Prince Caspian
Disney delivers yet another adaptation of Lewis' adventures with the return of Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy to a post-golden age Narnia where Telmarines threaten the existence of its fabled creatures.  The story begins with the flight of young Prince Caspian from his malicious, pseudo-Spanish uncle aspiring to claim the throne for himself, and the land that is a fading Narnia.  For the most part, the opening scene is formulaic with the aid of a wise professor, the gallop from treacherous guards across a dark and open vista, and the sudden appearance of rescuing Dwarves, Warwick Davis including.  Caspian blows the mysterious horn of Queen Susan in attempt to thwart his foes, which in turn resonates in fifties England where the Pevensie children await their train.

Despite the predictable magic whilrwind of Disney animation, childish humor, Caspian's facial suicide, and plot detours from the original book, the movie manages to exceed the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe in entertaining action sequences and the lessons of growing up to deliver a decent, worth the money show.  Dialogue is sporadically slow, topped with witless retorts of talking rats, who should have been played by Paul Giamatti, and sprinkled with the ridiculous rolling of r's by none other than the prince of the hour.  Lucy, however, manages to captivate audiences once again with her girlish charm, and graceful features while Peter comes swinging full force, desperate to become a man.  It seems that these two siblings personify the battle between belief and human rationality, and what it takes, well beyond the eleventh hour, for ordinary kings and queens to become something more.

Aslan's cameos are few and far between, yet there is no doubt he is lord over man and beast, "not a tame lion."  For as he states he never does things the same way twice,  unhesitatingly drawing the trees out of their lethargy to attack Miraz's army and calling forth an angel of the water to destroy the remaining troops.  It's hard to dismiss the similarities to "Fellowship of the Ring's" river scene but if Lewis and Tolkien were friends then perhaps it's not so unimaginative.  Some would say that Aslan is a poor digital creation, even a little foo-foo in this film, but he is still the enigmatic, approachable embodiment of love and power and not without poignant weight.  Let's hope that Jack Black will not sell more tickets at the box office as this summer's overweight karate panda.

All in all, the movie is what one would expect with the exception of a few dark twists, Hollywood's attempt at spicing up a story for this generation's cynical, anti-hero leanings.  But that aside, the cherished language of C.S. Lewis lives on as his heroes and heroines persevere through trial and battle against insurmountable odds while memories of Mr. Tumnus and the beavers echo in the viewer's minds.  A family achievement, another step at resurrecting the magic of childhood, perhaps ticking off an observing Jack Lewis from his ethereal library above.  See it.  It's history now.
Reviewed by: amy
35 Comment(s)
I agree. The movie was only about average, and the only thing (I thought) that made it better than the first was the action sequences, which were pretty cool. Oh, and Reepicheep was awesome, too.

And, as always, the full review is up at my blog, as well.
Shea said...
Reepicheep was great. I loved the storming of the castle at night and how everything went wrong.

I dont think Andrew is a very good visual director and definitely doesnt lead into a scene well or introduce characters with any sort of style.

Another example if Disney completely sterilizing an amazing source material.

I liked it better than the first one though... i think.
Adam said...
Kung Fu Panda will sell lots of tickets - Perhaps not as much as Narnia... but I've got to say, after seeing this completely generic boring film, I'm almost up for some Jack Black Panda action!
Nick said...
Forget Kung Fu Panda (though it does look humorous). I'm psyched for Wall-E!
Adam said...
Agreed.

The Dark Knight and Wall-E hold my highest hopes for the summer.
Shea said...
Wall E? I mean yeah it will be cool...but are you really that excited about it? It's going to another standard amazing Pixar movie. Nothing to poop yourself over. What about the Strangers? Now that has my puppy ears perked!
Paul said...
This movie, though not terrible, just seems like it was trying to be Lord of the Rings but couldn't commit. It suffers entirely from its poor production value. Poor acting, poor CG and poor choice of contemporary music during the epilogue...I mean wtf?!

I loved the opening during the escape from the castle, reminded me of the castle from Willow and gave me high hopes. As soon as we had the "gathering" in the woods it seemed to turn to cheese fairly quickly. I don't remember the book that well, but do we need a power struggle between two adolescents? I did however, love the sword fight b/w Peter and Miraz.

Uh...don't underestimate The Incredible Hulk either fellas.
Andy said...
Wall-E and Dark Knight in the same sentence? I am not looking forward to Wall-E at all.
Prince Caspian was pretty lame. It had the same cheesy kid feel as Spiderwick Chronicles. A lot of the dialogue was terrible and characters annoying. There were very few parts that held my interest. It was almost like the director intentionally chose to do the obvious / average when there were chances for it to be done well. It just seemed really small.
Shea: Have you seen the new full trailer for Wall-E? It looks so cute! (No, I'm not gay... I just don't care). And there's gonna be a strong minimum of actual dialogue, so that's something to be interested about, too... to see if they can pull that off. But everytime I see that new trailer, it makes me giggle like a little schoolgirl.

Er... yeah.
Shea said...
Hey we all have those school girl tendancies... but when thinking about the excitement of this summer Wall E just fills a weekend spot.

I know it will be good but I dont lose sleep with excitement like some of the others.

so... there.
Nick said...
Shea: I know what you mean. I don't lose sleep over it, either. There actually aren't many that are affecting me that way this summer, though. The Dark Knight is exciting, obviously. Too bad the next Harry Potter doesn't come out until November... because I'm already losing sleep over that one :P
Shea said...
I am losing sleep over Dark Knight and the Strangers. On the Strangers because the trailer scares the BG out of me.

I am excited about The Happening.

Wall E, Hancock, and Hulk all fit in the same "opening night got to catch" but are burried under my anticipation for Dark KNight.

I am not holding any expectations for Indy. I am going with the mind of a child hopefully to recapture the magic that is the first time... (cue Michael Scott)...
Nick said...
Oh yeah, The Happening has got me excited, too. Have you seen the new red band trailer? That movie is gonna be a lot more hardcore than people who only see the normal trailer will think. It's intense. As for The Strangers... I'll see it, but I'm not losing sleep about it. It does look entertaining, though.

I'm wondering if Hulk is gonna be another Iron Man. Nobody has high expectations for it, though it has that high probability to be awesome (I mean... it's Edward Norton for crying out loud).
Shea said...
Yeah, there is only one hope and high point for the Hulk... Tim Roth.

Paul said...
Let us not forget that Ed Norton has it in him to be brilliant Shea Shea
Shea said...
Yeah... but his battles with Marvel and discussion with the director kinda scare me. He does indeed have it in him to be brilliant but does he have it in him to revive the Hulk? Time will tell.
Paul said...
True, I'm not expecting it to smash (HULK SMASH!) the box office, just saying don't write it off just yet.
Andy said...
I'm going on record saying The Hulk will be incredible... get it? do you get it? Actually, I am a little excited about seeing it.
Adam said...
I don't know about the Hulk - I'm not that convinced by the trailer that it's going to be any better than Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four or even the first Hulk. I want to see it, but I'm certainly not losing sleep over it.

I feel pretty much the same way about Hancock - it looks ridiculous, and not in a good way. The whole whale scene bewilders me.

Hellboy II, Dark Knight and Wall-E...
Andy said...
The whale scene bewilders you? I am still laughing at that half way through the next trailer.
Shea said...
OOOooo Yes... I am all about Hellboy.

I like the whale scene too. I hear tht Hancock is a lot darker then most will expect... if that is the case it could be tight. The CG looks a little rough but I am behind most anything that Mike Mann is.
Let us not forget that The Chronicles of Narnia is Children's Literature. In my opinion it's supposed to feel like a kids version of LOTR. The main characters all being children are going to give it a totally different feel from Vigo and Sauron every time no matter how good the CG is or the acting etc. I would agree with the above review, but I think people tend to miscategorize these films much in the same way that Star Wars: Episode I was. People had beef with Jar-Jar, but were totally fine with C3PO's "I'm beside myself" comments over... and over... and over... and over...
Shea said...
Ohhhhhh.... so now you give in?
Shea said...
Ooops... wrong place for my last commen.

I think with the books are way different than LOTR... WAY DIFFERENT.

Unfortunately you are right when Disney decides its time to do NArna in the wak of LOTR film success... that is where it all becomes muddled.
Adam said...
Yes, exactly - that's the problem. The books are completely different, but Disney decided to ignore any sort of unique style and give Narnia a dumbed-down LOTR treatment...

Also, I would agree with your comments about the Star Wars prequels... The people who loved ewoks and other kid-oriented stuff in the 80s with the originals grew up and hated Jar-Jar... when there's really no difference. I mean, Jar-Jar and Wicket do the same things frame-for-frame in several scenes.

I'm always going to be overly critical of the Narnia films - there's no helping that, I just think they deserve better - but I realize that not every film can get the peter jackson treatment
Paul said...
Umm...no difference b/w Jar Jar and Wicket?

...dear lord (shakes head in dismay)
Adam said...
Shake your head but it's true.

Jar-Jar has a sling-shot type thing that he swings around his head three times and it smacks him in the face... Wicket does the exact same thing frame by frame.

Also, do we not recall the ewoks attempting to trip AT-ST walkers in the forest? Then the AT-ST drags them through the dirt while they squeal and yell "yub-yub" all over the place.

What about the one Ewok, Paploo I believe is his name, who steals the speeder bike and spins out of control on it. This kind of clumsy stuff is the same thing Jar-Jar does during the Battle of Naboo when he gets tripped up on droid wires and defeats a tank by accidently throwing a "boomer" on the driver.

Now you'll argue that well, the ewoks were cool b/c they didnt' talk and they ere little warriors... but the only difference is that you could understand what Jar-Jar said and you couldn't understand the ewoks. The two species are basically the same. Wicket and Jar-Jar are comically different in comparison to their counterparts. The rest of the gungans are proud warriors who aren't nearly as clumsy or goofy as Jar-Jar.

I mean - Star Wars has always been campy. Chewie doing the Tarzan yell? R2-D2 and C-3P0 doubling as Abbot and Costello?

If you go back and watch Episode I you'll realize that it heavily mirrors Episode VI - the whole ending, cutting between a big battle (Naboo and Endor) to a lightsaber battle (Vader and Luke / Maul and Obi-Wan) to a Space battle (Anakin and Trade Federation / Lando and Wedge Vs Death Star)

Jar-Jar doesn't deserve half the hate he gets. He isn't the greatest character in the world, and maybe his voice is annoying - but kids love him, and that's the point of his existence.. .the same reason we got Ewoks in Return of the Jedi... cute little teddy bears with funny speech who are clumsy but good-hearted.
Andy said...
Jar Jar is like a bumbling doofus who stumbles around accidentally helping. Wicket at least knew what he was doing.
Nick said...
I agree with Adam completely.
Shea said...
I like Wicket a 10000 times better than Jar Jar...


I hate chewie when he plays Tarzan.

I laugh when wicket hits himself in the face I roll my eyes when Jar Jar does. There is a difference.
Adam said...
As Yoda would say, "the only difference is in your mind." ha.

Most kids now, who didn't grow up with such a fond attachment of the original trilogy, actually prefer the prequels - they relate more with the characters etc. I know that sounds absurd but to a little boy, seeing a movie where a little kid (anakin) is a hero is pretty awesome.

I'm indifferent to Wicket or Jar-Jar, honestly. I like Jar-Jar for what he is - a fool. Is he over-the-top? Absolutely. But look at the larger picture...

Jar Jar only wanted to do something right - and so in Episode II he is basically tricked by Palpatine into taking Amidala's place in Senate and suggesting emergency powers be placed in Palpatine's hands... So now you have this tragedy of a fool who thought he was doing something good, only to have it end up being the worst thing possible.

I think that's really cool, actually. Without fools like Jar Jar... the Empire never would have happened.
Paul said...
Wow...I couldn't disagree more Adam...

Again we have statements of similar = the same

First off, I think it's lame that George felt he had to mirror VI in I, the Gungans we an unnecessary part of the story, and the simple fact is that no one cared about them. There could have been countless ways for the Chancellor to come to power, the most ridiculous is some lame-ass Saturday-morning cartoon voting him in, so the idea that he was necessary is a farce.

Wicket is lovable, Jar Jar is just an annoying pain in the ass. Everything about them was done poorly, esp the CG which probably hurt them the most! I don't disagree that as creatures, they are similar, but you cannot tell me you feel the same about them. There is a right way to pull off comic relief, and then there is Jar Jar Binks...he ABSOLUTELY deserves the hate he get, he is the greatest eyesore in a sea of what could have been.

Jar Jar's poor attempt at comic relief mirror George's poor attempt at story telling in this film...I'm sorry, I said it.
Adam said...
You know, it's just a pointless argument to me. I am a Star Wars fan - I love it so much, and it means so much to me that it might as well be my religion.

I've seen each of the original films over 300 times, and I've seen Episode I close to 100... hell I saw it 10 times in the theater. And when I first saw The Phantom Menace, I did not walk into it as a blind fanboy. I didn't like Jar Jar because of the same reasons I defend him now. But after seeing him so may times, through so many repeated viewings of the movie, I realized that he is the least of the problems in "Episode I."

Lucas has said it himself time and time again - people were never going to like the prequels. Why? For the same reason people say the special editions destroyed their childhood. From the span of 1983 to 1999 people had an idea of what Star Wars was about, and what the story was. You've got 16 years of passionate people with unbelievable expectations that will never be pleased.

It's the same reason Indiana Jones IV is getting trashed - unbelievable expectations fueled by fond childhood memories.

Are the prequels perfect? Hell no. Are they near and dear and important to me? Very much so. Were they what anyone expected? Absolutely not, and they were never going to be.

I think about if I went to see "Return of the Jedi" as an 18-24 year old and how I would interpret it. I would probably loathe the ewoks for the same reasons grown-ups hated Jar Jar. I would point and say that they were completely unnecessary and looked like little teddy bears and everything else. But it is through the eyes of a child that we must watch these movies, and it is in the heart of a child that their memory must stay. I was 12 when I saw Episode I... not as cynical as I am now, and though we could argue until the cows come home about how the prequels are 'awful' and what they could've/should've been... they'll never be good enough.

I don't see the gungans as a necessary species any more than I see the Ewoks as a result of budgetary woes not allowing George to have an army of Wookiees. After all, Endor and Ewoks were created out of thin air because they couldn't afford to make full-length wookiee suits.

I love The Phantom Menace - because I am a Star Wars fan first of all, and a movie fan second. I love the spirit of Star Wars and it will never die or be tarnished in my heart. It's cool to hate the prequels - it's cool to be too grown up for Jar Jar's stupid antics, but to be honest... when I watch him, a part of me glows and I smile.

I'm a student of Star Wars. A kid doesn't grow up scourging yard sales and flea markets to amass a 3000-piece collection without a deep passion for the story.

Diehard fans of Star Wars as an entity, not a collection of six movies, can analyze and argue over the flaws of the films better than anyone else, so I can understand someone's dislike for certain things throughout the story.

I could rip the prequels to shreds and write a 800-page book about it, but I think back to the kid in the backyard who spray painted a broomstick green and used his wooden lightsaber to escape Jabba's sail barge, and it suddenly doesn't matter.

Everyone sees something different in a film - and there are multiple layers of depth in any story being told. One can look at E.T. and say "oh there's a movie about some weird alien and his earthly friend." Or someone can say "wow, here's a movie about a young boy going through a divorce and feeling so completely alone and feeling almost alien." And then you learn that the movie is an allegory for the experiences Steven Spielberg went through when his parents divorced, and its a beautiful thing.

It's like this that I see Star Wars - yes, even the prequels. I look at the prequels and I don't see bad acting or poor comic relief because again, I don't see them as just movies.

So yes, people will always hate Jar-Jar in the way that people will always say things like "Oh the book was much better!" or "Not as good as the original." And that's fine, because it seems I read a little deeper and feel a completely different connection then perhaps they are getting.

That's it - I mean, when it comes down to it Jar Jar Binks exists and no amount of complaining and arguing will magically erase him from the Star Wars universe. I accept his bumbling ways, his "EXSQUEEZE MEEE!" and the fact that he walks like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

I know the little kid in me though, would absolutely love him the way I loved Ewoks as a kid.
Paul said...
Ok, last response...

I am a star wars fan at heart as well Adams...heck I have a lego Millennium Falcon in my bedroom. I love the prequels because they expand the lore and fill in some gaps. Regardless of any expectations, I can look at them and objectively say they are utterly flawed, that is the movie lover in me. I disagree that the only reason people hate them is because they could in no way meet expectations. That is an excuse on Lucas' part. He is a poor director, and his plots for the prequels were full of holes. I do not want to see him burned at the stake for them, nor destroy the prequels as "Those of which we do not speak", I just wish he could have relinquished some control and given these films what they needed in a great director. He had every right not to, but in doing so he robbed the world of a potentially mind-blowing experience.

You were 12 when you saw Ep 1 and didn't like Jar Jar...how young do you need to be to like him? Unless I watch the Tele-Tubbies every afternoon I am not going to like him. And keep in mind that there were plenty of adults who saw VI when it came out, and the Ewoks well received. It may be a point that can never be proved, but as a die hard star wars fan I cannot turn a blind eye to the differences between these characters.

As I said, I like the prequels, and I love star wars. As a star wars fan AND a movie fan, I shake my head at what they deserved and never became. The same way my heart breaks that Twin Peaks was ever canceled.
Shea said...
Bringing it all back to Prince Caspian... I think they should have left it with the BBC versions... with the fat lucy and the human sized beaver suits.