Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rebecca's Reviews: Prince Caspian

It all began so well.

The film opens by taking advantage of all the natural drama of cut-throat politics. Young Prince Caspian has to flee for his life because his evil usurping uncle's wife has just given birth to a son and potential heir. Fortunately for Caspian, he has a secret passage at the back of his wardrobe, and thus avoids being made into a pincushion in his sleep. Caspian's kindly old tutor sends him into the woods, where he encounters the Narnians: talking animals and assorted creatures from Greek Mythology who have been in hiding since Caspian's ancestors took over.

Meanwhile, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy have been through a miserable year of trying to adjust to life in dreary old 1940's England after having been kings and queens of Narnia. Just as they're about to take the train to boarding school, the train station blows away and leaves them standing on a beach. Can you get any more wishful thinking than that? The kids immediately guess they're back in Narnia, I mean, where else could they be? What they don't know is that it has been over 1000 years since their last visit, and this time they have to help Caspian reclaim his rightful throne.

The first half of the film enchanted me. Everything worked, even Edmund's electric torch. Storming the evil uncle's castle was an unexpected twist that had not been in the book, and it turned out to be one of my favorite sequences of the film. The spell remained unbroken until at one point King Peter and Prince Caspian start blaming each other and arguing in front of everyone like a couple of idiot teenage boys. I know they are teenage boys, but Peter has been a king and Caspian has been trained to be one, and rule numero uno is: never argue in front of the troops! It was so-o-o-o unprofessional.

After that point, the film got a little silly. Sure, the epic battle scenes were great to watch, but if Aslan could have shown up and saved the day sooner, why didn't he? They tossed out a few excuses as to why he waited until the last minute, but I was not convinced.

Still, I couldn't help feeling an ache of loss when Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy end up back at the dreary old train station again. Everything in Narnia is beautiful, the landscape, the architecture, the CG creatures, the costuming, and even Caspian's embroidered pajamas, which I think he wore for most of the film. No time to pack when you're running for your life, I guess.

Lots of people die violent deaths in this film. I agree with those who said it should have had a PG-13 rating. I don't know if that would have stopped anyone from taking their little kids to it without seeing it themselves, but it might have made the director take the film back and cut out some of the more disturbing footage to earn it a well deserved PG.

1 comment:

Frozen Cacti said...

I love the way you write.

I couldn't agree with you more about all aspects of the film. I was disappointed overall. Had I known about all the violence I wouldn't have taken the WHOLE family to see it. Needless to say, when it got "too scary mom", we spent the last 30 minutes in the lobby "pretending" to play video games. I have always wondered why movie theaters have arcade games. Now I know why.