The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
starring Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, and Lian Neeson
screenplay by Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
directed by Andrew Andamson
I did not like C. S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles when I was young. I still do not like those books. And, I did not like the first Narnia Chronicles movie. So why did I bother renting the second? I took a chance and lost. British fantasy tales are so lame. They too often and predictably feature talking animals, whining teenagers (Harry Potter incessantly whines, “It’s not fair” as if that is supposed to mean something), and magical forests - or, dark forests inhabited by magical folk. Much U.K. fantasy is set in a make-believe medieval environment (castles, princes and magic). And for some reason the New Zealandcountryside (where some of Prince Caspian was filmed) fits the British image of what a wild, pre-modern European countryside looked like, or ought to look like. It’s pathetic, really, partly because it’s so predictable.
Prince Caspian features the same Second World War-era British youngsters escaping from wartime London to a fantasy kingdom long ago in time. Prince Caspian is their return to the Kingdom of Narnia where they find a different world from the beloved one they left at the end of the first film. In another take on the Golden Age myth, idyllic Narnia has been destroyed by a larger, more powerful, dark Empire. I suppose it can be said to reflect Britainduring WWII. Small and weak Britain stood alone against mightier Nazi Germany and prevailed. Maybe it prevailed by sheer luck, or by the materiel provided through America’s“lend lease” program. But there is probably a streak in the British consciousness that leans towards the moral power of English virtue as an explanation. I think the British - especially the English - like to see themselves as the mighty little guys, and that only works if you are fantasizing. Even in fantasy it works only with the help of talking animals, mythical creatures like Dwarves, Elves and Centaurs, and cognizant trees (remember the Ents, my favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings, or the Whomping Willowfrom Harry Potter).