Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I guess I can say that I was less consumed by tedium during the Prince Caspian movie than I was during The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Of course, it could just be that the latest Narnia entry has an hour less of walking trees and ugly creatures getting impaled on spears by masked evil legions. I am not someone who responds well to endless battle scenes between characters that look like bad halloween costumes.

I agree with Dirty Harry (below) that Prince Caspian is a competently executed fantasy movie. Having said that, I am not sure what the point of it is - what it comes down to. But I am almost never sure what is the point of minotaurs and dwarves and evil witches and magic potions. As in the case of the Tolkien-based projects, I never read beyond Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Narnia series. I was too busy reading Perry Mason mysteries and Alistair MacClean WWII espionage adventures when I was ten. Chalk it up to the fact that I wanted to be a lawyer or a spy, when I grew up. And, you know, not a faun.

There is a lot of fighting in Caspian, but there are also a lot of pleasant visuals and engaging actors at whom to stare. The score was variously intrusive and I thought the ending song a mismatch - like bringing in the gang from American Idol to croon over the sacrifice of Abraham scene in a medieval mystery play.

Dialogue was cringe-inducingly bad in several moments. Performances were okay - didn't seem much for the actors to do except fill out the costumes and action sequences. CGI was cool in several parts. And I don't care what others are saying - I thought Aslan was quite loveable even in just his short moments on screen.

Parents might be concerned by a fight scene in the castle courtyard which seemed to me a bit brutal, but other than that, there isn't anything problematic here. I'm not sure kids are going to care though. It isn't real clear whose movie this is among the main characters, and there are a lot of moments in which I was shrugging away the thought, "Who is that guy who killed the king?" and "Where is Lucy going?" and "Why is Peter being an Aslan neglecting idiot after 700 years of life experience in Narnia?"

Basically, I see this latest movie as one being one more proud bearer of the Walden Media hallmark - a mediocre script. Go see it or not. Won't hurt. Won't save anybody either.

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