Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Written by:Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Peter Dinklage
Released: June 5, 2008
Grade: B

When they were last in the land of Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy defeated the White Witch and brought prosperity to the kingdom.  They then returned home through an enchanted wardrobe.  If you missed the action, you can check out The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe which was released in cinemas back in December 2005.

A year has since passed and the four Pevensie children are yearning to go back to Narnia.  They will soon get their wish.  Standing on a train platform in their school uniforms, they suddenly find themselves whisked away.  Their excitement turns to concern when they realise that Narnia has changed.  The buildings have been destroyed and none of their friends can be found.  What happened?

The answers will be revealed when Peter and Susan help rescue a dwarf named Trumpkin (Dinklage) from two human soldiers.  He tells them that centuries have passed in the Narnia world since they were last here.  In that time, Narnia was invaded by a neighbouring kingdom of humans known as the Telmarines.  The few that survived now hide in what is left of the dark forest.

The time has come for the Narnians to fight back.  They will receive help however from an unexpected ally.  Prince Caspian is the heir to the Telmarine throne but he was forced to flee following an assassination attempt.  His evil step father, King Miraz, wanted Caspian killed so that his newly born son would be his successor.  Caspian seeks revenge against Miraz and teams up with the Narnians to help lead them to victory.

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian is highly anticipated given the financial success of the first film.  It’s sure to draw in big crowds when released.  I didn’t mind the film but wasn’t blown away by it.  I don’t think I could sit through it a second time.  It’s marketed at a younger audience with its toned-down violence and predictable storyline.  I preferred the blood-thirsty battles and complex relationships in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

The film’s strongest quality is its overall look.  The wonderful sets and costumes are mixed with some dazzling special effects and cinematography.  The talking animals look great.  The film cost a reported $200m to make but I can confirm that it is money well spent.  New Zealand born director Andrew Adamson has done a superb job bringing C.S. Lewis’s novel to life.

Now speaking of the negatives, I had a few issues with the performances.  Some of the actors deliver their lines as if they were reading them straight out of the book.  I would have liked to have seen them a little more relaxed and spontaneous.  The story doesn’t flow very well either.  There are a couple of scenes that left me wondering why they were included.

The next film in the series is The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader which is scheduled for release in 2010.  I guess we’ll do it all again in two years… provided this film makes enough money at the box office.  We’ll see.