Saturday, 31 May 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Better, but not much so...

A year of leaving Narnia, Peter
(William Mosley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skander Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) strangely return, only to find Narnia has advanced 1300 years in their absence. They have entered a world which has drastically changed since their last visit where the Narnians appear virtually extinct. They come across Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), a man who, with the aid of the Narnians, is fighting to have his rightful place as heir to the throne of Cair Paravel returned.

The story of Prince Caspian is a very on-off affair.
It is a fairly simple story to follow and while clearly an adaption of the novel, it does not discard the central thematic of Christian theology on which the novel is based. The story sports some great moral lessons on such concepts as deliverance, and the importance of maturity in respect to one's age. The film also does an amazing job in diverging into the mythology of Narnia by evoking the very history and culture of its inhabitants. This proves to enhance the interaction with the film, but does not stop it from having some very unfortunate mishaps. Firstly, for a film which passes the two-hour mark, Prince Caspian feels quite short on story material, in fact I would go as far as saying that the film could have been done, story wise, in just about hour. Secondly, while Narnia has changed, the world in which the story takes place, feels far too generic. This is because the story never really plays on the whole 'Narnia has changed' concept. It has lost its magical elements of the first film, but there is nothing in its place to help fill the void. These problems all stem to the amount of action sequences in the film.

The action is pretty enjoyable to watch, from the army fights, to the one-on-one fight, which is quite excellent. However, the action seems to underwhelm the story, pushing it aside into an inferior role. This could just be retribution for the first film, where the roles were reversed, but in this case, it hurts the film in the long run. But even for the lengthy action sequences, the cinematography becomes a little wonky, with director Andrew Adamson, trying to be fancy at times, when the sequence did not need it. There is a noticeable death toll, but the lack of any blood whatsoever, does seem a tad unwarranted, even though this film is aimed at kids.

The acting department is a definite improvement over the first Narnia film, with the veteran actors feeling more comfortable with their roles. Even newcomers prove equal matches, and thus makes for a well rounded acting performance, even though there were a few hints of actors forcing emotion into some lines. It is a pity that Tilda Swinton, reprising her role as The White Witch, gets very little screen time, and that Liam Neeson, as the voice of Aslan, does not make much of a showing.

The musical score fits quite snugly within the context of Narnia, but compared to other scores in similar films, the music is not particularly note worthy. Also, the computer animation is not something to get excited about. For the most part, it looks amazing, but there are noticeable moments where the animation loses its level of achievement.

No sex, nudity or even language for that matter. However the film is big on violence with it taking up a good chunk of the film. Is bloodless, with no gore, but some scenes are still violent nonetheless.

Prince Caspian is not a bad film, for it is, for the most part, a definite improvement over its predecessor. However, it is not exactly as grand as it should have been, and I emphasize this point, because it really deserved better treatment. Every facet of the film fails to reach high levels: yes there are moments when they do but it is far too inconsistent for the parts to be of real use to the final product. While an improvement, Prince Caspian is still nonetheless a disappointment.


Screen date: 31 May 2008
Release date: 06 June 2008


patrick said...

the makers of Prince Caspian kept to the original story in some ways and strayed in others... i heard they were going to make it into a silly pure-action flick, but thankfully this was not the case

CruizD said...

Yeah I am glad that they attempted to add some depth, and not just rely on the action to push the film through, even though it did dominate a bit much.