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Monday, May 26, 2008

Welcome back to Narnia

gripping The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie tumble back into C.S. Lewis’ magical world of fauns, centaurs, dwarves and talking trees and animals in this sequel to The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe (2005), and they sweep their w illing audience of children and adults alike along for the ride.

Like the first movie, this one too turns the slim children’s novel into a swashbuckling summer fare visualised on a grand scale. The difference is that this time, Adamson seems more at home in Lewis’ world — Prince Caspian feels less like a faithful reproduction of the book, and more like a fully fleshed out film in its own right, and this ends up being a really good thing.

The movie opens with Prince Caspian’s (Ben Barnes) dramatic flight from his evil uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellito), who wants to kill the orphaned prince so his own son can one day ascend the throne of Narnia.

Injured and on the run, the prince uses an ancient horn given to him by his tutor to call upon the mythical old kings and queens of Narnia for help.Those old kings and queens are none other than the four children from Finchley who discovered Narnia through an old wardrobe in the previous movie. It’s a year later and they’re on their way back to school when Caspian’s call magically whisks them back to Narnia. But things are very different now — several hundred years have passed in that magical land and Narnia is ruled by the human Telmarines, who have erased the old way of life. The trees are silent and all the ‘old Narnians’, the magical creatures and talking animals, live in hiding. Can the kings and queens help the prince restore Narnia to its original inhabitants? Will Aslan come to their aid?

This is a far funnier film than the first — there’s more tongue-in-cheek humour in the dialogues, and characters such as Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard), the noble warrior mouse with delusions of grandeur, have been utilised to great comedic effect (you get a glimpse of Adamson’s antecedents as the director of Shrek here). The changes made in the pacing of the story are an improvement on the book — Caspian’s back story that takes up quite a bit of the novel is truncated into the exciting opening sequence, and more time is spent on the relationship between Caspian and the children, and their clash with Miraz (which is rather tamely resolved in the book).

The movie version of Caspian is more heroic and has more to do, a good thing for Barnes who puts plenty of soul into the role, and the four kids, who have grown nicely into their roles, venture into more mature territory dealing with romance and questions of mortality.

In all, it’s bigger, grander, and more filmy, but it never strays too far from the essence of Lewis’ book and its gentle lesson of having faith against all odds. The final battle scenes do go on for a bit, but they’re so well done that it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to complain. But for its length (it’s a solid two-an-a-half hours long), there’s really very little wrong with this second outing of the Narnia franchise.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Director: Andrew Adamson Cast: Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, Sergio Castellitto, Eddie Izzard Storyline: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie return to Narnia after a year to help Prince Caspian battle his uncle, the evil King Miraz. Bottom line: A rip-roaring (pardon the pun) summer movie ride.
SOURCE: The Hindu

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