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:: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The adventures of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia continue with Prince Caspian. The film sees the four Pevensie children (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell) return to the magical land of Narnia. Yet while 1 year has passed for the Pevensie children, it has been 1300 years for Narnia, which has succumbed to the rule of the Telmarine kingdom.

The children were summoned by the rightful heir to the Telmarine throne Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), who has been living in exile after his treacherous Uncle, General Miraz (Sergio Castellitio) attempted to kill him. Along with the Penvensie children, the Prince rallies the survivors of Narnia for an uprising against his tyrant uncle. With Italian actor Castellitio and other Mediterranean / Arabic actors cast in villainous roles, the evil Telmarine’s come across as a mix of the Taliban and the Spanish Catholic Church circa late 1400’s. In turn, Ben Barnes becomes the most Anglo Latino seen on film in recent memory with an accent that could make Ricky Ricardo blush. That being said, there is a lot to like about …Prince Caspian. First off is the choice New Zealand location which has been used for exterior shots, and captured magnificently by director of photography Karl Walter Lindenlaub. European haunts Prague, Slovenia, and Poland was chosen for interior scenes. Accompanying the striking imagery is a boastful score by Harry Gregson-Williams.

The film also features impressive visual effects, as various mythological and natural creatures are convincingly brought to life by the joint efforts of the Moving Picture Company, Framestone CFC, and Weta Digital. Following the general rule of thumb, Prince Caspian is much darker and mature compared to its previous effort. There are several terrifically tense scenes bound to scare the kiddies, as well as plenty of PG violence in well choreographed and shot action sequences.

Unfortunately, many of the books religious themes have been stripped away considerably, not doubt in a move not to “offend” those in our ultra-sensitive, secular times. In turn, character development is virtually non-existent, as Lewis’ themes of good and evil, temptation and faith, are merely a footnote in this film. However as far as fantasy films go, Prince Caspian is a valid addition to the popular genre.