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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Prince Caspian - the 'Philip Pullman is weeping' review


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (PG)

Dir. Andrew Adamson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

The time has come for you to consider a return trip to the magical world of Narnia. Over a thousand years have past in the kingdom on the other side of the wardrobe and things are looking bleak. A desperate power struggle is taking place as ruthless tyrant King Mirazh seeks to secure his position by wiping out every last trace of the enchanted flora and ‘fawna’ that populate the land. A dashing young prince named Caspian – the true heir to the throne is on the run from the evil Mirazh and in his hour of need he blows the magical horn that is rumoured to summon the high kings and queens of Narnia.

The kings and queens however are busy in our world were only a year has past. So High King Peter the Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, King Edmund the Just and Queen Lucy the Valiant are struggling with schoolwork, teenage angst and a new threat – romantic affections from the opposite sex. But when Caspian uses Susan's magic horn the Pevensie kids are pulled back to Narnia in a barrage of impressive special effects – no wardrobe required this time. Upon arrival they find that hundreds of years have passed, and all is not well in their beloved land. Aslan the majestic and all-powerful lion is nowhere to be seen, the mighty castle of Cair Paravel lies in ruins and the magical citizens are now endangered species.

This new darker, edgier Narnia works a treat, the living, breathing fantasy elements of the land are rendered in some of the best special effects yet created. Returning director Adamson ups the ante for this sequel, which improves on the first film in just about every way. The children are better (even Georgie Henley as Lucy thankfully managing to be less annoying than in The Lion, The Witch…).


"the kids get ready to hop dimensions back to Narnia"

As the bloodthirsty Mirazh – hammed up nicely by Sergio Castellitto, gets down to some medieval genocide with his vicious armies, Caspian – played by hunky Ben Barnes and the Pevensie kids have to rustle up a ragtag army of magical types in order to fight for truth, justice and the Narnian way. As in the first film / book there are still some good moral messages for Lewis fans to savour such as the folly of acting impulsively for personal glory but its less cloying and as the stakes are higher, the plot is very much designed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Forget pretenders such as The Golden Compass - this is the real deal!!

An incredible new age has begun in Narnia… and you’re invited!


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DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: öööööööö (9)
+ A fantastic fantasy overload of feelgood excitement!

Tasty Action: öööööööö (8)
+ Wicked battle scenes that push the PG limit

Gratuitous Babeness: öööööööö (8)
+ Susan (Anna Popplewell) has a magic horn... say no more...

Mind Blight / Boredom: ööö (3)
+ Not a dull moment, jam packed with joyous entertainment

Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
+ Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep is comic genius

Arbitrary final rating: ööööööööö (10)
C.S. Lewis, would be proud, this is quality fantasy fare…

Liable to make you:
"get addicted to hard core 'Fawnogaraphy'"

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