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Chronicles of Narnia, The: Prince Caspian


Stars: William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Sergio Castellito, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Tilda Swinton

Director: Andrew Adamson

The second attempt at the fantasy novels of C S Lewis has more action than the first, but is at least half-an-hour too long. Even when the Pevensie children (Moseley, Popplewell, Keynes and Henley all reprising their roles) do get back to Narnia, it takes a fair while for the main story to get going, despite an appealing talking badger, and the first appearance in the saga of Reepicheep the musketeer mouse, a rival for Shrek's Puss in Boots.

Narnia, it seems, in the several hunded years since the children were last there, has been overrun by Telmarines, dull, foreign-accented villains whose only good apple seems to be the eponymous Caspian (Barnes). Although first in line to the throne, he's an heir about to be cut short by his scheming uncle (Castellito), whose wife has just given birth to a baby boy.

Escaping assassination, Caspian sounds the horn which brings the Pevensies back to Narnia and sets the scene for a battle royal between the Telmarines and Narnians.

As the senior Pevensie, Moseley's acting shows improvement, even given such lines as 'I'm King Peter...the Magnificent', but Popplewell is a bit cloying as Susan, though she shows up well in the action sequences with her bow-and-arrow skills. Keynes and Henley are pretty much left on the sidelines in this one.

Half of the film runs like one of those old Hollywood easterns, with handsome princes, feisty heroines and wicked viziers, though the action, if occasionally too tightly edited, shows more imagination than films could cope with in those days. The White Witch (Swinton), despite (or perhaps because of) a brief cameo, is sorely missed as the main villain, in a story where all perils can be resolved at a flick of Aslan the Lion's great paw.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
144 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Jun 2008