Prince Caspian–Movie Review

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3 StarsThe full title of this movie is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, but nobody is actually going to say that. It’s a sequel to 2005’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardroble and the first thing I should warn you about is that if you haven’t seen that movie, or read the book by C.S. Lewis on which it was based, you shouldn’t bother with the sequel. Prince Caspian jumps right into the action, and without that previous exposure you won’t know what is going on, or who the main characters are, or why you should care what happens to them.

On the other hand, if you saw and liked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (I’m just going to write TLTWTW henceforth) then it’s probably worth seeing the sequel. The spectacular final battle sequence is worth the price of admission by itself.

Still, it’s not as much fun as the original movie. TLTWTW was charming; this is darker and more melancholy. It’s gloomier and more violent. The ending is upbeat but poignant.

The producers are planning to make movies out of all seven of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. I’m skeptical about how well this will work. My impression is that most children read and love The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but few manage to plow through all seven books.

There are several reasons for this. The particular charm of TLTWTW is the thrill of discovering a richly-imagined fantasy world. In the later books we already know about Narnia and there is nothing comparably new and wonderful. The original protagonists, the Pevensies, are phased out by the end of the third book and their replacements are not as engaging. And the later books seem preachier to me, with the religious allegory more heavy-handed.

Of course it’s not inevitable that the movies will share the flaws of their source material, but I’m not too optimistic.