Review: The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Published 7 years ago by

Short version: Prince Caspian is much better than the first Narnia film.

prince caspian review Review: The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Let’s get straight to the point: If you liked the first Chronicles of Narnia movie, you’ll like this one even better. For some reason I never wrote a review of the first one, but if I had I probably would have given it about , a full point lower than Prince Caspian.

On the other hand, if you’re a big fan of the book upon which this film is based, you’re going to be torn because it deviates heavily from that story. I wouldn’t have known that myself, but my daughter re-read the book just recently and found herself pulled in two directions regarding the movie. On its own she thought it was very good, but she was perturbed over the inclusion of entire sequences that never appeared in the book while parts of the original story were completely absent from the film.

Prince Caspian starts right off with a much darker feel than the last film, actually reminding me of a Harry Potter film with the dark castle environment. We witness (in PG fashion) the birth of a child and the announcement to the father (who appears to be in a king, but isn’t quite) that he has a son.

The nature of this lord (not a king) becomes immediately apparent when he orders the execution of prince Caspian, who is only saved with the help of his long time professor. Caspian is sent into the woods which legend (and superstition) says is populated by all kinds of scary creatures. Eventually Caspian runs into some denizens of Nania, long thought extinct and calls upon “the kings of old” for help.

Of course the kings of old turn out not to be very old at all but are out intrepid young ‘uns from the first film. Peter, the oldest is not happy that they’ve been away from Narnia for a year and has not adjusted well to life here in the real world. If you recall they lived an entire lifetime in Narnia during the first film and returned at their original ages. Meanwhile Susan, next oldest, is just trying to come to terms with the fact that they’ll never return to Narnia and get on with her life.

Once they return they slowly discover that over 1,000 years have passed since they left and things have (obviously) changed dramatically. Unknown to them it will be their task to bring Narnia out of hiding and back to a flourishing civilization.

I thought that Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian did an OK job in the role… adequate, but nothing to write home about. I think the star of the group of four heroes is 12 year old (but much younger looking) Georgie Henley as Lucy. For me the weak point is the most important character, Peter. I feel like there’s just something a bit to “vanilla” about William Moseley’s performance which takes away from the film. I will say I thought he was more believable and engaging than he was in the last movie, however.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters, topped by Peter Dinklage as the diminutive Trumpkin. He’s a little guy with a very commanding presence and that’s tough to pull off. I also thought Predrag Bjelac played a great villian as Lord Donnon.

For some folks the film may move a bit slow at times, but I thought it was fine – really a lot of character development/growth in this one, and the final battle sequence is really damned cool. On a side note, as I’ve seen expressed on other sites I was surprised that this received a PG rating. I think it pushed it pretty hard for PG, but despite all the sword fights and battles not a drop of blood (OK, maybe a small cut here and there) was to be seen.

All in all I thought it was quite good, but not stellar. A big improvement over the first and well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the first one and/or a parent looking for a grand adventure film you can bring the kids to.

We’ll have to see if it does well enough to guarantee another film based on the book series by C.S. Lewis.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

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  1. Looks like Caspian has sputtered out of the gate with first weekend BO at approximately 57 million..that’s a lot less than the first flick especially when adjusted for inflation. I think we may have seen the end of the Narnia franchise although it’s overseas BO tally may take some of the sting out of this but I think Disney will be done with this franchise..They were predicting 75-90 million weekend and it’s no where close to that. It’s certainly not going to make anything near what the first movie made in total at least not this side of the pond.

  2. “that’s a lot less than the first flick especially when adjusted for inflation.”

    Yeah, but this one also doesn’t seem to have been promoted as heavily as the first one, either. I have yet to see a single advertisement outside the theatres, and I haven’t heard any news coverage of a push by religious groups to support this movie. Whether that last has more to do with the media being too focused on the Presidential campaign this year, or because the religious groups aren’t pushing this one as heavily I don’t know.

    All I do know is I haven’t heard nearly as much about this one as I did about the first, and if that holds true for others, it may be impacting it’s performance.

  3. Faith groups are NOT endorsing this movie. Not for families (kids) anyway. It’s more of a Lord of the Rings fare, for older boys and men.


    This is a darker movie, from the first scream of labor to the many battle scenes. The charm and magic and wonder are mostly back-ended to the finale. It may be virtually bloodless, but it’s all about hand to hand fights and soldiers. There is far less about spells and enchantments. Not a child’s movie, not very much a girl’s movie. It’s losing grace is that it doesn’t REALLY introduce many of the new characters. At least that was my feeling.

  4. It’s not being pushed as much by religious groups because it doesn’t have the religious undertones of the first movie..they are there but no where near as dramatic..If we want to see more let’s hope it’s got the legs..Indiana Jones is not generating great buzz according to critics so far who it was screened for at Cannes so maybe Caspian will have good legs..It’s going to need for a movie that cost 180-200 million to make without P+A budget..

  5. Here’s what I liked about Caspian.

    Visually it’s more exciting than the first, but the story was more rah-rah than other-worldly. There were moments of magic, mostly involving Lucy–that reached my spiritual/sentimental side.

    I definitely liked that the silly fauns from the first movie were shown as nimble climbers and fighters during battle! I liked that the minotaurs, bulls, etc. were in the foreground more and not just like Star Wars Aliens, somewhere in the background as eye candy. There were moments of CGI that didn’t take me out as being CGI (i.e., the tree petals).

    Reepicheep (the Klingon mouse) caught the braggadocio of the character very well. I liked the running joke about Reep’s secret identity. It’s great to know that this memorable character will be/would be around for a third, more magical installment. I would have liked to “know” the badger and other Narnians better, and also Caspian’s professor, who is prominent in the book.

  6. Here’s what I didn’t care for about Caspian.

    The movie reflects Prince Caspian being the most boring book of the series.

    The magic and wonder is mostly back-ended. Also, it seems sillier here than in the first installment, that child actors are handling swords and formulating battle strategy.

    My major problem is the moral dilemmas that are not clear. Fuzzy conflicts with blurry resolutions. Two examples-

    There is no real lesson in Peter’s foolish self-reliance throughout the story. He grabs control of plans and strategies that utterly, bloodily fail. At the end he should have had scores of souls on his conscience–but the only fallout is a childish squabble with Caspian.

    Caspian’s attraction and half-hearted resistance to dark power was the weakest scene in the movie. It totally lacked context! There was no indication that he was desparate for power. Also, Nikibrik and his doubts were not developed. The Pevensie’s last-minute save was as contrived as the rest of the scene. All of it sudden and melodramatic. We missed a chance to ramp up for authentic inner struggle. In fact the grief over losing the castle could have propelled Caspian to thoughts of power.
    Caspi, get your emo on! Speed racer had more angst about spinning out than you show! Think Luke grappling with who his father was, Obi Wan’s betrayal, and the invitation to join the dark side!

  7. I haven’t seen this film or even the first, so won’t comment on how good they are, but they don’t appeal to me the same way the Lord of the Rings movies did. Those I couldn’t wait for.

    On the other hand, I know someone who loves the books and has been waiting for this movie for some time. She went to see it yesterday and loved it. A few remarks, but on the whole she came away very happy.

  8. 790 I don’t agree because the cost of these films are enormous and viable franchises aren’t as plentiful as they were ten years ago. The Spiderwick Chronicles failed,The Seeker failed,Eragon failed domestically. The LOTR returns with two Hobbit movies (can’t frickin’ wait!!) and that’s all that is really out there in the fantasy genre of quality Even the Hobbit films aren’t a surefire without Jackson directing. I don’t think studios want to take the risk in the fantasy genre..too expensive ..these types of movies are cyclical and they will be back in vogue again..but not for now..I really think the genre has run its course for now.

  9. So Jimmy your saying that the acting was a little sub-par and that Speed Racer showed more emotion. Hahaaaa.

    Hey GreenKnight333, even if Disney did end this franchise, another LOTR clone would just rise up and fill the void.

    I fricken hate these films.

  10. I think it is much better then the first film .
    I only had one problem with it.
    evey time i saw Miras and the telmarine army,
    I thought “Here comes Cortez and the Conquistadors”.

  11. This movie was surprisingly VERY good especially considering I hated the first one.

    It was much darker and better written and better acted then the first one. The only bad part of this movie is the older sister and every time they put her on screen…nice facial expressions…not


  12. Just for the record,
    There WILL be at leat one more narnia film.
    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is still slated for 2010.
    And I read that TODAY!

  13. Well, if they keep loosing money on this genre why do they keep pumping them out?

    There’s been at least 1 fantasy genre film a year since the last LOTR or Harry Potter films.
    The next Harry Potter will only propell the next Narnia. And the same with the Hobbit franchise.

    So far Nards is tracking to make around 50 mil. The film will break even worldwide and that’s all Disney needs to keep the Narnia machine going. Don’t forget that sales of toys and dvds will be in the hundred millions.
    Disney alone can easily handle a bomb better that say New Line….
    These films are self propelling machines. They remind me of a free-energy device (once you turn it on, it can’t be stopped)…..»

    Such mindless entertainment.
    Good vs Evil taken to a new low. I bet that talking Lion has the worst breath. ;-«

  14. Another thing your going to see more of is 3D films.
    The studios are planning a lot of 3D animated films next year. And if there successful expect to see alot more Fantasy films in 3D.

  15. 790 The Golden Compass flattened the studio that used to be New Line… and they made billions on LOTR … trust me that was a huge wake up call for the studios..they took notice… The LOTR and the Hobbit have 70 years of readership and such a large built in fanbase that they and the LOTR films are the exception and not the rule..Potter doesn’t count because they managed to build a rabid fan base in the 10-15 years since the first book was made..Check and see how many fantasy films are in the works right now..not many if any besides the Hobbit.Potter will run it’s course and I was never a fan of it anyhoo. Also LOTR started the fantasy genre as it is now known..the original is still the best and all the rest pale in comparison. The 3D format can’t save the genre either. It’s about quality and not how you view it. If that was the case IMAX would be everywhere because that is the best way to see a movie right now.There are very few IMAX theaters.Quality not quantity wins the day..IMHO

  16. One fantasy film a year does not mean the genre is thriving or maintaining itself (definitely not a perpetual motion machine like you are stating)…The one film a year has been unsuccessful financially.. Just because Warner Brothers has had enormous success with the Potter films doesn’t mean the other major studios are looking to make more magician films.As far as I know there is nothing like Potter on the horizon for any other’s the exception..

  17. What I want to know is when is someone going to remake Krull?
    I love that movie, but hey, if a movie could do with a new version it is that one.

    Each to their fate! :D

  18. I liked Krull too and would love to see a remake.

    OK, my 2 cents about Prince Caspian; I liked this one more than the first. There’s not much more I can add to the conversation above except that a couple of scenes reminded me of LOTR, especially the river and the trees. I agree with Vic’s assessment and your $7.50 will be well spent.

  19. I just got home from seeing this movie and I was totally entertained by this film. MUCH better than the first film. I thought the acting was better, the story was better, the action was better and the CGI was better. I liked the bits of humor thrown in here and there. This movie was MUCH darker than the first, but deservedly so. Usurping a throne can’t be portrayed lightly, now can it?? I’ll definitely be seeing the 3rd installment when it comes out. I’m gonna wait to buy the box set, though….I give it 4 out of 5 as well, Vic.

    790, how can you comment on a film if you haven’t seen it??

    As for the Golden Compass, I saw it on a flight and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I wish they would make the second part just to finish the story off.

  20. Yeah well GreenKnight333, I think I hate fantasy films more than you. dosnt change the probable fact that there gonna make more.

    Personally i can’t stand IMAX.
    I can see fine, the image dosnt need to be that big. ;-)

  21. If you know of a way to make them stop im right there with ya.

  22. The next one will be family fare again. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader–a quest movie with Reepicheep the Klingon mouse, a new colorful (loathsome) addition to the child cast, and a number of island and sea adventures. Some humor and again, lots of symbol and magic especially at the end. That will reset the movie franchise. The Silver Chair will make an interesting movie as well. Disney should send A Horse and His Boy straight-to DVD release, maybe rendered in animation.

  23. Andy, if you go back and read my comments you’ll see that my comments are aimed more at the Fantasy franchise.
    I have seen 10 min of Golden Compass and about 30 min of the first Price Narnia. I hated every second of it.

  24. Jimmy the C,
    What about the Lion with bad breath? ;-)

  25. The interesting thing about this series, and maybe the benefit of it, is that the stars change, so that in the next movie, unless they deviate from the book, Peter and Susan won’t be in it. Choosing Eustace will be quite a significant decision in the long run, more than the first four.
    Love to know how and when they will fit the Magician’s Nephew into it.

  26. What was the deal with the modern nasty sappy song at the end. That completely took me out of the atmostphere before the movie was over I hated it.

  27. 790 I don’t hate the fantasy genre..I think celluloid is the perfect medium for fantasy films..They have to be done right though and just because a fantasy movie has lots of great effects doesn’t portend to a great final product. I look to Eragon as an example of this..good effects but not a good movie…I don’t think that Del Torro will do as good a job as Peter Jackson with the Hobbit films but I am hoping still that they will be great..Jackson will write and executive produce so he will still have a large amount of control over how it is going to be made. The genre is great but not a lot of the fantasy movies coming out right now are reflective of the potential of the genre..I LOVED THE LOTR MOVIES!!!!

  28. OMG OMG If you hated Golden Compass you have to watch this.

  29. Oh sorry Greenknight333,
    (IMO), pretty much all the fantasy films past LOTR are just aweful.

    And the Potter series,, well I won’t go there.

    The few minutes of Golden Compass I saw allmost drove me out of the video store it was playing in.