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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Review

Prince Caspian: Heavy on the Battle Scenes

In Hollywood, despite major examples to the contrary, the general school of thought during the summer (especially when adapting fantasy stories) seems to be to rely on battle scenes and action in order to keep audiences riveted, rather than focusing on just telling a good story. This definitely appears to be the dominating mindset of the filmmakers in charge of the second installment of Disney's Narnia franchise, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Capsian. And I'm confused as to why this approach was taken with Prince Caspian when C.S. Lewis has given us a great, fantastical story to work with that even comes with nice allegorical ties to the real world, offering kids lessons in love, courage and honor.

This is my fundamental gripe about an otherwise entertaining movie. Because, sure, while there are some people who could watch giant armies storm an open field and men sweat and grunt as they battle each other for hours, there is no question the kids at my screening grew tired of all that. In fact, the girl next to me who was no older than 10 spent a good portion of the movie with her head buried in her father's shoulder, as it was just a little too violent and scary to endure (some people are even saying it's too violent for the PG rating).

To read more about why I think filmmakers missed an opportunity to tell a great story,

.

The opening of the movie is promisingly filled with tension as Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the Telmarine throne (a race of men that invaded Narnia after Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie left) is driven into the forest after his uncle attempts to assassinate him in the night. Right off the bat the musical score is wonderful, our hearts are racing, and we're treated to sweeping views of fields, mountains and cliffs. When Prince Caspian (played by newcomer Ben Barnes who is super cute but saddled with an unfortunate "Telmarine" accent) blows a horn left by Susan, she and her siblings are once again whisked back to Narnia after a year away in London. However, when they return they discover it's now been 1300 years since they ruled as kings and queens and the Telmarines have driven the Narnians underground and out of the history books.

The Pevensies get to work helping Caspian reclaim his throne so he can bring peace between the two races. This is where I wish we could have spent some time discovering the "what"s and "why"s of all that has happened to Narnia by this new race of men, in order to give the film some depth to balance out the violence. Instead, these details are glossed over and we're launched into one battle after another. There isn't a ton of blood and for the most part they are well-executed (I especially like watching Susan do battle with her arrows) but for a movie that is very long (almost two and half hours) I felt like parents and children alike would have preferred more character moments and less Narnians getting beaten to death (and in one instance, beheaded).

Case in point: Reepicheep the Mouse — voiced by Eddie Izzard! — is absolutely charming and at my screening he was the best part of the film for the kids, judging by their laughter and sheer glee every time he was on the screen. There's also a lovely scene in which Lucy is swept away into the forest with the tree spirits and again, the kids in my screening sat upright, wide-eyed as they watched the little girl make her way through a magical land. I found myself yearning for more of that good stuff.

And as for that little girl sitting next to me, I got the feeling she would have also swapped more time with Reepicheep and other Narnians for most of the fight scenes. At the end of the day, I wish the filmmakers would have (as C.S. Lewis might have urged them) had a little faith and just told a great story.

For the trailer and more videos from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, check out movies.ivillage.com.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disney


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Queen-0f-Hearts Queen-0f-Hearts 8 years
Great books but I agree the battle scenes were a lil much but then again without them it wouldn't tell the story honestly bc in the book there were one. They did an okay job at keeping good quotes and what not but would've loved more!
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
what about King Edmung the Just? I know, I am a dork, but... aww man he look sooo good (to me) and prince Caspian too (aw Lord... maybe I'm sick) wow
luvs2gossip luvs2gossip 8 years
If the River God represents God, then the white witch represents the Devil!
luvs2gossip luvs2gossip 8 years
Ok I want and need my own Prince Caspian! His face on screen was the best part! Otherwise, I have to agree the movie was very long and the white witch was scary!
luvs2gossip luvs2gossip 8 years
Ok I want and need my own Prince Caspian! His face on screen was the best part! Otherwise, I have to agree the movie was very long and the white witch was scary!
Mariana48 Mariana48 8 years
i saw this yesterday and i liked it alright, but the first one is better
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
I read all those books. Always the characters on the movies are is.eeer… not that bad, but not like the book. but, for me the movies just completes what I have imagine, is the same with the potter books and all the books made movies. for me, I want to see the battles, because the narration and chats on the book are awesome, and I need the battles illustrations. lets take this: see the movie people and read the book, always! We will never be satisfied, but at least some kids are gonna read the books now. still, hate that they have to put romance... THAT WAS TOTALLY UNNECESARY!
sidra5397 sidra5397 8 years
And don't get me started on he first movie. The portrayal of the White Witch was completely off. Tilda's a great actress but did she even learn about the Witch before taking the role (The Magician's Nephew). These movies carried a lot of responsibilty because not only were children going to see this move (for that reason I'm okay with the cesorship of the violence. Though it was a little over done. At seven I read and understood the significance of Aslan's death in the first book and the violent nature of it. Kids are usully smarter than you think.)but there were a lot of life long fans like myself who were completely scorned.
sidra5397 sidra5397 8 years
I agree with genvessel and cdbj527. The books are rife with meaning but the movies just skimmed over them and turned the stories into gimmicks. The romance between Caspian and Susan was forced into the film, the actor who plays Caspian is all wrong, the cuts and adds are disappointing. They could have made so much more out of these films. People who only watch the films and think they have got a good idea of Lewis' work are sorely mistaken. It's really heartbreaking if you love the real Narnia.
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
sorry for the long post. like someone said, the books have an "anti climatic" battles, but so much narration of what the characters felt. So the really climatic battles here were for us to understand what the characters felt without teh narration. But it's true is a violent movie for kids without PG, I mean I was talking to both kids on my sides, and they were patience enough to understand what was going on (besides spades and blood).
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 8 years
The only bad things about teh movie is the non existing romance!, I mean, in the books there is no romance. If we are gonna start saying that is too rude for kids, we are gonna start saying reading is to hard on them too. I hate to see movies with wars and that the heroes didn't do any real large battles. The childrens have to see that for the "kids" in the story was very hard, loss time, friends, get desperate, take desperate measures, etc. The girl on my other side was so excited to learn that I actually read the story... I went with a 6 year old, and on my other side was a 12 year old girl. Both were thrilled and saying "ooww they catch him" "oh they learn their lesson", they were in the story, they were sooo thrilled! By experience, my cousin... was like that in a movie, but he was a only case. SO I learn there are kids that are not fans of movies and tv. If a 6 year old was telling me exactly was he was understanding... I think it was no a "violent" movie, we already see teh passive side of teh pensieves in the first movie.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
Renees3 - They are eventually doing ALL of the Narnia books, even The Magician's Nephew. That movie will be second to last though (before The Last Battle), in the same order that C.S. Lewis wrote the books. I actually like The Magician's Nephew a lot, and the main character, Digory, is the professor that the Pevensie kids stay with in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
nijinsky nijinsky 8 years
Loved the first book, loved the first movie. I read the second book once and only dimly remember it. Aside from the scary scenes and battle scenes possibly not being appropriate for children, consider this: Two people told me they thought the battle in the first book and film was kind of anticlimactic — lots of buildup, then it didn't deliver. While I don't necessarily agree with this, perhaps the filmmakers thought this as well, and decided this movie should have more battles. Even if this isn't true, I gather war is an important part of the story, what with trying to push the Telmarines out of Narnia. And about the violent and frightening nature, it's actually nice to know that some people feel it's inappropriate for children. Here I was thinking today's youth is desensitized to such things. And jeez, what about the first movie? I was traumatized by the bombing scene myself!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
Oh just checked imdb, looks like next up is The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. cool! edmund is my fave kid.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I actually really like it. I didn't think it was too over the top or anything. I agree, I totally almost cried when they left some people behind. And there were scenes when Peter just reminded me of when Prince William was the goodlooking prince hahahaahhaaa. I actually went to borders right after and bought a book that has all of them in it (in the order Lewis wanted them) so I've started on that. I must say so far the Magicians Nephew is strange and I can see why they skipped it. Anyone know what other books they're planning on doing in Narnia world?
dlmslp dlmslp 8 years
i liked the first narnia better simply because tilda swinton was brilliant.
fashion4ward fashion4ward 8 years
I'm only seeing this because of the adorable [teen] cast. And I love Liam Neeson and Eddie Izzard (even though it's just their voices).
verily verily 8 years
I thought the movie was decent. It's been over a decade since I read any of the Narnia books, so I don't recall how Prince Caspian really played out, but all in all this was an entertaining film. With the exception of an implied beheading, the deaths are all bloodless. And fast! I admit that I found it a bit funny that a big burly guard could be taken down with a single arrow or slicing by a mouse's sword. ;) Still, so many deaths would be quite disturbing to a small child; it might be worth viewing first before taking kids under 8. The presence of the Telmarines could have been explained a bit better.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
Oh, sorry I forgot more things! - Reepicheep was the best part of the movie, I think. Eddie Izzard is hilarious. - Another disturbing scene was when they had to leave half of their army behind and watch them get slaughtered. It's not extremely violent, but its still a little disturbing.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
Other things I forgot to mention: - I always get super emotional when Aslan comes onscreen. i guess its a combination of what I think he represents and the fantastic voice acting of Liam Neeson. - The landscapes in the film were incredible. It makes me want to live in Narnia despite all of the conflict. - The scene with the White Witch were soo scary. Thats the only part that I think would be difficult for kids to watch.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
SPOILER ALERT I thought the movie was really good, but it was probably because I don't remember this particular book that well in comparison to the rest of the Narnia books. Ben Barnes, who plays Prince Caspian, is soo good-looking but he has a strange accent in the film. There's also a romantic storyline between him and Susan that my friend says wasn't in the book. I also didn't think that there were too many battle scenes...I thought that there were only 2 of them at the end? It is a lot darker than the first one, but I don't know which one I like better. Did anyone catch that the river god at the end seemed to resemble God/Jesus? I know I'm not the only one who thinks that because I saw another reviewer mention that but I didn't really understand what they meant until I saw the end.
emei47 emei47 8 years
*minor spoiler in song choices* and can we talk about regina spektor's song at the end? everyone in the audience started to laugh at what a poor choice it was…
cdbj527 cdbj527 8 years
Having bought my ticket online and well in advance, tonight marked the end of my six long months of waiting for volume four of the Chronicles of Narnia brought to film. Having no one to go with did not curb my enthusiasm in the slightest because the classic story of Prince Caspian has been with me longer than anyone I know around here; it is a story I've visited (with its six paperback companions) at least once every couple of years since elementary school. Although small creative licenses were taken in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the film makers paid attention to minute details; from the way the sunlight reflects in Aslan's mane to the fly buzzing on the windowsill in the land of "Spare Oom." I expected to be delighted. I was not. After skipping Caspian's childhood entirely, the birth of his cousin starts a film that requires significant explanation within the first fifteen seconds. I feel that this inconsiderate omission is disrespectful to the portrayal of who Caspian is. Caspian's wonder and admiration of the Narnians is so much a product of his upbringing that without explanation of his background, he becomes a snobbish, insufferable know-it-all who is rarely impressed. Additionally, the delinquent storytelling robs moviegoers of delightful character that is Dr. Cornelius, who is referred to as merely "the professor" and plays an extremely limited role. There is no mention of Caspian's nurse, the courageously rebellious woman who taught Caspian to crave peace and freedom. Deliberate disregard for literary accuracy is demonstrated in a scene where Caspian, with the help of an old hag and wolflike beast, uses dark magic to summon the spirit of the White Witch. It is clearly stated in the beginning of Caspian's (real) journey that he strictly opposes the slightest association with persons such as those, but that was merely the way his story was written by C.S. Lewis, an author whose classic literary masterpiece was only loosely followed in the making of this film. In short, the film makers could have told Caspian's heroic story with a spectacular film but instead resorted to glossing over critical information and details; an ultimate betrayal to the literate minority.
moxierain moxierain 8 years
When it comes to summer movies I don't care much about the storyline. I just care about the action and I'm a female. I just want to be wowed when it comes to summer popcorn flicks.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
I'm so hung up on how much the guy who plays Prince Caspian looks like Atreyu from The Neverending Story that I will see the movie just for nostalgia's sake. I'm hoping for Atreyu meets Lord of the Rings. :shrug:
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