Last night I was lucky enough to go to a advance movie preview screening of The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian, which opens everywhere this Friday (ahh, the perks of knowing someone in the movie biz!).
I'm not sure if I ever read the books beyond The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe when I was younger (or even if I read that one that thoroughly), so maybe that's why I enjoyed this second film so much.
It's definitely an improvement on the first movie, with better special effects and a lot more action. I can't help but feel that they've upped the action quota and stolen heavily from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which is not a bad thing, but no one can do big sword wielding armies and grim, gritty fighting scenes like those. Maybe it doesn't help that this film is much more colourful than LOTR, but that's maybe an unfair comparison as this is meant to be a kids film after all.
I think it's also harder that there are no central adult leads to carry the film and we have to rely on four, now five, children to drive the story forward. It seems to work in Harry Potter, but there are always lots of adult characters to contribute there too.
So THE GOOD - the humour in the film is very good (a bit clumsy at times, but that can be forgiven), Eddie Izzard as the voice of the 'mouseketeer' Reepicheep provides great comedy value, Georgie Henley who plays 'Lucy' is still the best actor out of the four 'Pevensie' children, Susan using her bow and arrows lots (reminiscent of Legolas from The Lord of the Rings, but great nonetheless), plus there are some really exciting and surprising action sequences throughout the film.
THE BAD - Prince Caspian's accent (did we really need it, it's terrible), Prince Caspian doesn't really do much in this film (and I don't see why everyone is getting so excited about Ben Barnes, the actor playing him), Peter Pevensie (played by William Moseley) came across as a moody 'Prince William' public-school boy type, and finally the story seems a bit weak at times - I'm not sure if this is just the translation from the original book, but there didn't seem to be any major threat or sense of urgency at anytime (maybe because it is a kids film, or that in the end you know that Aslan will appear to save the day!).Anyway, it's a fun film and doesn't feel like 140 minutes, so I'd give it four stars ****
More from Jason in Hollywood soon...