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Review - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Cast: Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley, Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage, Anna Popplewell and William Moseley

Director: Andrew Adamson

Rating: 7.5/10

View our special Chronicles of Narnia site here

There are two things you should know straight away about Kiwi director Andrew Adamson's follow-up to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe:

a) it is a lot darker than the first movie
b) it is also much, much better.

I wasn't a great fan of The Lion etc finding it too childish and tainted with some seriously dodgy acting. True some of the acting again from the Pevensie children is a little ropey at times but the overall mood and pacing is better and the film is helped immeasurable by the break out role of Prince Caspian himself - Ben Barnes.

Set over a century after their first trip to Narnia, although only one year later in "real time", Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are recalled back to the fantasy world when the Narnians face extinction at the hands of the Telmarines and the evil King Mirza.

The rightful heir to the throne, Prince Caspian, has fled only to join forces with the remaining Narnians, who are hiding in the forests. Once meeting up with the Pevensie's they search for the missing Aslan while defending themselves against the onslaught of the marauding Telmarines.

New Zealand again features strongly - Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula makes a starring guest appearance - but sometimes the sweeping views of mountains and lush landscape overpower the actual storyline. I am beginning to wish for a fantasy film NOT set here, although the movie will no doubt add more coffers to  New Zealand tourism.

The children have changed since the original movie - Peter (William Moseley), so strong and dedicated in The Lion, becomes the moody, determined-at-any-cost bully this time around, while Edmund (Skankar Keynes) , the simpering "baddie" from the first film this time has a much smaller, more comical role. Susan (Anna Popplewell) doesn't get much to do except look moodily at Prince Caspian while it is up to Lucy (Georgie Henley) once again to save the day.

Of the new characters, Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral) stands out as the grumpy but kind dwarf Trumpkin, while Sergio Castellitto as King Miraz has a suitably menacing presence. But it is Barnes' turn as Prince Caspian who signals that the franchise may have more life. Despite being landed with a Spanish-type accent, this British newcomer shows enough range to suggest a successful movie career.

One thing which certainly makes this film stand out from the Harry Potters of this world is the shear weight of killings on screen - the movie at times becomes Rambo for kids as all the children, including little Lucy, go about slaughtering the Telmarine hoardes.

The battle scenes are filmed well and the ending in particular is a highlight as we bid farewell to two of the main characters in quite an emotional finale.

Overall Prince Caspian is a solid entry in the fantasy flicks realm and sets itself up nicely for future sequels.