Rated 3 stars: Rated 2 stars for fans of the book

 

{mosimage}Prince Caspian (147 minutes), why weren’t you awesome? The first big budget adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ epic Christian allegory, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, started the franchise off slow, making no substantial box office impact. Even so, in the first movie, director Adamson got more right than he got wrong╔little details different from the source material actually added to the impact of the first movie.  Sadly, in this sequel, the touches are not little.  Moreover, when director Adamson (who also co-wrote) veers from the novel, he makes several horrible missteps. He mixes up the chronology of events, he inserts romantic subplots and inexplicable pop music, in short, he defaced a fantast classic in the name of crass commercialism. Despite my lasting and eternal love for Shrek, I now find him utterly, utterly useless. Bad Andrew Adamson. No Cookie for You!  

The Pevensie children - Peter (William Mosely), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) are drawn from our world into Narnia while waiting to catch a train. Once there, they meet the captured dwarf Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) and journey with him to the encampment of Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes). Once there, the children learn that Caspian’s Uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) seeks to usurp the throne. They pledge to help him defeat Miraz and restore Narnia to non-human creatures that Miraz drove into hiding. Caspian’s supporters include Glenstorm the Centaur (Cornell John), Trufflehunter the Badger (Ken Stott), Reepicheep the Mouse (Eddie Izzard), and of course, Aslan (Liam Neeson). The Narnians make their final stand during a single combat between High King Peter and the usurper Miraz, and the Second Battle of Beruna commences.      

So that doesn’t sound so bad╔and its not. For those unfamiliar with the source material, the second adaptation is a decent follow-up to the first, with lots of action; some wonderfully realized animated characters and an epic scope. Susan even gets an active role in battle, with a strong focus given to her unparalleled archery skills. In fact, this is the only alteration to the story truly justified, in the sense that it is important to show girls a young, skilled woman in a leadership role. Of course, any benefit derived from allowing Susan an active role in fighting for a righteous case is immediately lost through the forced romantic subplot that has her gazing in rapt adoration at Caspian while uttering such inanities as, “Keep it [a magic horn]. You might need to call me again.” 

Admittedly, some of the alterations probably stemmed from the commercial need to begin the movie with some action, rather than lingering on the childhood and education of Prince Caspian. Unfortunately, most of what got left out included the bits that established the character of Prince Caspian. So, his character is drained of his youth and appeal before we get anywhere with the plot. In fact, in what passes for character development, Peter and Caspian spend most of the movie sniping at each other about military tactics, engaging in battles amidst soap-opera style revelations. And glaringly absent, some of the best writing in the book╔in this version, Aslan does not take Lucy and Susan on a ramble through the blighted Narnia, waking the wood spirits, restoring wildness to the land and rescuing the persecuted. This is one of my favorite books, and you overcooked it. Shame on you Andrew Adamson.

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