Prince Caspian, A Review

24 05 2008

 

I went into Prince Caspian with high expectations. They might have been unrealistic, but movies are something I take very seriously. Movies based on books are taken even more seriously than other films. If you are planning on retelling a beloved tale on film, you’d better be careful. Accuracy, emotional integrity and loyalty to the original storyteller are vital. The only exception I make to this rule is Clive Cussler who freaks out at the slightest alterations to his stories. He hasn’t grasped the fact that you cannot just transfer every word straight from paper to celluloid.

 

Prince Caspian is the second movie based on the Chronicles of Narnia books. Produced by Disney in concert with Walden Media and directed by Andrew Adamson, this movie tells the story of the Pevensie children’s return to Narnia. Thirteen hundred years have elapsed since Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy were kings and queens over Narnia and things are no longer as they once were. NArnia is ruled by the Telmarines, a people descended from pirates and bent on destroying every Narnian. Prince Caspian is next in line to the throne and is forced to escape his uncle Miraz in order to survive. While escaping he stumbles across a remnant group of Narnians. After blowing the horn and calling the Pevensie children back into Narnia, Prince Caspian and the Pevensies are forced to fight for the very survival of their people. 

 

The first thing that struck me was the marked improvement between the first and second movies. The story is darker and that darkness is mirrored in the cinematography, editing and visual effects. I felt that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was a little too ‘primary colours’ ish to be really enjoyable as an epic story. The first movie was very much a children’s film; the second spans genres.

 

All of the children have grown up. William Moseley delivers a thoughtful and genuine performance as the oldest Pevensie and High King, Peter. His boyish, golden-hearted Peter has turned into a frustrated warrior, weighted down by doubt and frustration. Anna Popplewell has grown up and her angsty Susan rings with youthful authenticity. Skandar Keynes has the surprising breakout role as Edmond. Self effacing and humorous, he and the producers have crafted an Edmond who is perfectly set up for the next film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Georgie Henley was a slight disappointment in her second turn as Lucy Pevensie. Her innocence in regard to acting made her performance in the first movie endearing. Nowadays she is just a little too aware that she should be ‘acting’. That said, her loveability has not dimmed at all.

 

There is not a great deal to be said about Ben Barnes who plays the title role of Prince Caspian. To say that he is a good actor is damning with faint praise. He is a grown man (27) who manages to inhabit a character ten years his junior. With all of the anger and vulnerability of a teenager and looks of a full grown man, Prince Caspian is everything that could be wished.  (SPOILER ALERT). That said, the kiss at the end between Caspian and Susan was slightly off for me because I knew that he IS ten years her senior. I wonder what her father thought…?

 

The costumes show a marked improvement since the first film. I still occasionally question Isis Mussendon’s use of fabrics, but creating distinct cultures for so many diverse groups of people is a daunting task. She has achieved that goal in wonderful style (no pun intended). She also has an uncanny ability to dress people in just the clothes that will perfectly enhance their natural looks. (Belted tunics and bell sleeves on the kings and fitted armor for Susan.) The Telmarines are a distinct ‘look’ and manage to escape looking like Spanish soldiers-gone-wrong. You can tell that they were meant to be descended from the Spaniards, but you didn’t feel like they were planning to conquer the Mayans in the next scene.

 

Visual effects? Perfect. Enough said.

 

The music was also wonderfully moving. I could have done without Regina Spektor’s song beginning as the children were leaving Narnia. I found the transition jarring. However, it’s a beautiful song and I definitely bought it off of iTunes the day after seeing the movie.

 

This is by far the best yet from the team at Walden Media. But then, they had a great story to start with. Keeping the Producers and writers from hamstringing the project with unnecessary changes is one of the hardest jobs in adapting books for the screen. Kudos to whoever kept everyone in check.

 

In conclusion, it put me in a blue funk for three hours because I want so badly to be making movies. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I know that it was an amazing film. Go see it, I think you will agree.

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2 responses

28 05 2008
Father Smith

I was deeply moved by this film! A definate three thumbs up!

31 05 2008
Kristi Walsh

Hi meghan!

Just read that you’re on your way to KC soon. Oh, how I wish I could be there with you!! Enjoy every minute ~ both for yourself and for me ~ and may the Lord meet you there even beyond what you are expecting.
Have fun!!

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