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Imagine finding a magical kingdom in another world... only to return over a thousand years later, and find it in ruins.

That's the whole idea of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," a superb sequel to "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." While it has a climax that goes on WAY too long, this movie shows us the darker side of C.S. Lewis' fantastical world -- with a heavy dose of Shakespearean villains, political intrigue, and some spectacularly epic battles.

It's been 1,300 years in Narnia, and the human Telmarines have invaded and driven the native Narnians underground. Aslan hasn't been seen in centuries.

And when King Miraz's (Sergio Castellitto) wife gives birth to a baby boy, his nephew -- the rightful heir -- becomes an obstacle. Young Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) flees from his treacherous uncle, and is discovered by a band of Narnians. Along the way, he accidentally ends up summoning the ancient Kings and Queens of Narnia -- also known as the Pevensie children, who were waiting at a train station when they were unexpectedly sucked trough a tunnel.

Though initially delighted to have returned to Narnia, the Pevensies are horrified when they find that their once-idyllic land has been nearly destroyed. Caspian has been organizing a ramshackle army of native Narnians, but Peter (William Moseley) finds that fighting an organized, armed force is very different from battling the White Witch. And after a disastrous attack, the Narnians are facing almost certain destruction -- but Lucy (Georgie Henley) is convinced that Aslan can somehow save them, and restore the kingdom to Prince Caspian....

"Prince Caspian" is definitely a darker story than its predecessor -- good guys die, coups fail, evil machinations succeed, the castles are grimy, some of the good guys turn bad for real, and a bleak, hopeless feeling suffuses much of the movie's second half. Even our heroes have to deal with their doubts and anger, especially since Aslan is conspicuously absent for 95% of the entire film.

And if the first film was a colorful fantasy adventure, then this one is a military story with all the necessary action trappings -- spectacular aerial drops, castle-wide massacres, and a spectacular finale involving a massive pit, tree roots, a river, and catapults. But Adamson also packs in as much violence as a PG-rated movie can contain -- while there's only a few drops of actual gore, there's plenty of beheadings, shootings and stabbings.

But Narnia itself has lost none of its charm, and Adamson lingers lovingly on the sunlit forests and quiet rivers for as long as he can. And though the story is grim, he sprinkles it with plenty of humor (the bound-and-gagged cat) and fairly snappy dialogue. One of the most spectacular scenes involves a very familiar character speaking from inside a sheet of shimmering ice, as Caspian is dragged into a necromancer's ritual. It's really rather creepy.

Problems with the movie? Well, the climactic battle drags on for a LONG time, and every time you think it'll end, it revs back up. And those masked soldiers are a wee bit too reminiscent of "300's" Persians.

The four Pevensie actors all do solid jobs, although William Moseley is the standout -- Peter is struggling with doubt and a bit of alpha rivalry, especially since he's used to being Narnia's top dog. Barnes starts off a little stiffly -- come on, where's the fear when you see your bed turned into a pincushion? -- but soon grows into the difficult role of a Hamlet-like prince who is struggling to become both a Narnian friend and a Telmarine king.

But there's a pretty brilliant supporting cast as well: Castellitto is simply outstanding as the ruthless, icy-cold Miraz, as are Damián Alcázar and Pierfrancesco Favino as his scheming advisors. Warwick Davis does a low-key, malevolent turn as Nikabrik, while Peter Dinklage is the likably brusque, cynical Trumpkin. And Eddie Izzard is top-notch as the mousy swashbuckler Reepicheep -- this could have a silly, comic-relief character, but he does end up being both adorable and formidable.

There are going to be two versions of the "Prince Caspian" release in either blu ray or regular versions. The more embellish DVD version basically has the film, plus an extra bonus disc with the stuff you'd expect in such a movie: bloopers, deleted scenes, and a series of featurettes about the making of the movie -- previsualization, fight choreography, sets, special effects, and the guys who play the dwarves Trumpkin and Nikabrik. As for the third disk, it's going to be a downloadable digital version of the movie.

"Prince Caspian" drops the children's fantasy feeling, in favor of a darker, more militaristic story -- especially with all that father-murder stuff. But despite its darker overtones, it never forgets the light side.
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on November 25, 2008
In the very slim chance that Disney reads these reviews, I'd like to pile on to other criticisms in the hope that the Dawn Treader doesn't make the same mistakes. As a huge C.S. Lewis and Narnia fan, I was so disappointed in Caspian. Same reasons as many other reviewers: too many unnecessary liberties taken; little dialogue, so very little way to connect with and enjoy the characters; too grim; etc. At the end of the movie, I felt like I didn't get to spend any time with the characters b/c most of the movie was some sort of battle.

Sure, there were a few good things. Reepicheep was great; so was the DLF. The scenery and landscapes were beautiful. Some of the battles (or parts of battles) were enjoyable and had a sense of honor and bravery. But that's about it. Caspian was okay, a little boring. The posturing between Peter and Caspian was silly, as was the flicker of romance between Caspian and Susan. Not enough of Aslan. Not enough of Lucy. No lessons. Nothing anywhere near the charm of Mr. Tumnus.

You know how at the end of some movies (good ones) you have that feeling like you want more of a good thing? You wish the movie would go on and on? (That's why I ripped through all the Narnia books in the first place.) Well, after watching Caspian, I had a feeling of wanting more of what I knew existed in the book but didn't come through in the movie...it was a yearning for what could have been instead of what was delivered. It was a huge disappointment and a real shame. And I truly hope the Dawn Treader can deliver what the first movie did, and what the books all do....a real connection to the characters and a reason to start thinking about what it means to believe in something and to stand up for your beliefs. I don't think that notion is incompatible with making a block-buster of a movie.
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2008
"Prince Caspian," the second installment in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, takes place one year AND 1,300 years after "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." The Kings and Queens of Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, have only been absent from their kingdom for one year in London time. However, when they are suddenly called back to the magical world, they discover that 1,300 years have passed since their reign. The Narnia they knew is now in ruins, and the throne rightfully belongs to the young Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes). Unfortunately, Caspian is on the run from his uncle Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), who is determined to kill his nephew, take the throne for himself, and secure a royal future for his newborn son. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy eventually join forces with Caspian and attempt to reclaim the throne and restore Narnia to what it once was.

I enjoyed this movie, but not nearly as much as the first film in the series. Part of the reason for that is because "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" has always been my favorite book in the C.S. Lewis series, so I knew "Prince Caspian" wouldn't measure up for me. However, I still think the film itself had some shortcomings. The filmmakers took more liberties with this film than with the last one. Certain things happen out of sequence, and other parts of the film were changed slightly just for the sake of changing them, which really bothers me. Also, the whole Susan/Caspian romance is NOT in the book, and it really pisses me off that Disney felt the need to throw some cheesy love story into the mix of things. (I also hated the sappy, crappy music that played at the end of the film. It was totally out of place. Yuck.)

Still, there are a lot of positive things about the movie as well. The battle scenes are fantastic and the special effects are outstanding. Barnes and Castellitto are the stars of this movie, and they deliver very strong performances. Eddie Izzard provided the voice for Reepicheep the mouse, which was a pleasant surprise. One of my favorite scenes in the film is the one where the White Witch returns for a few minutes, and Tilda Swinton appears in a brief cameo. Liam Neeson also returns to provide the voice of Aslan, but the lion is absent from most of the film, and I remember him being present in the book a bit more...why in the world would they cut Aslan's scenes from the film?! He's the best part of the whole story!

All things considered, "Prince Caspian" is a good movie, but it lacks some of the magic from the first "Narnia" film. Bummer.
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on July 10, 2009
I first watched Prince Caspian in theaters after a long wait, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have bought it on DVD and have watched it a couple of times since. I thought that it was a very good film.

Until I actually read the book.

I could spend a lot of time explaining the differences between the book and the film. But you are here to see it brief:

1. Book: Lucy sees Aslan and the crew votes to see if she is right. Later she sees him again at night and convinces her companions to follow him.
Movie: Lucy sees Aslan and her companions dismiss it entirely. Later she sees him in the morning and it ends up being a dream.

2. Book: Caspian and Peter get along fine.
Movie: Caspian and Peter argue a lot.

3. Book: No hint anywhere of a castle raid.
Movie: Big castle raid and lots of Narnians are killed.

4. Book: Caspian and Susan never have a hint of romance.
Movie: Susan gets all googly-eyed over Caspian.

5. Book: Peter is the high king and acts like it. He is not proud and does not make decisions rashly.
Movie: Peter is the high king and acts clueless, including getting in a fight at the railway station. He is proud, and makes decisions rashly.

Those are only five of the betrayals. There are a lot more that I could mention. I honestly don't know how they made this twisted story line come out right. The special effects are wonderful, though. Lots of good special effects and lots of money poured into it, when all that you get is a movie with the same character names and no following of the book.

To future Narnia film makers: Keep the cast and special effects, but make it as true to the book as the first Narnia film was. Oh, and think about remaking Prince Caspian.

To those considering buying this movie: Don't waste your hard-earned money on this betrayal; read the book instead.
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One year in England is equal to 1300 Narnian years, and after giving up their thrones and getting back to the school grind, the Pevensies are magically transported back to a Narnia that is unrecognizable to the place they had left just one year earlier

They arrive at the ruins of their former castle Cair Paravel, and find that the chests containing their personal effects and weapons still remain, hidden beyond a secret door. After a fortuitous rescue of the dwarf Trumpkin, they eventually make their way to Aslan's How, a tomb built around the sacrificial stone table of movie one.

While all this is going on, the Telmarine Prince Caspian is having a few domestic problems after his Uncle Miraz sires a son and heir, and decides that two princes spoil the plot. Assisted by his tutor, Caspian finds his way into the woods, where he meets the Narnians, long thought to be extinct.

As you will have guessed, the Prince and the Pevensies join forces with the Narnians to oppose the heavily armed and armored Telmarine forces, and the majority of the movie revolves around the epic battles and skirmishes. Also in the movie, but played down to an extent, is the religious symbolism of the lion Aslan, and the simple faith of the youngest child, Lucy. The characters of Peter and Susan are left to learn from their mistakes, and Edmund finally comes into his own.

I found the movie to be dark and somewhat violent, and even though there's no blood visibly shed on screen, it's pretty obvious that many characters die in one way or another. Personally I have no problem with that, but I'd consider the level of maturity of a child before allowing them to watch this movie.

Mostly faithful to the book, this movie is all about the action.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. One year of school can feel like 1300 years in Narnia
2. Absence makes the Telmarines grow stronger
3. A king is born - time to get rid of the competition
4. Caspian - out!
5. The woods are lonely, dark and deep, and Caspian makes promises he wants to keep
6. Pevensies take the long road home, after not believing Lucy's lion
7. Caspian meets the Pevensies
8. Inter-species and human violence ensues
9. Epic battle scenes dominate the movie
10. Grand finale and a new beginning

Amanda Richards, May 24, 2008
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on November 25, 2008
Warning you up front there may be what people would consider a spoiler or two within this review.

After watching the original movie, "the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," I had high expectations for the movie. Especially after I read the book and saw how well they had adapted it into movie form. I even went out and bought the entire Narnian series so that I could read the story before hand and have an idea of the movie plot.
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...
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What happened? It was as though they took the characters and a few chunks of the story and slapped it together in hopes of making a decent movie. And let me tell you, they failed, quite miserably. The way that they changed important pieces of the plot frustrated me, while other story lines were nearly left out altogether (For instance, they only hint at the part of the book where Lucy sees Aslan and eventually follows him despite the others protest. Then one-by-one the others begin to see him. I have always thought that to be one of the more significant plots of Prince Caspian). And then, then they add senseless plots like when they decided to invade the castle. Though admittedly Peter did "need" that part of the movie to wake him up.

Which brings me to the other major part of the movie that just annoyed me to no end. They made Peter an absolute jerk. He and Caspian were never rivals, and Peter NEVER had any intent to take over/rule/or give orders to Caspian. He essentially saw Caspian as the leader because he would be once they won the battle. Oh, and don't get me started on that ridiculous "potential romance" thing they had between Susan and Caspian (how was that even remotely necessary?)

There were few redeeming qualities of this movie, but they still did exist. I did like the fact that when the witch was summoned (though this technically never happened)Edwin was the one to "destroy" her. It was a nice touch of irony. And then there was the rat and dwarf, who's names escaped me at the moment, which made the movie bearable to sit through. And, that's about it.

I might have enjoyed this movie had I not read the book in advance, but I'll never know. I guess if you haven't read the actual story then you could potentially think it once of the best movies of all time. But I definitely would not recommend this to someone who read and loved the book, it'll probably annoy you just as much as it annoyed me.

I'd also like to note something else - I saw this movie twice. This was only because I was giving it the benefit of the doubt. I thought that perhaps going in a second time without those high expectations would make the movie more enjoyable. Sadly, it did not.
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VINE VOICEon May 20, 2008
There are probably two camps who will be interested in this `Narnia' sequel: Those who have read the C.S. Lewis allegorical fantasy series, and those who have not, but loved The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Full Screen Edition).

To be brief, our inquisitive British children return to `Narnia' caught in a time warp that finds it in ruins and its remaining citizens dispirited and scattered. Their enemies, the Telmarines,' have a new heir born to the throne while Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) flees for his life. Treachery is doled out in `Hamlet' proportions, as Prince Caspian must choose sides and the children try to rebuild 'Narnia'.

Compared to 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,' 'Prince Caspian' has its ups and downs:

1. Action scenes are up, but the charm factor is down. (Charm is diminished for a more harrowing adventure.)

2. The Pevensies (same actors) have grown older. In cinematic years about two and a half years; by centuries in `Narnia` years. The audience is older, too, and that's what they were probably aimin' for.

3. Both villains deliver a real menace. Tilda Swinton reprises her role (albeit very briefly) while seasoned actor Sergio Castellitto plays the formidable bad guy, King Miraz, head of the Telamarines.

4. Talking beavers are traded for talking badgers. Wiley wolves are exchanged for ferocious bears.

5. Mr. Tumnus is replaced by Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) and, besides Sergio, the best new stars are the swashbuckling mice with swords.

The combat scenes are formidable. They can't be dismissed as merely `Lord of the Ring' leftovers (although there's some correlation.) Some will find it all too familiar, but it remains true to the book with a tension the first movie sometimes lacked, but none of the enhanced blur when Peter merely raised his sword as his army goes past. (Undoubtedly, some will take the chicken or the hen approach, but, in all fairness, if you've seen it all before digitally, you may complain of excessive repetition despite the copyright dates of both Tolkien's and Lewis's works.)

Either way most will agree it's hard to get tired of New Zealand. If that's not a real life `Narnia,' then nothing is.

Overall, `Prince Caspian' is an exciting, yet imperfect recreation in the `Narnia' series. While director/ and screenplay co-author, Adam Adamson, has honed the adventure's timing admirably, the letdown happens only with what has been left behind.
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on May 14, 2009
There are so many departures from the story the book tells.. I won't even bother to list them.. I suppose there are some who might enjoy the movie but having read the book first I was thoroughly disappointed. The makers of this movie vainly attempt to spice up a great story with everything the story is not. They try to make a war movie out a book with only one battle scene.. they try to add a romantic twist to a story without any romance at all. As a Christian there are sweet elements of this classic story that are so muddled by all the additional fluff in the movie as to make it completely worthless. If you are interested in the movie because you loved the book, you are looking in the wrong place. You won't find much of anything resembling the book in this movie. I purchased this movie against the recommendations of reviewers like those found here.. Don't make the same mistake.. Pass on this one.
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on November 26, 2010
The movie captures the look and feel of Narnia and many scenes are beautifully blocked and filmed. However, the movie's creators tampered too much with the actual story. This is a flaw not because they "should" or "must" copy the books exactly;we all recognize that some creativity may be required to retell a book's story as a smashingly good movie. This, they failed to do. The ridiculous attempt at a love story between Susan and the Prince was embarassing. And turning Miraz the usurper into the first acceptor of the new land was totally unnecessary and ineffective. News flash: There is a reason these stories have stood the test of time and been read and re-read by children and adults, generation after generation-- they are good stories! Don't mess with them unless it's absolutely necessary and is done effectively.
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Imagine finding a magical kingdom in another world... only to return over a thousand years later, and find it in ruins.

That's the whole idea of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," a superb sequel to "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." While it has a climax that goes on WAY too long, this movie shows us the darker side of C.S. Lewis' fantastical world -- with a heavy dose of Shakespearean villains, political intrigue, and some spectacularly epic battles.

It's been 1,300 years in Narnia, and the human Telmarines have invaded and driven the native Narnians underground. Aslan hasn't been seen in centuries.

And when King Miraz's (Sergio Castellitto) wife gives birth to a baby boy, his nephew -- the rightful heir -- becomes an obstacle. Young Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) flees from his treacherous uncle, and is discovered by a band of Narnians. Along the way, he accidentally ends up summoning the ancient Kings and Queens of Narnia -- also known as the Pevensie children, who were waiting at a train station when they were unexpectedly sucked trough a tunnel.

Though initially delighted to have returned to Narnia, the Pevensies are horrified when they find that their once-idyllic land has been nearly destroyed. Caspian has been organizing a ramshackle army of native Narnians, but Peter (William Moseley) finds that fighting an organized, armed force is very different from battling the White Witch. And after a disastrous attack, the Narnians are facing almost certain destruction -- but Lucy (Georgie Henley) is convinced that Aslan can somehow save them, and restore the kingdom to Prince Caspian....

"Prince Caspian" is definitely a darker story than its predecessor -- good guys die, coups fail, evil machinations succeed, the castles are grimy, some of the good guys turn bad for real, and a bleak, hopeless feeling suffuses much of the movie's second half. Even our heroes have to deal with their doubts and anger, especially since Aslan is conspicuously absent for 95% of the entire film.

And if the first film was a colorful fantasy adventure, then this one is a military story with all the necessary action trappings -- spectacular aerial drops, castle-wide massacres, and a spectacular finale involving a massive pit, tree roots, a river, and catapults. But Adamson also packs in as much violence as a PG-rated movie can contain -- while there's only a few drops of actual gore, there's plenty of beheadings, shootings and stabbings.

But Narnia itself has lost none of its charm, and Adamson lingers lovingly on the sunlit forests and quiet rivers for as long as he can. And though the story is grim, he sprinkles it with plenty of humor (the bound-and-gagged cat) and fairly snappy dialogue. One of the most spectacular scenes involves a very familiar character speaking from inside a sheet of shimmering ice, as Caspian is dragged into a necromancer's ritual. It's really rather creepy.

Problems with the movie? Well, the climactic battle drags on for a LONG time, and every time you think it'll end, it revs back up. And those masked soldiers are a wee bit too reminiscent of "300's" Persians.

The four Pevensie actors all do solid jobs, although William Moseley is the standout -- Peter is struggling with doubt and a bit of alpha rivalry, especially since he's used to being Narnia's top dog. Barnes starts off a little stiffly -- come on, where's the fear when you see your bed turned into a pincushion? -- but soon grows into the difficult role of a Hamlet-like prince who is struggling to become both a Narnian friend and a Telmarine king.

But there's a pretty brilliant supporting cast as well: Castellitto is simply outstanding as the ruthless, icy-cold Miraz, as are Damián Alcázar and Pierfrancesco Favino as his scheming advisors. Warwick Davis does a low-key, malevolent turn as Nikabrik, while Peter Dinklage is the likably brusque, cynical Trumpkin. And Eddie Izzard is top-notch as the mousy swashbuckler Reepicheep -- this could have a silly, comic-relief character, but he does end up being both adorable and formidable.

There are going to be two embellished versions of the "Prince Caspian" blu-ray release, and the more bare-bones version basically has the film, plus an extra bonus disc with the stuff you'd expect in such a movie: bloopers, deleted scenes, and a series of featurettes about the making of the movie -- previsualization, fight choreography, sets, special effects, and the guys who play the dwarves Trumpkin and Nikabrik.

"Prince Caspian" drops the children's fantasy feeling, in favor of a darker, more militaristic story -- especially with all that father-murder stuff. But despite its darker overtones, it never forgets the light side.
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