The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Those lovely little cherubs from war-torn London are back, initially wistfully remembering their time in Narnia and wishing they could return, then, all of a sudden WHOOSH they're sucked back there to save those poor downtrodden Christians... umm, I mean, Narnians from their evil Middle-Eastern... I mean, Telmarine oppressors. The eponymous Prince Caspian is the one who summoned them after their long absence from Narnia: on the run from his uncle who is trying to kill him so that his own son may inherit the throne, Caspian unwittingly encounters some undercover Narnians and is sucked into their world and ultimately their battle to reclaim rightful their place in the world.

The uncomfortable Christian propaganda element is, I'm glad to report, largely played down in this second installment of the series though. Aside from the Telmarines oddly Persian looking helmets and the occasional unsubtle allegory directly transplanted from the novel this movie just comes across as an eye-pleasing children's adventure movie.The battle scenes and mystical creatures are all well crafted (with the exception of one terrible moment in the final battle scene which TOTALLY ruined it for me) and there's enough subterfuge, trickery and open warfare to hold attention off and on through the long two and a half hours. Probably the worst bit of this mundane 'epic' comes at the end when those folk who can't come to terms with living in peace with the Narnians are given the option to leave forever to a new life in a place that they promise will be perfectly nice to live in. If the implication is that it's meant to be our world then convincing these people that London during the blitz is nice is a pretty nasty thing for Lion Jesus to do. What's more there's a whole cheesy goodbye scene and particularly awkward is the moment where Susan gives Prince Caspian the horn. (That's the hunting horn he used to summon them in the first place, in case you misinterpret this as a very very wrong and potentially illegal piece of film.)

Overall there are just too many little problems cropping up again and again in this film to make it enjoyable for such a long period of time. Prince Caspian himself is painted as overly charming and the character downfall of Peter as he approaches adulthood is just too clunky and overdone to be enjoyable or even believable, and the weird sexual tension between Prince Charming and Susan is not only a little bit creepy but largely undeveloped and completely unexplained. It's not a terrible film, many adults and older children will find it perfectly watchable, but it's just that little bit too long and flawed to really inspire.

Official Site
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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