The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a sequel bound by the content of the book it’s based on. C. S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia with the rules of Narnia allowing massive lapses in time. Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia continues to follow the young Pevensie children one year after their adventures in Narnia. The Horse and His Boy explores the adult reign of High King Peter, High Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy. Walt Disney Pictures continued distributing the budding fantasy franchise, director Andrew Adamson remained, and the budget was increased. To accommodate the changes made from the book. Mainly the addition of an extended action sequence. Though I was still blind to the books, I was nevertheless excited to see more Narnia. Prince Caspian was an entertaining addition to the franchise in a decade full of fantasy adaptations. Though not exactly what I was hoping for.
We begin in a starkly different Narnia where the fictional Telmarine humans have driven the fantastical Narnians to near extinction. Though unclear in the book, the Telmarines are ambiguously Spanish in the movie. I’m just not all that interested in Telmarine politics or the grim (almost depressing) tone of the 1,300 year time jump. Meanwhile in our world, the Pevensies deal with their boring school life in Englund. Everyone’s back and a bit more matured as young actors. Their hope of returning to Narnia is answered when a train station is transformed into a cave. Though overjoyed at first, they soon discover the ruins of castle Cair Paravel, animals that don’t speak, trees that don’t dance, and the oppressive rule of the Telmarines. The titular Prince Caspian is a Telmarine heir driven out of his home by his tyrannical uncle King Miraz. His Professor told him stories of the Narnians and that makes him the hero they deserve. Ben Barnes is a highlight in an otherwise standard tale. Caspian encounters a Badger and two dwarves. Of course played by Peter Dinklage and Warwick Davis. The former is a cynical dwarf who joins the Pevensies in their quest in taking back Narnia. They also meet the very important large swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep.
Each character has grown with Peter wanting to reclaim his chivalrous leadership role and clashing with Caspian. Susan gets more action and a random romantic arc with Caspian. Edmund has softened to a far more likable hero. Leaving Lucy as the one with the strongest faith in Aslan’s return. The main Christian theme of Prince Caspian is restoring the true religion to a corrupted world. So Aslan remains absent to allow more freewill. Leaving the allied centaurs, menators, dwarves, fauns, and talking animals to fight without him. Miraz and his people are fought in intense battles and a one-on-one duel. The PG rating remains intact despite getting rather intense. The White Witch is very nearly revived in their desperation. When Lucy finds Aslan again, his roar reawakens the trees and unleashes a water god. Sadly, this is Peter and Susan’s final time in Narnia, but “The Call” is a beautiful send off. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian may be darker than I wanted, but it’s as exciting as it should be.