May 22, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

When I was a kid, my dad read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series to me and my brother. Each night, once we were ready for bed, we would sit in our p.j.s and my dad would read a chapter (or so) from the books. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. I’ve re-read the series a couple times since then, and the stories all have a very special place in my heart. When it was announced a couple of years ago that they were going to make the books into movies, I was really excited, but also kind of wary because I remember the cheesy cartoon version and the really cheesy BBC version from the 80s. But these new movies didn’t disappoint. The first one was amazing. The actors that they chose to play the Pevensie siblings were great and the level of cg animation and special effects now a days is stellar and much more believable than the BBC puppets.
As much as I liked the first movie, I loved this second installment. It was so much fun to already know the land of Narnia. To not have to watch them spend time explaining everything, but just jump back in and start fighting the bad guys. The actors have all grown up a bit and improved a bit too. I’ve read some reviews that have marked it down saying that it is too slow and just bounces from fight to fight with no real substance, but I disagree. I think the movie does a superb job of showing more than just the fighting and plotting of both sides. It really pays attention to the kids, Prince Caspian included, and what they are going through emotionally as they try to defeat the Telmarines. This is a Disney movie so there aren’t any “intense emotional Oscar-worthy scenes”, but they definitely show both the physical and emotional sides to this journey. The Pevensies have been in England for a year (their time, 1300 years Narnian time) and Narnia has changed while they were gone. They have to grapple with what their place is in their beloved land. They were called back into Narnia, but Prince Caspian is the rightful heir to the throne so where does that leave everyone?
I also genuinely appreciate the soundtrack. Both the score and the songs written and sung specifically for the film are amazing. I bought the CD and when I listen to it I can easily imagine the world of Narnia and feel the tense battle scenes or the noble emotional moments. The song sung by Regina Spektor is inspired. It’s a great blend of simple melody, intense lyrics and breathy vocals, that when played over the last scenes of the film give it a satisfying and hope-filled ending.I’m extremely excited to see the next installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is my favorite book in the series. And actually…I may have to go see Prince Caspian again before it leaves the big screen.

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