June 10, 2008

Everything You Know Is About To Change Forever.

Posted in Action, Adventure, Family-Oriented, Fantasy, Movies at 2:25 am by inflickted

Prince Caspian“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is the second movie loosely based (there are a lot of discrepancies between the film and the book) from the fantasy series of author C.S. Lewis. Like the first of the franchise, the strength of this fantasy adventure lies in the juxtaposition of two separate worlds and our ability to view Narnia through the eyes of the four young protagonists. You experience their lives, exploits and their hearts. What more do you expect from the author and Disney?

So with any other epic film, you’d expect grand fight sequences, spectacular effects and dramatic themes and storylines. Prince Caspian definitely belongs to this category and definitely delivers on what is asked of it. It is safe to say that this sequel is better. But by not much.

One line can summarize my whole review: “Too many fights, not enough magic.”

Andrew Adamson (director of the first two Shrek films), did a good job of pacing the story but the first part was somewhat slow and the movie took too long to finally find its footing and momentum. However, the adaptation was formidable and compacts the novel into a fine film.

As for the actors, most give a linear performance. The Pevensie kids have truly grown into their roles. William Moseley (Peter) and Anna Popplewell (Susan) were okay, but it was Skandar Keynes (Edmund) and especially Georgie Henley (Lucy) who impressed and proved to be promising stars. Prince Caspian was portrayed by Ben Barnes. Unfortunately, it is he who fails to connect with his role and the audience despite his good looks. His accent sounds really awkward and had no presence. Plus, his role takes away a lot of screen time and proper development from the rest of the cast. A crowd favorite was of course Reepicheep, delightfully voiced by Eddie Izzard.

One character that is sorely missed is the White Witch, wickedly portrayed by the dazzling Tilda Swinton. Her cameo, however short was one of the high points in the film. It also reminds us how great her role was and just how flawlessly she executed it. I wished for more of Swinton, but her role will not be brought back. Instead, the villain spot is filled by Lord Miraz, the leader of the Telmarines and is portrayed by Sergio Castellito. Although he didn’t yield the force and chilling aura the White Witch had, Lord Miraz was very convincing as a menacing enemy.

The action in this sequel is darker and grander. The epic battles are brilliantly done. The final battle scene, for instance, is tight and involving, with a well-executed surprise tucked within the action that’s a delight. The castle infiltration with the flight of the Gryphons and the death of half the Narnian army was suspenseful, exciting and sorrowing. The fighting mice add a much-needed note of humor in this otherwise grim and violent film.  Heads were cut, necks were sliced, but no evidence of blood can be seen. The thought of keeping the movie child-friendly is commendable but there is a certain degree of uneasiness every time you see a mouse slicing a human’s neck. If anything, the special effects and digital animation are better in this film than they were in the first. Nonetheless, all the action and battle scenes can be wearing on a viewer since the movie is more than 2 hours long. I could have also done with more magic and enchantments than just sword swinging.

It reminds you terribly of “Lord of the Rings” (the ents, grand battle scenes, the river god).  Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite satisfy that craving. It lacks more intrigue and better, deeper character development and interaction. Deeper messages and themes can be found if you look for them. Faith, trust, courage and friendship are there; you just have to look for them. It definitely warrants a second viewing to fully appreciate everything the movie is conveying. “Prince Caspian” may not increase the already large fan base of Narnia due to the first movie; it is still a good sequel, one which improves on the first.

It gets a worthy 3.6 out of 5 or 72% infectious

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1 Comment »

  1. paolo said,

    I’d consider this the second best film of the year (so far)


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