- Released Internationally on 15/05/08
- Released in Malta by KRS on 26/06/08
In a nutshell
No surprises here. When The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was released in the wake of the Lord of the Rings phenomenon, another highly successful and screen-worthy fantasy franchise had made the jump to the big-screen. So once the first film proved itself as a massive box-office hit (even wrestling past Peter Jackson’s King Kong back in the 2005 Christmas season), all bets were off that the other books in the Narnia series would be filmed. So here’s part two of a potential seven.
Why we’re hyped
The four Pevensie children return to Narnia, only to discover that 1300 years of oppression have elapsed since their last visit. So we can expect this to be a darker and grittier film than the previous one. There’s also another large-scale battle on offer, so hopefully the digital effects wizards will manage to top the battle in Wardrobe, which was one of the highlights of the film, albeit a bit too shiny and clean for my tastes.
Who’s in it?
Everyone’s favourite mane character, Aslan, will be back of course, voiced by the ever-noble Liam Neeson. Plus the four child actors who portrayed the central characters, and relative newcomer Ben Barnes as the eponymous prince. Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Shrek 2 and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) returns to the director’s chair.
So where were we?
Three years ago, when quite a large chunk of the world exited cinemas after seeing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, we left the four main protagonists just as they had returned to our world, leaving Narnia behind after reigning over it for many years. This next chronicle, penned by C.S. Lewis soon after completing the previous book, picks up shortly after, with the four children finding life in London rather on the drab side compared to their previous exploits. Sure enough, over in Narnia, things have been set in motion for the old rulers to be summoned back, because they are sorely missed.
Things have changed
Narnia is a bit on the dark side nowadays, with a troupe of European-sounding humans called Telmarines having taken over, and being intent on exterminating all other Narnian inhabitants. The Prince is question is one such Telmarine, but he is forced to flee after realising his life is in danger due to his power-hungry uncle’s lust for the throne. This makes for a beautiful night-time escape sequence, which opens the film. He eventually meets the four Pevensie children, and together with centaurs, minotaurs, mice, dwarves, badgers and countless other creatures they seek to end the rule of this foul-tempered uncle of Caspian’s.
Another religion lesson?
The Christian allegory which C.S. Lewis enmeshed into his first novel was very evident on screen, whereas here it seems to have been toned down or at times omitted, also due in part to some of the deliberate changes made when adapting the book to the screen, in order to make it more of a big action film.
Despite not being as interesting or as magical a story as the first instalment, this film makes amends by having a number of exciting and well-orchestrated action sequences, such as the above-mentioned escape and a wonderful, hushed, midnight assault on a castle which evoked great memories of Disney’s Robin Hood from many moons ago (and which wasn’t in the book). The final confrontation is also bigger, flashier and more intricate than the climax of Wardrobe, and in the end I felt that while very clearly set in the same world, these two films are very different and can be judged on their own separate merits, of which there are many.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/disney/thechroniclesofnarniaprincecaspian/ (High-res QuickTime)