Prince charming

Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre June 5, 2008
Review in Filipino and English

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Directed by Andrew Adamson
Based on the book by C.S. Lewis
Starring Ben Barnes, Wiliam Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes

Kamukha ni Prince Caspian si Albert Martinez. Yung bagets version. Yun yung una kong napansin sa The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Yung next ko na napansin, nagmamature na yung mga kids ng Narnia, may halo nang teen love story eh. Pangalawa ang Prince Caspian sa The Chronicles of Narnia series of books and films, matapos ang The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, last seen in 2005.

Sa chapter two ng Narnia series, an assassination plot will force Prince Caspian (played by Brit actor Ben Barnes) to hide from his scheming uncle Miraz (played by Sergio Castellitto) who has declared himself king of Telmarine and taken the throne para sa sarili niya. Mapapadpad si Caspian sa kagubatan ng Narnia kung saan nagtatago ang mga magical creatures, na sa mga panahon na iyon ay kaunti na lang pagkatapos patayin ang kanilang uri ng mga tao, sa pangunguna ng mga Telmarines.

One year after their first adventure, mababalik ang magkakapatid na sina Peter (Wiliam Moseley), Susan (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) at Lucy (Anna Popplewell) sa Narnia, pero 1,300 years na pala ang nakalipas dito at kakaiba na ang mga lugar at mga hayop na kanilang nakikita. Parang wala nang magic sa Narnia. Hindi magtatagal at magtatagpo sila nina Prince Caspian, at magtutulungan sila kasama si Aslan (boses ni Liam Neeson) upang maibalik ang korona sa prinsipe at ang kaharian ng Narnia sa katahimikan.

Mature ang handling ng kwento ng Caspian, at may ilang intense battle scenes na masyadong marami ang body count para maging tunay na pambata ang pelikula. Babala sana na patnubayan ng mga nakatatanda ang maliliit na manonood.

It’s interesting that the filmmakers approached Caspian in a realistic sense. Bawas ang mga “magical” moments dito pero hindi ibig sabihin na bawas na rin ang effects nito. After all, may mga nagsasalitang hayop at naglalakad na puno sa Narnia. But what the filmmakers did was approach the story as if it’s another tale from Old England, inclusive of palace politics and struggles for the crown.

The movie also retains C.S. Lewis’s very Christian messages and symbolisms, with a very strong moral about staying true to one’s beliefs even if time and change passes. This moral is laid by two threads in the story – first in the backstory, as told by other characters that humans no longer believe in the existence of the magical creatures of Narnia, particularly because humans have killed most of them; and second, with Peter’s character (finally made significant, thereby explaining why he is High King and called The Magnificent), who believes the only way to save Narnia is through their own actions, despite Lucy’s repeated claims to have seen Aslan. One special effect in the river almost literally reinforces Christian symbolism. Even for non-Christians, at least the kids in the movie have positive values.

Caspian also has scenes quite reminiscent of Lord of the Rings – but that only reinforces the story that Lewis and Rings creator JRR Tolkien were best friends in Oxford, and must have shared notes very often. Reepicheep the swashbuckling mouse (voiced by Eddie Izzard) appears for the first time, he and Prince Caspian return in the next installment, Voyage of the Dawn Treader scheduled in 2010.

Overall, the kid actors are okay, the thin storyline moves slowly, the effects are good, but there’s just too many intense sword fighting and arrows hitting bodies for comfort. Lastly, the hinted love story is likely intended to make Ben Barnes a charming heartthrob; but it’s just typical Hollywood cheese. Then again the Pevensie kids are growing up. Hormones are hormones, even in Narnia.

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