The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

| May 21, 2008

My enthusiasm for this flick was not very high, because I didn’t really like or hate the first installment–it was just decent. Also, this trailer didn’t really do much for me. And you know what they say: your instinct is usually right. It was in this case.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian can be a fun film at times, but mainly it’s an empty and uneven moviegoing experience. Much the like the first installment, some of these kids are just not very strong actors. William Moseley as Peter Pevensie is easily the weakest of the four, failing to generate any emotion with the audience. The slow-motion shots of him yelling “charge” are laughable. That is cutting-room floor material, folks. Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian seems to be the poor-man’s Orlando Bloom and comes across as totally out of place. I found the accent to be annoying.
The story begins as the Jean Reno-looking King Miraz wants to be the King of Narnia, and on the day of his son’s birth, he sends his henchmen to kill Prince Caspian. Caspian flees to the forest and is given shelter by some Narnians. The four kids are then plunged back into Narnia and discover hundreds of years have passed since their last visit. They quickly change into Narnian-like clothes and engage in combat right away. The film’s lackadaisical approach on how prepubescent kids can be experts with swords and bows and fight grown men gives the film a real cheese flavor, which I am sure they were not going for.
The story jumps from one subplot to the next without hammering home any real development besides making King Miraz an über-evil villain. He really does look like Jean Reno’s brother. Some of the plot-jumping feels awkward. After the film, the group of friends who I saw it with informed me that this was a poor adaptation and that certain sequences were just made up and had no relation to the book at all. Maybe this is why I had so many questions about the story afterward. This, also, is probably the reason why the story feels so uneven. The movie does build up steam as you watch it, but it has too many hiccups that prevent it from connecting with you on an emotional level.
The CGI ranges from absolutely terrible to passable. We all know Jurassic Park still looks better than most of the CGI out today, but for an epic franchise such as this one, it is a shame they didn’t hire the folks at Industrial Light and Magic. Some of the effects look Ghost Rider bad. The only two really well-done effects were of the Lion and the water battle near the end.
The epic, wannabe-Gladiator battle at the end is poorly executed and keeps cutting away from the fight to show other stuff going on in the story, which totally destroys any excitement or momentum. A very poor editing choice. The entire fight, I just kept thinking, “Wow, that is straight out of Gladiator.”
One can only wonder just how great this franchise might have been if put in the hands of someone else. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is too poorly executed and uninspired to be considered anything above average. The film is handled with kid gloves, evident of the PG rating, and has too many cheesy one liners, and sappy emotional scenes. This series should have been handled with the same maturity as The Lord of the Rings. Instead, it is relegated to your average movie going experience, which is sure to disappoint the Narnia fan base. I don’t think I will be seeing the third film of this series. Instead, I will read the books, something I should have done in the first place.
Grade: 2 stars out of 5

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