ignored, as in the scenes where Lucy sees visions of Aslan (voiced by the returning Liam Neeson ) and others cannot. We don’t have to dig deep to understand what the message is. There is also a scene derivative of the parting of the Red Sea. But, the qualities that made the first film so enchanting are, for the most part, left by the wayside.
What we have left with is a new villain that is not as menacing as the fierce, cold hearted White Witch/Ice Queen played with aplomb by Tilda Swinton who returns for a cameo, adding much needed power to the dull storyline. Missing is also the engaging family dynamics between the siblings and a more memorable hero. There is no arguing that Prince Caspian, played by handsome Ben Barnes is female eye candy, but he and the rest of the human cast are relegated to background players within the sprawling narrative. What can I say when the scene stealer is a sassy computer generated rodent who appears quite similar in attitude and mannerisms as Shrek’s Puss N’ Boots. No way is this just a co-incidence since the director of both films happens to be the one and the same, Andrew Adamson.
I loved the first of the Narnia film franchise that had all the right elements including a compelling story, interesting characters, and gorgeous CGI images that only served to enhance the storyline. That sense of wonder which was achieved from the inspiring, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is gone. I hope, along with the Pevensie children, those factors will return in the next installment.