Saturday, May 31, 2008

Prince Caspian:Film Review

Prince Caspian is a better and much bigger-canvas film than its predecessor. As with all other sequential stories on the reel (like Harry Potter series, Spiderman etc), the first Narnia film (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) was a slow one, justifiably so because the characters needed an introduction as did their background for the build-up of the story. Prince Caspian on the other hand had no such responsibility and started much breezily. From the very beginning, the tone of the film is set when Prince Caspian’s professor helps him flee from being murdered by his uncle Miraz (played by Italian actor Sergio Castellitto). As he is pursued by the soldiers of Miraz, he escapes into the woods and blows the magical horn (which was given to Susan in the first film by Santa; Santa told her that blow this horn whenever you’re in danger and help will come). The horn transports the Pevensies from an underground train station to Narnia. The only difference this time is that the Narnia the siblings left had changed a lot (1300 years had passed in the Narnian time-frame).

From here events unfold rapidly. Though the central character of the first film, Aslan-the mighty lion, appears only towards the end, there are many new characters. Apart from Prince Caspian (played by Ben Barnes, the British stage actor)- the rightful heir to the throne, there is Trumpkin- the dwarf (Peter Dinklage), Reepicheep - the mouse who is a brilliant sword fighter (voiced by Eddie Izzard) and several non-human creatures like centaurs, dwarfs, minotaurs, flying gryphons and mice with quick reflexes in this episode who fight against the troops of Miraz (called the Telmarines). I loved Reepicheep who is believed to be one of the descendants of those mice who cut the ropes of Aslan in the first film when he lay dead on the Stone Table.

Prince Caspian employs a huge cast and crew counting almost 2,000. The numerous special effects (over 1,600 CGI shots) also form a major chunk of the film. There are two important battle scenes-one inside the castle and one beyond the woods, which form a significant part of this 2 hour & 18-minute film. I liked the one inside the castle fought in the dead of night. Everything was superbly planned, getting Caspian, the Pevensies and their troops via flying gryphons (taking the aerial route, which will be monitored by no-one), Edmund’s torch signal, the valiant fight, the retreat and then the miscalculation resulting in the death of many brave hearts. The pain in the eyes of Peter (William Moseley) when he can’t do anything to stop his troops (trapped on the other side of the castle gate) being butchered by Miraz’s men and instead has to flee was a touching shot.

The second battle scene is also done beautifully though I would vote for the one-to-one fight of Peter with Miraz. Apart from its fast pace, this film is also different from the first one with respect to sibling bonding. The first film saw Edmund switch over to the team of the White Witch but finally coming over to fight with his brother and sisters. In this film, the Pevensies are a close-knit family. All the siblings have grown up and Susan (Anna Popplewell) even gets bits-&-pieces of romance with Caspian though there’s not much time to let love blossom between the two. Her kiss perhaps makes amends for it.

In brief- Prince Caspian is a better movie than “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and the more polished effort shows in every frame of Prince Caspian. As Aslan told Lucy- “Things never happen the same way twice, Dear one”, don’t expect hangovers of the first film. However, old characters like the Pevensies, The White Witch (appears for a short while in this film) and Aslan help maintain the continuity. Only that this time, the story unfolds on a much bigger scale. I am already waiting for the next Narnia film, shooting of which has already begun. My verdict for this film- you won’t regret watching it; instead, you may be tempted for a second dekko just as I did. And yes, if you can get a DVD of the first film, it would not be a bad idea to see that as well.


dhiman said...

good review..

dhiman said...

ebare dekhte hobe... :)