In 2005, when The Chronicles of Narnia : The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came out; I found myself introduced to a brand new epic tale. The film is probably one of the best when it comes to adaptations from children's epic novels. With recent failures in the form of The Golden Compass(Bad. Very bad. Absolute waste of time), and The Order of the Phoenix(700+ pages in 2hours and 15minutes? No, thank you), it is high time we got to see a real epic children's movie. I haven't read any of the novels by C.S.Lewis, however I have read that there are similarities in his and J.R.R. Tolkien's writing. With Prince Caspian, the second installment in the series, a saga which has been compared time and again with The Lord of the Rings, the journey could just be beginning.
Prince Caspian, probably the blandest of all the Narnia novels, starts off 1300 years after The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when it comes to Narnian timeline. In the real world of the Pevensie children however, merely a year has gone past. Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne of the Telmarines is forced to flee because of his corrupt uncle, King Miraz, who is trying to steal the throne from him. Caspian blows the ivory horn given to him by his professor when, while fleeing, he chances upon Narnians in the jungle. The horn, in turn, summons the Pevensie children - The Kings and Queens of Old, back to Narnia, to aid the young Prince in a fight to obtain the throne which his rightfully his.
The first, and only complaint I have, is the sudden start to the movie. The journey of the Pevensie children back to Narnia, although shown wonderfully, when, while in a subway, they get taken back to Narnia, comes way too quickly. There is hardly any time spent in the real world here, unlike in the first part, where there are glimpses of the ongoing war and the journey is more drawn out. There should have been a little more detail with the Pevensie's in the real world. That would have made the journey back even more interesting.
That aside, the movie moves fast enough. With simultaneous shifts early on between Prince Caspian, the Telmarines, and the Pevensie's, there is a lot of attention to detail. Lucy's dream of meeting with Aslan is particularly well shown, where she imagines the jungle to be what she remembered it as, with the dancing trees and flowers, unlike the 'more savage' Narnia of present. Highly detailed, and it just shows us beautifully the connection between Lucy and the great lion.
There are an array of new characters in this movie. Ben Barnes who plays Prince Caspian could have been better. His accent however, promises better things in the future installments. From cynical dwarfs to a swashbuckling mouse, every new character gets more screen time than any character except Harry has ever gotten in a Harry Potter movie. The pick of the lot being Reepicheep the mouse, voiced brilliantly by Eddie Izzard. You will find similarities between him and Puss in Boots from Shrek 2. Both, Errol Flynn'ish in there portrayals. Whether it is jumping up at being called cute, as if it is insult, or darting into an army of human soldiers, Reepicheep is bound to capture the hearts of everyone. Cannot wait to see what they do with him in the upcoming films.
The Pevensie children are all back.William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley playing Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy respectively. The younger two play there part well. Moseley is good, and you'll know why he was once considered for playing Harry Potter once you see this. Popplewell however, is bland. The White Witch, played by Tilda Swinton, has a small cameo here, and is as icy as ever. The other, very integral character is Aslan. Although he doesn't appear till the very end of the movie, there is a definite air of expectation around him. Everyone is waiting to see Aslan again, powerfully voiced by Liam Neeson. And the roar. What a roar! Enough to awaken the trees to wreak havoc through the Telmarine armies, enough to send ripples through the lake.
The war sequence is brilliant, with some of the best visuals I have seen off late. As is the square off between King Peter and King Miraz. Very well choreographed. With a very engaging background score, Price Caspian runs to two hours and fifteen minutes, keeping you interested throughout the length of the feature. I do have an objection to the song near the ending. It was really cheesy.
Following up the great The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is difficult. But, Prince Caspian does justice to that. Keep aside the fact that you are seeing a bunch of children killing people in a magical world since, after all, it is a children's epic. There isn't much emphasis on the killing part anyways. Thankfully, more importance is given to how Lucy brings the dead back to life with her potion.
The Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian is a good film. Its a pity, however, that director Andrew Adamson, who has made this and the previous one will not be returning to direct The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the third in the series. It is often seen that such series' lose their lustre if they undergo a change of directors.
8/10 overall. Loved Reepicheep more than anything else in this movie. Worthy follow-up to a saga going great guns!! (Next : Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)