Caught a Prince Caspian screening once upon a time and thought I’d impart my thoughts, if interested. I caution all to bear in mind this review is strictly from a layman’s point of view as I’ve read no further than the first book. Consider me the common viewer. In other words, the minority of you bloodthirsty to hear a rant and rave about every nitpicking detail off from the original material, go ahead and hit the backspace button, minimize your screen and continue playing W.o.W. in your parents basement for the rest of the weekend, downing your Red Bulls with Chad Kroeger’s “Hero” blaring in the headphones. To give an even broader sense of my point of view I’ll begin by quickly declaring my love for the first Narnia. I thought the cinematography and effects were gorgeously perfectly fit. The intro of the Blitz invasion over London was astounding and set the tone. Harry Gregson-Williams score (a little out of his element at that time) was flawless. And I thought all four kids were perfect in each of their major debut roles with Peter as the struggling leader, Susan the voice of reason and common sense, Edmund the ass and Lucy as the heart of the movie. Must I mention Ra’s Al Gul’s unblemished voice acting? Eh no. Needless to say I loved everything about it. A year’s time has elapsed since our four heroes journeyed through the mysterious wardrobe and into the land of Narnia, killing two birds with one stone in restoring the Christmas holiday spirit and saving the kingdom from being overrun by the White Witch and her dilapdated zoo creatures of horror. But one year in the real world equals 1,300 in Narnia time and lo and behold, as history has a nasty habit of repeating itself, when no good thing lasts forever, and when a sequel is needed for continued box office revenue, Narnia’s utopian-ness will yet again find itself hinging in the balance steadiness! Chaos erupts when King Miraz attempts to steal the throne from his nephew, Prince Caspian, the true destine to reign over a crumbling Narnia. Family quarrels are always so inconvenient, fantasy or non. Caspian barely escapes with his life intact and stumbles upon the sole surviving band of Narnians left who still dream of the golden era. Restoration must prevail! And with the help of the last of the Narnians, and the aid of the legendary Pevensie kiddies whom he summons with Lucy’s horn, once more war will be waged in attempt to restore the balance! I downright hated this movie and I’ll tell you why. As is any case with any story being told, the character development is always key. Surprisingly this was one of the greatest flaws in this installment, specifically amongst the four children. I understand the origins of these characters were clearly established in the previous film, but here there are new layers to develop. They’re older, and struggling with the reality of being kids again. Furthermore they’re culture shocked in adjusting from residing in between both worlds as royalty and saving the world in one and common citizens in the other. But this strong element is never really expanded upon and the characters all seem as bland as Top Ramen uncooked. Perhaps due to the Macaulay Culkin syndrome of outgrowing ones role? In any case, there’s a real lack of emotion portrayed that creates difficulty for the audience to connect and show symptom of concern for. Their desire to save Narnia seems to be because, dang it, that’s the right thing to do, and if they did it once, they should probably do it again. Nothing more dramatic or heartfelt. Shocking. The execution of the plot was dry. It was outright boring. Way too many aspects were focused on that were unnecessary to the development of the story. WARNING! SPOILER AHEAD! I swear, for example there’s one point where Lucy thinks she sees Aslan for the first time upon their return, but he vanishes before the others get a chance. Then a fifteen minute subplot kicks in on pondering the idea of whether or not she really did indeed see the frikin Lion! END SPOILER. I feel the overall slow pace will be a great hindrance on the younger targeted audience, especially the Ritalin induced. There’s even a very interesting tension element that erupts between Peter and Caspian over leadership conflict that could have been amazing if carried out with much more intensity and focus. Oh well. The villain, King Miraz, appearing as a dubbed down weaksauce version of King Leonidas from 300 with a Jack Sparrow earring was a joke. I thought the White Witch was a real ruthless biznatch. Here you get a bitter king who roams around every once in a while, throws a temper tantrum here and there and slaps a face or two before vanishing into the shadows until his next scene. He’s more of an asshat than an asshat to be feared, and placing weak villains in epic storylines is like popping cyanide capsules. Especially in fantasy. The humor was another ingredient that left a sour taste. I honestly think the scenes I laughed hardest at were scenes not intended to be humorous, which is usually a bad thing. But I will give credit the little swashbuckling mouse with a feather sticking out of his ear. He was without a doubt the funniest aspect of the movie and stole every scene he was in. His character and mannerisms almost felt as an ode to Puss In Boots, which would make sense as Andrew Adamson did Shrek 1 and 2 before moving on to the Narnia films. But onto Ben Barnes as the titled prince whom I purposely saved for last. From the little I saw of the promos beforehand I feared he would equal the equivalent of the typical flaming fairy floundering a sword set-up that for example contributed to one of the countless flaws in Stardust last year in my opinion. But his performance here caught me a bit off guard. He played his role very well. He is royalty, but he’s not a power mongering jerkoff like his uncle. Quite the contrary. There’s a real sense of inner humbleness mingled with deep courage and strength, that much is evident and clearly portrayed. I just wish there was more he had to work with and a much better back story to give his character solid substance. His performance could have been capitalized on much more that what was banked, which I blame on directing. But he also gets + 2 kudo points for mimicking his Spanish accent after Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. That’s just cool. Overall I’m genuinely disheartened. I wish I could say maybe Voyage of the Dawn Treader could mop up the mess. But quite frankly I have little faith as the third installment which for whatever reason that completely boggles my mind was given to a guy who’s done mainly tv shows, a wack Bond movie, that one Val Kilmer movie nobody remembers and Enough, one of J-Los many masterpieces in film to date. One can only hope. As Aslan quotes, “Things never happen the same way twice.” Unfortunately he was right when it came to this installment meeting the high standard that was established by the first. It missed by a long shot, and it saddens me greatly. Stamp of denial. Peace/East G’s.