No offense to fantasy film lovers everywhere, but if I have to sit through another movie about a group of kids who are the last hope for a world only they know about, I’m gonna puke fairy dust.
While The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is indeed good and a little better than The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, it’s also too familiar, with imagery right out of the Lord of the Rings series, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Bridge to Terabithia. Also, the first hour of Prince Caspian is, sorry to say, dreadfully boring.
Once again, the actors are so easily upstaged by the CGI creatures. It’s no wonder that the film finally comes alive with the appearance of a sword-wielding mouse that has all the best lines.
This time around, the group of four English school children team up with Prince Caspian to save Narnia from a new batch of villains. Peter, arguably the leader of the four, is over his head with power, while Lucy, the youngest, is the only one who has faith all along that Christ-like Aslan the lion will save them.
Die hard fans of C.S. Lewis’ books and kids will be the biggest fans of this entry, but really, only the remarkable special effects and thunderous action sequences are improvements over the equally bland first installment. Even with Peter Dinklage and Warwick “Willow” Davis in the cast, the actors and the characters they inhabit don’t make much of an impression. Then again, it may be difficult to stand out when you’re up against a gorgeous CGI lion speaking with Liam Neeson’s voice.
There are great sequences, like a scary ritual Caspian partakes in, a nighttime castle raid, a tense sword fight and the all-stops-out climactic battle. If only this very long film were better paced. After all, the Harry Potter series got off to a rough start but got better around the third entry, so perhaps the Narnia films will continue to improve. MTW