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"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"

Directed by Andrew Adamson.
Written by Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.  Based on the book by C.S. Lewis.
Starring Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Ben Barnes and Peter Dinklage.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  5/25/08


A testament to my thoughts of the first "Narnia" film (a title so long I'm too lazy to write it all again):  I essentially had to trick myself into seeing its sequel, "Prince Caspian", because I was so blah-blah on the first movie.  I mean, REALLY blah-blah.  I had a freebie to see the first movie, and even then, I thought it was so-so...when I saw trailers for the sequel, I rolled my eyes to literally no one as I watched children take down evil with the help of God and jungle animals.

"Prince Caspian" extends on the original film's story by bringing our four young newly royal heroes back to Narnia--Peter (William Moseley), Lucy (Georgie Henley), Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes)--a year after they were there, at least in their real-world's been about a thousand years in Narnia time, so the land they left has vastly changed.  Now, it seems like a bunch of Spaniard-like folks (thus beginning my vague investment in this experience) have taken over the lands and outcast the people of Narnia, admittedly a bunch of freaks to begin with.  The reigning prince of these people, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), is immediately ousted by his uncle, a shady guy named King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) who has fathered a son who should take the throne one day...leading Caspian to join up with the outcast Narnians and the four kids to strike back at their oppressors.

It's not that the story is necessarily hard to follow...I just found myself not caring to follow it.  I think that I have fatigue for these PG or PG-13 kid-driven epics for thousands of reasons, but here are a few:

  • I am tired of watching 12-to-15-year-olds win swordfights with armored men twice their age.

  • I am having a hard time even listing all of the "Bridge to Terabithia"-ish, "Narnia"-ish, "Potter"-ish, "Eragon"-ish films that are somewhat look-alike, but at some point, we decided it was worth making a dozen movies a year where kids can outwit, out-fight and out-hustle all of their adult counterparts.  Blah.

  • Couldn't they at least find good child actors to play these parts?  The "Narnia" actors don't have anyone thinking they'll have a long career after these movies are over.

Despite this fatigue, the action sequences of "Narnia" are passable, even if they are a bit violent for a kids' movie.  (There is actually a beheading late in this film; I don't even know what "PG" means anymore.)  And, my biggest gripe about the first "Narnia" flick was its special effects, but in "Prince Caspian", the effects are very well done, and that wiley Aslan (again voice by Liam Neeson) looks good in CGI.  Probably to the detriment of the series, "Prince Caspian" is fairly light on story, making the (safe) assumption that you saw the first film and mainly avoids introducing scads of new characters.  (Harry Potter flicks always blow this for non-readers like myself.)

While I'll never see it again and my chances of seeing the third film are slim, "Prince Caspian" was a decent way to blow an afternoon thanks to its 140-minute running time and decent action, but I would love to know if anyone really loved this movie and thinks that I missed something here.  But, as my buddy Chuck would say, this movie was just fine, but don't come in expecting to be blown away.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09