Movie review: ‘Prince Caspian’ captures novel’s magic
Vail CO, Colorado
It’s a little tough to imagine how “The Chronicles of Narnia” would come off to someone who hasn’t read the books or seen the first film.
Let’s just assume that, like “Lord of the Rings,” “Prince Caspian” can carry itself on magical visuals and special effects alone. The box office numbers support this theory but we long-time C.S. Lewis fans know better. We know the story is way more than just a world of talking animals and sword fights (hopefully even the most dull-minded and illiterate of “Caspian” viewers will glean that much).
But for the sake of movie buffs who hardly realize that the “Chronicles of Narnia” have existed in all of their imaginative and sometimes controversial glory since the 1950s, here’s a little background.
The Pevensie children ” Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy ” live in a big house outside of London during World War II. They’ve already discovered a magical world (yes … Narnia) through a wardrobe. Although in the first installment (“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”), they grew old in this world, conquering an evil witch and becoming kings and queens, they returned to England and became children again as if no time had passed since their adventure began.
“Prince Caspian” begins with Peter ” the oldest ” brawling with other children in a train station, having some issues readjusting to his unglamorous life as a schoolboy after being the heroic ruler of Narnia.
Luckily Peter and his siblings stumble back into Narnia very quickly after being summoned by a magic horn.
It is Prince Caspian blowing the horn. During the Pevensie children’s absence, which, in Narnia time, amounts to thousands of years, a group of people called the Telmarines has taken over the land. They’ve driven all Narnians into the woods and forbidden any mention of Narnia. Caspian’s wicked uncle advocates all of this. And after his wife has a son (potential heir to the throne), the uncle attempts to have Caspian killed. Caspian’s loyal professor, who has also secretly taught him about the history of Narnia, tips him off and Caspian escapes into the woods. Still, the Telmarines find him and in desperation he blows the horn to summon the ancient kings and queens of Narnia.
When Caspian finally meets the kings and queens, shrugging off the reality that they are only children, the group begins assembling Narnians to battle the Telmarines and reclaim the land.
Why is it that young British actors in fantasy films are always so convincing and fantastic? It must be the accents. At any rate, the “Chronicles” crew is top-notch. The script is funny and engaging and the imagery is jaw-dropping. Though not necessarily fairly rated ” PG despite a decapitation scene and some characters that surely will provoke nightmares in small children ” “Prince Caspian” will wow audiences above the age of, let’s say, 10. The story, however, is the real deal. Full of symbolic meaning and deeper than moving pictures could communicate, “Caspian” is worth a theater trip. You should probably read the book, too.
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