The Second “Narnia” film offers bloodless battles galore
Even more so than first installment “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” tries very hard to walk a fine line between the whimsical fantasy of the Harry Potter films and the dramatic suspense of the “Lord of the Rings” movies. This not an altogether unworthy ambition, but it serves as a double-edged sword in the hands of writer-director Andrew Adamson. (He also directed “Wardrobe,” as well as the first two “Shrek” films.)
Simply put, if you are into epic battle scenes you will likely enjoy “Prince Caspian.” This installment has plenty of them-including a final battle that overstays its welcome-stretching the film to an unnecessarily long 137 minutes. The character development and spiritual themes present in the first film are downplayed, giving “Prince Caspian” room to showcase its excellent, grand scale production values. This comes at a cost, however: the film lacks the kind of heart that allows the most memorable sequels to raise the bar on their predecessors and increase the adulation of its fan base. (See “Empire Strikes Back” and “Spider-Man 2.”)
One year after the incredible events of the first film, the four siblings of the Pevensie family are transported back to wondrous Narnia. During their absence of 1300 years in Narnian time, the Telmarines are in control, led by evil King Miraz. (Sergio Castelitto). With the help of a kindly dwarf (a terrifically droll Peter Dinklage), a talking mouse (voiced by Eddie Izzard), and a wise badger, our heroes try to reseat the rightful heir, the handsome Prince Caspian (charming Ben Barnes) to the throne and restore order in Narnia.
The heightened suspense is underscored by an energetic pace, even if the final battle that combines crossbows, flying arrows, and raging swords grows tiresome. The absence of blood amidst all this fighting calls attention to the fact that the filmmakers were striving so earnestly to keep the PG rating (an admirable goal). But “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is arguably the most violent PG rated film ever-a crown that might give some parents pause.
Rated PG for violence.