“Things never happen the same way twice, dear one.”
– Aslan, to Lucy
Alright, I admit it: I’m a thirteen year old trapped in a seventeen year old’s body.
So what? The Narnia film series is great, and I was quite sad to learn there won’t be any more movies in it. So tonight I’m reviewing the best of the three, Prince Caspian, on the four-year anniversary of its DVD release.
I saw this back in June 2008, when I was thirteen, in the summer before eighth grade. I was just sitting at home, watching the first movie in the series when a few of my friends called, asking if I wanted to see the new one in theaters the next day. It became my new favorite movie (to be knocked down from its pedestal by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2009), and here are my spoiler-free thoughts on it.
The movie has a strong premise to begin with: one year has passed in England since the Pevensie family’s last adventure, but 1300 years have passed in Narnia. Now it’s ruled by a group called the Telmarines, led by King Miraz. Miraz’s son, Caspian, flees the castle to avoid being murdered and sets out to find the original kings and queens, so they can take their world back.
There were many things to love about this movie. For one thing, the screenwriters did a spectacular job of reconstructing the book into a screenplay. The book is, forgive me, quite awful in terms of chronology. Literally half of it is the Pevensies sitting around a fire hearing about all these death-defying adventures Caspian has gone through, and the real story only lasts a few chapters after that. But Andrew Adamson—director, producer and head screenwriter of this fantastic franchise—handles the plot with stunning ease, turning it into an action-packed adventure that remains remarkably faithful to the book.
The rest of the production is great, too. All of the actors return, brilliant as ever, and Ben Barnes is perfectly cast as the titular character. The effects are as sharp as can be. The whole adventure aspect of it is just so much fun, and for some reason it’s cooler to see the kids on their own rather than being guided by the Beavers and Mr. Tumnus.
The battle sequences are much more epic in this than in the first movie, and certainly better than the conclusion to the trilogy, Dawn Treader. The added castle raid was a smart decision on the writers’ part, and the battlefield sequence at the end is pretty awesome. For goodness’ sake, the MPAA says the movie is PG for “epic battle action.”
And of course, Aslan returns! Admittedly, he doesn’t have as much screen time as in the first movie, but he still plays his role with awesomeness (and come on…it’s Liam Neeson!)
I would list some of my favorite scenes, but actually, I loved pretty much the entire movie. If I had to pick one, it would be the resurrection scene, if only because of the acting mixed with great effects.
And despite all of this, my absolute favorite thing about the movie has to be the score. Harry Gregson-Williams is one of my favorite modern-day composers, and this is easily his best work. The Narnia theme music is beautiful, and I still have it on my iPod four years later.
In conclusion: a more than fitting adaption with great effects, quality acting, epic battle sequences and a breathtaking score to encompass it all, this is one movie that pays respect to the genre of meaningful fantasy and manages to have quite a bit of fun doing it, too.
Rate: 8 out of 10.