THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN (fantasy adventure)Cast: William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley and Ben Barnes
Director: Andrew Adamson
Time: 143 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Like most sequels to highly successful flicks, viewers are going to compare "Prince Caspian" with its predecessor - and gripe about the differences. Well, I am happy to report that this sequel has more action, is a bit darker, and more crisply made than its 2005 predecessor, which pulled in an amazing US$452 million worldwide.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Just one year after their first adventure in Narnia, the Pevensie siblings, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are pulled back into Narnia by Susan's magic horn. They find that more than a thousand years have passed, and Narnia is now ruled by the bloodthirsty General Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), uncle to the true heir, Prince Caspian British stage actor Ben Barnes) who is now in exile.
Caspian soon joins forces with the Pevensies to take down Miraz. Well, they get by with a little help from Trumpkin the Red Dwarf (a heavily disguised Peter Dinklage) and Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a valiant mouse reminiscent of "Shrek's" Puss in Boots.
HITS & MISSES: Andrew Adamson, of “Shrek” fame, stages the epic-style battles and action sequences with verve and confidence. He maintains the old-school style of C.S. Lewis' book, rather than upping the ante with modern stuff. The loss-of-innocence theme of the first book is significantly deepened in the script (written again by Adamson with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) giving the sequel that darker look. And given the predictable ending, and that Aslan the Lion will eventually intervene at the crucial moment, we still get a couple visual-effects trump cards that provide something we haven’t seen before.
A lot of the young viewers will be looking out for Ben Barnes as the title character and find him wanting compared to the regular Pevensie cast. Still, the undercurrent of attraction between Caspian and Susan adds a touch of romantic appeal, as does Susan’s transformation into something of an action heroine. The four kids overall have more character and are therefore more interesting to watch than they were before. Italian actor Castellitto is careful not to overplay the evil Miraz but it is Drinklage who gets most of the laughs.
THE LOWDOWN: Certainly a must for followers of Narnia.