The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Caspian the Tenth of Narnia (Ben Barnes) is rudely awakened to find his guardian, Uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), wishes to usurp the throne and install his own son there. Spirited from his castle in the dead of night, Caspian flees pell-mell into the forbidden forests. After falling from his horse he is rescued by two dwarves, Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) and Nikabrik (Warwick Davies), and a talking badger (voiced by Ken Stott) – true Narnians, in hiding from their Telmarine overlords. While being rescued and assuming himself to be in jeopardy, Caspian sounds a magical horn destined to bring help. The help arrives in the form of the four Pevensie children - who have already adventured in Narnia.

The four Londoners, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are grabbed from The Strand underground station and plonked down in a ruined castle. It becomes apparent that hundreds of years have passed since they were last royalty there. Rescuing a dwarfish prisoner, who turns out to be Trumpkin, our young heroes set forth to rendezvous with Caspian and fight Miraz.

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Following the more stand-alone The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis began expanding his Narnia universe and creating the plot threads in Prince Caspian that would carry through his remaining five Narnian Chronicles.

Caspian, the book, sports a lot of court politics which, if anything, are lingered on in more detail in Adamson's movie, with the various factions plotting and planning and generally twirling their moustaches. Caspian's upbringing is swiftly passed over in favour of a thrilling moonlit chase into the wild and our first encounter with Narnia's more outlandish residents. These three make the backbone of the movie and Dinklage, Davis and Stott are all up to the task. Oh and we must not forget Reepicheep the mouse, voiced with aplomb by Eddie Izzard.

A small carp is that several magical moments are flubbed - the discovery of a treasure room is curiously devoid of wonder, for example. However, the movie more than makes up for it with blood and thunder battle scenes, as Miraz's conquistador-like hordes take on the Narnian irregulars - though I admit I don't remember these battles in quite the same way from the book.

There is also a surprise guest appearance from the first film that Lewis neglected to include in his original text too, but I'll let that go as it does give a nice character moment to the most forceful personality in the Narnia universe, but of that I shall say no more.

The youthful cast acquit themselves well, with Henley stealing the show once more. The animal voices are uniformly excellent and get the most laughs, but it is the assortment of Latin actors in the thankless villainous roles who keep the whole thing grounded in reality.

One will grumble at the Narnia films in much the same way one grumbles at the Harry Potter franchise - change of character here, neglected subplot there - but one can't help but be swept up in the magnificence of it all, marvelling at just how well Lewis' fantasy world has been brought to the screen with no expense spared and only the mild annoyance of an inane song cranking up just before the end credits.

Reviewed on: 21 May 2008
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The Pevensie kids return to Narnia to thwart an evil king.
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Director: Andrew Adamson

Writer: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on the book by CS Lewis

Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Vincent Grass, Eddie Izzard, Ken Stott

Year: 2008

Runtime: 147 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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