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chronicals of narnia: prince caspian

Chronicals of Narnia:
Prince Caspian
Directed by:
Andrew Adamson
Cast: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley

Richard Tara

May 26, 2008


As a refresher for those of you who did not see the first movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or have forgotten what happened the following is a short rundown.

Four siblings, two brothers, Peter and Edmund Pevensie and two sisters, Susan and Lucy Pevensie are mysteriously transported to a magic land called Narnia.  This happens when they try to hide in a magic wardrobe in some professor’s country house.  In Narnia even animals can talk and there are fauns and dwarfs and  good people and evil people. There is a battle for control between the good, the lion Aslan and the Evil, the White Witch.  The White Witch is currently controlling this world. Everything is iced over and cold.  It is the usual story of good versus evil. The children throw in their lots with the lion Aslan and eventually win and become kings themselves and rule for many years through maturity in this magical kingdom.  Eventually, when they are much older, they decide to return to England.  They go back through the magic wardrobe only to find out that what has been like many years in Narnia has been like minutes in this world.

Fast forward one year later.  One day, the four Pevensie siblings, are sitting at a London underground (Metro) station waiting for the train to take them to their school.  Suddenly, they are transported back to a beach in Narnia.

They discover that, in Narnian times, it has been nearly 13 centuries since their first visit. The palaces they once occupied are in ruins, the animals do not talk and the original inhabitants of Narnia are hiding under the trees and bushes for fear of the invaders. They discover that many years ago, a new race of people called the Telmarines had invaded Narnia and subjugated or killed the original inhabitants.  The current care-taker acting king, Miraz, is an evil character who has plans to murder his nephew, Prince Caspian, the real heir to the throne.  Prince Caspian escapes in the nick of time and runs to the woods to seek the protection of the animals and dwarfs.  Even though he is not an original Narnian, many Narnians join him to try to defeat the usurper evil king in the hope that Prince Caspian will honor his words and treat them all fairly and equally.

The four siblings and a little dwarf by the name of Trumpkin, whom they had saved from drowning, join forces with Prince Caspian and with the help of Aslan they finally defeat the evil king and his evil henchmen and restore Prince Caspian to the throne. They leave Narnia to find that they are back at the underground station still sitting, waiting for the next train.

This sums it up. As fantasies go, this is a very good movie. There are no big stars in this movie and almost all the actors, in fact, underplay their roles which make the movie so enjoyable.  That is all except Ben Barnes who plays Prince Caspian.  The boy has very good looks but no talent to speak of.  One wonders why the director chose him to play this role. His ineptitude as an actor almost ruins the movie.  Ben just struts around with his body language saying that “I am so pretty and handsome that you’ve got to love my acting.”   If it was not because of the collective acting talent of Georgie Henley as Lucy, William Moseley as Peter,  Skandar Keynes as Edmund, Anna Popplewell as Susan and Sergio Castellitto, who plays Miraz the evil king the movie could have sunk.   Let’s not forget Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin the dwarf.  We first noticed this talented actor in the short lived TV series Threshold and admired his acting talent.  That is not to say that the movie would have tanked at the box office.  The story is too good and the production too lavish for it to have failed.  It is just that it would not have had much literary artistic value.  Not only he cannot act, but Ben is literally unable to deliver his lines without hesitation.  He would make a good model though and he should pursue a career in that line and spare us further agony by leaving the motion picture industry and acting world behind.  

The direction by Andrew Adamson was quite adequate.   He has the advantage of being a screen writer as well as a visual effects technician and as such possesses the mastery of creating an adult movie out of a children’s fantasy.  We must admit that he was quite successful in his endeavor.  

As an interesting side note, C.S. Lewis who was the author of the Narnia series was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien the author of The Lord of the Ring books.  Both men were Oxford university scholars and Tolkien had a major role in re-converting C.S. Lewis to Christianity prior to World War II.

The world of special effects has changed so much so that sometimes one wonders if the human actors are real any more! So much is created by computer animation and at times it is too much.  However, in this movie there was a blending of special effects with live scenes and it was cleverly done.

We give this movie star star star

It is definitely pure entertainment and worth seeing more than once by adults and children of all ages.

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