The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian *** (out of ****)

Director: Andrew Adamson
Writers: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely based on the book by C.S. Lewis
Starring: Ben Barnes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Liam Neeson
Rating: PG (epic battle action and violence)
Running Time: 144 min
Release Date: 5/16/08

The Pevensie children are again transported from World War II Britain to Narnia arriving 1300 years after their first visit. In their absence, Narnia has become a much crueler place as one of the characters points out. It has been conquered by the Telmarines who now rule. Prince Caspian X (Ben Barnes) is the rightful heir to the Telmarine throne but King Miraz has usurped the throne. Prince Caspian has been advised to flee as King Miraz plans to consolidate his power by killing him. His instructor gives him a magic horn to blow in case of real emergency. After he falls from his horse and Miraz’s men are closing on him, he blows it summoning the Pevensie children, i.e. the Kings and Queens of old.

Let’s review. The Pevensie’s who are back to Narnia from their adventures in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are: Older brother and chief King Peter (William Moesley) who is a good with a sword: older sister Susan (Anna Popplewell), who can put a an arrow right through your heart; younger bother Edmund (Skandar Keynes); and younger sister Lucy (Georgie Henley) whose faith in Aslan never wavers. However, with Aslan absent for most of the action our four young nobles are forced to make their own choices. Some of them were less than divinely inspired.

Our four nobles make contact with the Narnians, who have taken refuge from the Telmarine tyranny in the deep forest, after rescuing Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) a small feisty Narnian from a botched execution attempt by a couple of King Miraz’s soldiers. The Narians accept the children as their fabled lords of old after a little sword play between King Peter and Prince Caspian. The balance of the movie is basically a war movie between the Narians and the Telmarines.

We are treaded to a night time commando raid on King Miraz’s castle and a final full scale battle between the two armies. There are swords, cross bows, and rapid file catapults as artillery. We have a talking badger, centaurs, and a sword wielding mouse named Reepicheep. Not to mention a sword battle between King Peter and King Miraz and an appearance of Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) himself in conclusion. The action scenes spare us the gore and given this is a Christian religious allegory the there is no foul language or crude humor.

As these fantasies go the Narnia stories are behind the The Lord of the Rings series and ahead of The Golden Compass, which is the atheist’s entry in the competition. It is nice to see Hollywood giving some attention to the massive values oriented audience of mainstream America for change. I’m sure the rest of the world will appreciate it as well.

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