Well I went to the red carpet premiere in Sydney last night to see this movie. The actors who play Caspian and the eldest boy as well as the director were there for the intro.
As for the movie, well I didn't really like the first Narnia film, and still haven't really read the books since I was a kid. I liked this one a lot better though, even though the story I guess is a bit simpler and less interesting than the first one, I thought it was more enjoyable
It's starts with an intro to Prince Caspian, a human boy who is a member of some Spanish immigrant race that got off the boat in Narnia. And now they have a big kingdom and rule over it. The also hate all the freakish people, like talking animals, midgets, minotaurs, etc and have drove them into hiding.
Caspian is the heir to the throne but at the start his Aunt gives birth to a bouncing baby boy and his Uncle (the baddie) orders his general to kill Caspian, so his son can take the throne. Caspian escapes with help from his teacher dude who also gives him a horn to only use in an extreme emergency. He uses it five minutes later when he falls of his horse and some midgets attack him and take him hostage.
Then the story picks up about the four children of the first story, one year after returning from Narnia where the lived for years as Kings and Queens. Although a brief intro, these guys are obviously having trouble adapting to being kiddies again. Then as Caspian blows the horn they get taken back to Narnia in the subway.
After a while they realise that have been away for a thousand years or so and thankfully those annoying beavers and the weird goatman are dead. They also rescue a ginger dwarf who is getting drowned by some of the evil uncle’s soldiers. I have to say, this dwarf is a good character. He's a sort of guide/comic relief object, but he such a little miserable smart ass. I wish the movie was actually just about him. He's pretty sceptical about how they are the Kings and Queens and he also says Aslan abandoned them soon after they did, telling them about the Spanish dudes and how they are all in hiding. Good work from the actor who plays him, besides the Uncle it’s probably the most quality performance in the movie.
With his help though, they go off and search to see what's going on in Narnia. The youngest girl spots Aslan but no one believes her. But the place where she sees him helps them get across a big gorge thing.
Prince Caspian meanwhile, finds all about the freaks and how they are oppressed etc. He promises if they fight against his uncle, he will be a good king and stop the oppression. So they all follow him to fight the evil uncle.
Then Caspian and the kids meet up and join forces against the uncle. There’s a bit of tension between the eldest boy and Caspian, while he also has a thing for the oldest sister. Without telling too much more of the story they fight against the Uncle’s army but realise Lucy getting Aslan to help them is the only way they can win.
Like I said, I liked this one a bit more than the last one. It had a really good start and engages you, plus they don’t muck around in bits that detract from the tension. The direction is stronger and a lot more exciting. The actors are a bit older and less annoying, and there are less talking animals making wisecracks. (Though there is still a mouse that is a sort of musketeer, that reminded me a bit too much of Puss in Boots from the Shrek movies) The red haired dwarf is cool though, and I like the brief reappearance of the Ice Queen. I also liked that it’s pretty intense. It’s still a bit of a cutesy fantasy, but the kids and creatures have no qualms killing off soldiers, there’s no sort of kid friendly dispatching of foes. They get straight out arrowed or sliced.
This time however I got the concepts in the Narnia series and have realised why I never really liked the first one and ultimately what lost me in the final act of this movie. I know that C.S Lewis was a Christian but I never really have read the books since I was a kid or looked up about the themes of Christianity in his works.
I finally get that Aslan is God. I never really got that in the first one. It makes more sense, in terms of the ideas presented, not that it makes it more understandably. The idea that this Lion seems to go away and let the freaks suffer for thousands of years, until these kids show up, he teaches them a lesson and then saves the day. I mean I get the concept, he’s always there but people lose faith in him and so he says “Screw you guys, try and run this place yourselves.”
But I mean, I thousands of years of oppression seems harsh to just teach some kids and creatures a lesson. I mean he can summon a giant man out of water and make mouses grow back their tails without blinking. And it’s not like he’s far away, he’s just chilling in the jungle. I mean C’mon man. Give them a freebie one time. I guess it reflects my own apprehensions about the Christian idea of God. Maybe I just don’t get it. But I guess understanding the concept more helped me enjoy the actual story, rather than caught up in the how and whys of Aslan, etc.
A good, well told movie overall. I hope it does well because I wouldn’t mind seeing more in the series now. A solid 3 maybe 3 and a half out of five.