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PCR #425 (Vol. 9, No. 20) This edition is for the week of May 12--18, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The Tampa Film Review for May  by Nolan Canova and John Miller
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"  by Mike Smith
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part Three: All Together Now!  by ED Tucker
Book Review: The Fifth Vial by Michael Palmer  by Lisa Ciurro
Favre Headed South?... NFL vs Arlen Specter ... Kasmir Signs Extension ... Sean Taylor’s Killers Will Not Fry ... Hornets Fans Bring Eva to the Game by Chris Munger
Patriot Games; Bad Reporting Style .... Hillary Wins Big Time .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Movie Notes .... Music Notes .... Passing On .... Mission Accomplished .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1977 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage and Warwick Davis
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Rated: PG
Running Time: 2 hours 24 mins

This is going to be one of those reviews where, when you’re done reading it, you’re going to ask yourself, “did he like it or not?” Maybe. This follow up to the very successful “Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe” has some great things going for it. Unfortunately, it also has some not so great things going for it which is why I’m pretty much on the fence.

London. Early 1940s. The Pevensie children are waiting for the subway train when, without warning, they are again transported to the kingdom of Narnia. Only this kingdom is not the one they remember from their earlier adventures. It is, in fact, 1300 years later and most of the citizens of Narnia, as well as the kingdom itself, have been dispatched with. The last Telmarine ruler, Caspian IX, has been killed by his brother, who now rules as King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto).

With his wife having given birth to a son, the King plots to kill his nephew, also named Caspian (or Caspian X as he refers to himself). Learning of the plot, Caspian escapes into the woods only to come across Trumpkin (Dinklage) and Nikabrik (Davis), two height challenged Narnians who hope to restore their kingdom. Joining forces, the trio meet up with the children (and an odd assortment of talking animals) and begin to wage a battle for Narnia.

Confused? Good, that makes two of us. While the first film had so many interesting characters to help move the story along, “Prince Caspian” is limited to the ones mentioned above. The four children; Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) seem to be having fun but THEY’RE CHILDREN! They can refer to themselves as “the four kings” from now until the last “Narnia” movie is made but they’re children. So it is very hard to control your disbelief when “King” Peter, all 130 pounds of him, challenges the hulking King Miraz to a sword fight to the death. Or, as one of the women in the film continually refer to it, a SWord fight. Meanwhile, between battles, the kids tease one another about whether or not little Lucy has actually caught glimpses of their good friend and protector, Aslan and Prince Caspian and Susan exchange creepy looks between themselves that are supposed to signal an attraction but are off putting considering an easy 10-year age difference.

With the exception of the title character, the cast delivers fine performances all around. On the adult side, both Castellitto and Pierfrancesco Favino, who plays General Glozelle, Miraz’ head soldier, manage to convey the menace necessary to keep the movie moving without resorting to over the top “bad guy” routines. As for Barnes, the problem lies in his delivery. While almost the entire cast has a slight British accent, Prince Caspian sounds like he is channeling Walter Koenig, better known as Ensign Chekov on “Star Trek.” On a plus side, the production design and photography are beautiful and a major plus for the film, as are the CGI animals who return from the first film or appear on screen here for the final battle. And here is the big negative for me…the violence in this film is treated so carelessly that nobody seems to notice. Whether it’s a huge battle scene with hand to hand combat or Peter running through the mob, swinging his sword wildly and lopping off the occasional head, there seems to be no consequence. Nor bloodshed. Whether it’s a decapitated head still in the helmet rolling on the ground or a sword victoriously held aloft after being pulled from a vanquished warrior’s body, the action is treated as harmless, which seems to me the wrong message to send to all of the 10-year-olds in the audience. Also working against the film is its length. Two and a half hours is a long time to ask anyone to sit, much less young ones. There are enough dead spots between the action that could have been removed to end the film at least a half hour earlier.

Anyway, back to the opening paragraph. In my opinion (and that is why you’re reading this, isn’t it), the good and the bad pretty much offset each other, leaving me no choice but to rate this film right down the middle. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”

This week's movie review of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.