Narnia is darker the second go-around.
Starring Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, and Sergio Castellitto. Includes voices of Liam Neeson and Eddie Izzard. Directed by Andrew Adamson.
Story: At a castle, royal nephew and heir to the throne Caspian the 10th is saved from death by Doctor Cornelius. It seems that Caspian's uncle King Miraz just had a son and the whole "nephew is rightful heir to throne" has rubbed him the wrong way for long enough. Caspian goes into the woods (Narnia) and blows an ancient horn…
Meanwhile, it's been a year and the Pevensie kids (Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan) are standing at a subway station going… somewhere. As they stand in the bus station their "world" falls away and instantly they're back in Narnia, but Narnia doesn't look or feel the same…
Back to Caspian who awakes to find that the furry, talking creatures of Narnia are NOT extinct as previously thought. The badger and dwarf Nikabrik argue over what to do with this Telmarine, and he states that he's the true heir to Narnia, and that he can unite the land.
Back to the Pevensies. They look around and find that they are in Narnia, but how long after they left is undetermined. Each of them wonder: where is Aslan, and what happened to Narnia after they left?
To cut to the chase, Caspian unites the Narnians and goes to confront the King. Peter and company head off to find Aslan and what happened to Narnia. Both parties confront each other and a plan is made to dethrone Miraz. This leads to fighting and more fighting, and the story pretty much ends there.
This follow-up to 2005's "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is darker and more action-oriented; those who complained that "Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe" will probably enjoy "Prince Caspian" more. As for myself, I had a few problems with it.
My first big problem: what happened during the 1300 years the Pevensies weren't in Narnia? We find that Aslan left the kingdom to its own devices. Following that the Telmarines took over. I would've liked some exposition or visual account for what happened during those years instead of the glossing over that happens here. It's as if everyone on screen knows what's going on and if you don't understand, sorry about your luck.
The other problem I had with the film was that the "magic" and "wonderment" was gone. Part of what I liked about "Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe" was that Narnia had "magic" waiting to be restored and that if restored, everything would right itself. Pure fantasy, say yes, but the kid inside all of us identified with that. "Prince Caspian" took the "rightful heir that needs to be on the throne" formula and threw it into war. And maybe I was hoping for something closer to "Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe," and that Adamson wanted to make a statement on war: how children perceive it, how adults react to it, etc. There's a lot of fighting that goes on for that statement…
Last is a water character (you've seen it in the trailers). Aslan calls him up. What is he? Why is he? A little background info here? Yeah, thanks.
Overall, I liked the film. With the "Narnia" series you like them, not love them. They are well made and for the most part enjoyable. I would go and see another "Narnia" film, just to know what happens next.
Watch for the "return" of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) and a mouse called Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard). And if you've ever seen the movie "Cronicas," Damian Alcazar has a role as Lord Sopespian.
My grade: B