The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

 
(i)

 

Tween-friendly adaptation is darker than the first.
  • Review Date: May 14, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 147 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The kings and queens of old, as well as Caspian, fight for what is good and true -- despite many acts of betrayal, deceit, and attempted murder. The Telmarines are determined to exterminate the Narnians, whom they regard as inferior and strange, but their point of view is presented as clearly wrong.

Positive role models

Caspian is tempted by revenge, and Peter's pride leads to disaster, but everyone sees the error of their ways in the end. For the most part, girls are portrayed as courageously as the boys -- though in one scene, a girl needs to be rescued by her prince.

Violence

Lots of swordfights and battles, some of which get pretty brutal. There's not much gore or blood, but there's tons of hitting, lancing, pushing, screaming, clubbing, and stabbing. Many characters are shot with arrows (not much blood shown). One particular one-on-one duel is quite intense and stretches out for some time, and many of the shots are filmed up close. Most of the main characters (including Peter, Edmund, and Susan) dispatch many of their enemies with swords, arrows, and more. There's also lots of discussion of war strategy, and the "bad" guys seem particularly vicious when talking about how to vanquish the Narnians.

Sex

Some mild flirting; a single tender kiss at the end.

Language

"Shut up" and "idiot" are used a few times.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sequel to the enormously popular The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has more dark moments than the first movie. It broods on the nature of deceit, greed, and hunger for power. It also has a brutal one-on-one swordfight (some of the shield slams may leave even adults cringing) and extensive battle scenes that are portrayed as bone-crunching, metal-clanging, sword-lancing riots. All of the main characters, except Lucy, are responsible for many enemy deaths. That said, it's all relatively blood-free: Though characters are pierced by arrows and swords and fall to the ground (many are injured, and some do die), little gore is shown besides the odd cut on the lip or cheek. Younger viewers may notice and be unsettled by the menacing tone throughout most of the movie -- including a scary appearance by the White Witch -- though it's relieved fairly frequently with funny asides from the characters. While not overt, the movie includes Christian imagery and allegorical storylines, and the characters learn clear moral lessons by the end.

What's the story?

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN starts with a bang -- or, rather, a wail -- and doesn't let up from there. When a baby son is born to Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), his nephew, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) must flee for his life: Miraz wants the throne, and now that he has an heir, he's out for blood. Caspian heads for the enchanted woods on horseback, Miraz's henchmen in hot pursuit -- in dire need of help, he blows an ancient, magical horn, summoning back the kings and queens of old (who, at the moment, are stuck in a London subway station). And so the Pevensie siblings -- Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Lucy (Georgie Henley), and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) -- return to Narnia, hundreds of years after they left. Can they save Caspian and Narnia from Miraz and his Telmarines? And where is noble lion Aslan when you need him?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PRINCE CASPIAN is lots of fun even if you're not a fan of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books. (In fact, it may be better not to be one in this case, as purists are likely to balk at some departures from the text.) Caspian doesn't offer as much whimsy as the first installment, dealing instead with darker matters -- notably that of Caspian's fight to keep his throne, which is wrenched from him by his scheming, power-mad uncle. The Narnians, under siege by the Telmarines, are rougher around the edges this time, too; they're more cynical and tired of persecution. To win their freedom, they must fight -- often, and sometimes to their death.

Still, thanks to well-paced moments of levity -- many of them instigated by swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep (voiced impeccably by Eddie Izzard) -- the long journey (the film clocks in at over two hours) doesn't lag too much. (Some jokes do jar, taking you out of the time period; the kids, for instance, refer to one of the dwarves as "DLF," for "dear little friend," which, although it's straight from the book, somehow sounds a little text message-y.) Director Andrew Adamson keeps the fight scenes taut and swift, though one less skirmish or two could have gone a long way toward preventing battle fatigue. But fine work from the cast (particularly Henley) helps make up for this, as does the breathtaking scenery. You'll be ready to book your own Narnia adventure by the time the credits roll.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this film is faithful to the book -- both in spirit and in plot. What was changed? Why do you think the filmmakers strayed from the original story? Which do you like better, and why?

  • Why do you think Aslan is seen at first only by Lucy. Are there religious/Biblical overtones to her belief in him? What does he mean when he says "Nothing happens the same way twice"?

  • How do Caspian and Peter handle sharing leadership duties? Are they successful? If not, how do they resolve the issue?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 16, 2008
DVD release date:December 1, 2008
Cast:Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, William Moseley
Director:Andrew Adamson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters
Run time:147 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:epic battle action and violence

This review of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was written by

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Adult Written byOC Dad April 9, 2008
 

Great family Adventure

Took our 8 and 10 year old to see the movie. A couple of scenes where a little scary and there certainly is a lot of violence. The violence is without gore, but know your kids. If the kids can handle star wars type movies they'll be fine. If I had two girls I'd be very excited because the female characters are strong, brave, level headed and independent. Good stuff. The opportunity for talking about life lessons: Mercy, pride, when to ask for help, friendship, diversity, different gifts, etc... is endless. See it on the big screen! See it digital if you can--beautiful. length...didn't check my watch once...moved quickly. My 10 year old totally engrossed. 8 year old had a few wiggles and found one scene to be cause for sitting on papa's lap.
Teen, 13 years old Written bysuper movie reviewer January 1, 2010
 

okish PG rated film is vilont

the first one is vilont but this one is even more vilont!!! It has lots of battles throughout the movie instead of one big one at the end like the last one. Wow i think the third one is going to be rated PG-13!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 5, 6, and 8 year old Written bysmille April 9, 2008
 

Purists may balk, but PC is a faithful adaption.

Get past Ben Barnes prettiness, and you can clearly see the heart of C.S. Lewis' tale. Parents should watch out for the violence threshold of their children. My 8-year-old navigated the waters well, with LOTS of question and answers about war, fighting and God's intentions of both.

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