| The Red Right Hand
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA
Alright, let's quickly address the sequencing issues here, for all those who do not know or understand. The films are being released in the order they were published in, as opposed to the chronological order they were later organised into. Everybody got that? Good, moving on.
Set one year later for the Pevensie children but 1300 for Narnia, the mystical kingdom has undergone colossal changes. At an undefined time, a group of humans called the Telmarines invaded before proceeding to exterminate the native Narnians. The Telmarines' back story was briefly summarised in the book as pirates that accidentally found their way to Narnia - hence all the Mediterranean Spanish/Italian accents. A typically Shakespearean royal power struggle rages between uncle (King Miraz [Sergio Castellitto]) and nephew (the young Prince Caspian [Barnes]) and during his escape from assassination, Caspian summons the 'kings and queens of old' - I realise this is fairly rushed, bear with me. Suddenly, the young siblings find themselves back in Narnia, exploring the ruins of their once lavish castle. Alright, that's enough plot, the whole thing could easily be summarised by stating that Narnia got old, the kids didn't; the Spanish invaded, one of them is good; the Narnians form an army and attack; then the Spaniards build a bridge and counter attack and the whole time, Aslan is nowhere to be found.
Although there are many positive elements that should be addressed (beautiful visuals, decently co-ordinated fight sequences, terrific acting from certain cast members), I think I'm just going to stick to the negative points for now. My first highlighted complaint is directed towards the kid actors playing the Pevensies and Caspian. Ben Barnes did well enough but his performance felt a little dull, which is nothing compared to the ridiculous mannerisms of Peter [Moseley]. Iíve never liked the character of Peter Pevensie, he was always an annoying, stuck up twat but Moseley goes beyond annoying, sailing dangerously close to high school drama production. The dialogue seems to have been modernised to add a certain element of humour to an overly dark film but that is only a minor complaint, generally reserved for those looking for the perfect adaptation. There's also a subtle Susan [Popplewell] and Caspian love interest which didn't exist in the book and felt so bloody stupid that I continually felt my eyes rolling into the back of my head.
Once again, this is another long family film, paced at an arse-numbing 147 minutes (a fact that will certainly affect box office takings), which is ultimately surprising as the night raid - a full twenty minutes worth of scenes - isn't actually in the book. As with the previous film, there are heavy religious undertones, if you wish to see them - the most notable being the issue of faith and belief. Having said that, you could also look at this film and see a heavy amount of sexual undertones, if one were so inclined; main offenders would be lines such as, "Do you want the horn now?" and "Enough Nikabrik! Or do I have to sit on your head again?"
Essentially this film could easily be considered a decent sequel to its fantasy predecessor or it could be seen as a Narnia film for those who didn't like the previous film's focus on mystical elements - at times you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching one of the Elizabeth movies.
27th June 2008
The Scene To Look Out For:
I would like to say there was a scene which successfully addressed the notion of adults frustrated by living in children's bodies but all attempts just come off as whiney teenage rants. As you will see below, my two highlighted characters of choice feature in this scene but it deserves a mention. To buy Lucy some time, Caspian explains that Peter could challenge Miraz to one-on-one combat. Edmund delivers the terms:
King Miraz: Tell me, Prince Edmund...
Edmund Pevensie: King.
King Miraz: I beg your pardon?
Edmund Pevensie: It's King Edmund, actually. Just King though, Peter's the High King... I know, it's confusing.
It sounds miniscule but it was entertaining and demonstrated both actors' flare.
Despite my frustrations and annoyances with the cast, Skandar Keynes' portrayal of Edmund is an extremely improved one. The only problem is his character gets smothered by the two, slightly older, male leads. Sergio Castellitto's performance is also one to note; King Miraz is deceptive, cunning and completely detestable - as every despicable villain should be.
"So you're bravely refusing to fight a swordsman half your age"
In A Few Words:
"A very healthy sequel that should please fans of the previous film, entertain fans of medieval romps and irritate the hell out of fans of the book"