A few random thoughts while watching "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian?"
- Doesn't Ben Barnes, as Prince Caspian, resemble Orlando Bloom?
- Isn't it weird that neither Barnes nor Bloom has much acting range?
- Is it ironic that a movie with such a strong center of faith would have such an obsession with fighting?
- I wonder how this flick will do at the box- office. I'm sure it'll open well but, man, it sure lacks the magical qualities of the endearing first "Narnia" film.
- Is it my imagination or does Peter Dinklage elevate every film he's in?
- MENTAL NOTE: I REALLY want a Peter Dinklage interview.
"Chronicles of Narnia: The Prince Caspian" is expected to be the first of summer's really big blockbusters, though "Iron Man" has certainly been a pleasant surprise.
On a certain level, "Prince Caspian" may be lined up for a stronger box-office. While the film still contains C.S. Lewis's obviously Christian agenda, an agenda that made "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" such a hit with the Christian community, co-writer and director Andrew Adamson's film is decidedly more action-oriented with prolonged fight scenes and more commercial pandering that may make it even more friendly to those bugged by the film's obvious Christian themes.
The question is has Adamson compromised faith too significantly to keep the film's core Christian audience pleased?
I suppose time will tell. The faith themes remain obvious throughout "Prince Caspian," including one scene of vision that, well, is a far deeper revelation of the film's God-center than the original film had the guts to go for.
For those unfamiliar with the storyline, in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" the Pevensie siblings are swooped back into Narnia from a London tube station. It has been a mere one year in the Pevensie's world, but in Narnia 1,300 years have passed and the Pevensie's are called to aid Prince Caspian in restoring Caspian to the throne and conquering his evil Uncle (you can tell by the moustache he's evil), Miraz (Sergio Castellitto).
While "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" gave us time with the characters, Adamson seems to assume a level of intimacy with the Pevensie children that may not be true enough for the story arc of "Prince Caspian" to feel complete. The four original actors are back as the Pevensie's- Susan (Anna Popplewell), Peter (William Moseley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley).
The vast majority of the film's nearly 2 1/2 hour running time is spent on the efforts by the Pevensie's to assist Prince Caspian in recapturing the throne. To pass the time, Adamson tosses in an out-of-place swordfighting mouse (voiced by comic Eddie Izzard), minotaurs, centaurs, bears, and a sarcastic dwarf (Peter Dinklage) with a far too brief return by Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton as the White Witch.
"The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" opened up with $65 million at the box-office, on its way to almost $700 million worldwide...an unexpected box-office slam dunk for the usually smaller-aimed Walden Media. Much more hyped and globally marketed than the original "Prince Caspian" would seem to be aiming for a better opening weekend, however, the film is such a mishmash of weak characters, disjointed and bland action sequences and an adorable yet not particularly interesting Prince Caspian that one would hope the film is destined for a weaker box-office run than the original "Narnia" film. With "Indiana Jones 4" opening this coming Wednesday and "Iron Man" still strong, "Prince Caspian" should find its box-office numbers diluted at least modestly.
With the third film already due to start filming in November for a 2010 release (minus two of the Pevensie's, rumor has it), it's unlikely that the "Narnia" franchise will be too impacted by Adamson's turn towards a more action-oriented film. While "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" may lack the original's goodheartedness and positive spirit, it maintains the stunning visual imagery and positive values that made "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" beloved by a worldwide audience.
Undeniably disappointing, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is still an entertaining, visually compelling and exciting film for the entire family that is likely to please young boys or girls more interested in action than fairy tales.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic