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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

Prince Caspian
The youthful warriors of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Disney/Walden Media)

It's odd how J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia have remained connected over the decades. They arrived as books in close proximity to each other, and now find themselves once again drawing comparisons but this time as films. The books, and the films they have inspired, are all epic fantasy tales aimed primarily at young audiences. In the case of both the books and the films, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings preceded C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia . So now that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy has run through its wildly successful film cycle ( The Hobbit , though is yet to come), Disney is hoping that The Chronicles of Narnia , with its latest installment Prince Caspian (opening May 16 throughout San Diego), can capture the summer crowds. The only problem is that Narnia comes across as Lord of the Rings lite and seems to appeal more to just the 'tweener crowd than the broader fan base of the Tolkien inspired films.

C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia began in 1950 with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe . Like Tolkien's books, Lewis' seven book series created a fantasy world complete with its own history, geography, and culture. But Lewis' tale seems aimed more directly at a younger audience than Tolkien's books, and contains elements that feel culled from other sources.

May 20, 2008 at 12:17 PM
This review sucks, this movie was bad ass. everybody's a critic

Spix14 from Houston, TX
May 20, 2008 at 12:25 PM
Perhaps you should read the book before you start jumping to conclusions about the movies ripping off its predecessors. Reepicheep was played to perfection, if you had read the book you would know that. In case you hadn't realized it, the Wise Old Mentor is a bit of an different do you expect them to be played? Also spot on and true to the book. To state that dwarves are ripped off from another movie is utterly laughable, I suppose the centaurs, the griffons, the satyrs, the tree spirits and every other mythical creature is ripped off as well? As I stated...try reading the book next time before you put your foot in your mouth.

Johnny Tata from Edmonton AB
May 20, 2008 at 04:48 PM
Ummm, while I'm certainly not going to get involved in personally bashing people I don't know, I have to take issue with buddy above me telling the reviewer to read the book, because if he was actually familiar with the book himself, he would realize that anywhere from 30-40% of the movie is completely made up and doesn't even take place in the book. The entire first battle scene never took place, the secret temple or hiding place or whatever the heck it was is never mentioned either, the White witch never makes an appearance in this novel, and the flirtation between Caspian and Susan never happened either. if you're not going to be faithful to the source material, why not just call the film "Prince Walden" or "Prince Disney" and leave it at that? Watered down crap is what fundamental Christians want to feed their children, ignoring the imperative "you are what you eat" to their own detriment.

Beth Accomando
May 20, 2008 at 04:50 PM
To Jay-- glad it kicked ass for you but it didn't for me. There are so many other films that for me provide far better fantasy and adventure. To Spix14-- I am criticizing the film and not the book, and criticizing Adamson for the way he uses archetypes and familiar characters. You cannot ignore the fact that Adamson did the Shrek movies with Puss N Boots and that the way he chooses to realize Reepicheep rips off his own film -- Adamson makes Reepicheep silly and more of a caricature as Puss N Boots was. I read the first book and what I remember was that the animals had more dignity than they are afforded in the film (with the exception of Aslan). And again the dwarf characters as Adamson chooses to depict them is what feels ripped off. The bottom line for me was that I simply didn't believe in the fantasy world that Adamson created from Lewis' books in the way I believed in the fantasy worlds created in LOTR, Time Bandits, Star Wars or Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. Thanks for the comments.

Austin from seattle
May 20, 2008 at 06:38 PM
A well thought out review in my opinion and one that also doesn't shy away from a straight forward criticism. I've read several other reviews from around the country and they are mostly the same - positive and glowing with generic approval. Although I was quite disappointed with the first one as well (which ruined me towards any further sequels) I agree that this latest installment is absolutely meant for an extremely younger audience. I wonder if I chose to read the books again would I find any enjoyment in them? If indeed I did then whose fault is it that these movies are so atrociously boring - the production team, the actors, director or screen writers? Perhaps this latest adaption is simply twenty years too late for me. bravo on the critique

Beth Accomando
May 20, 2008 at 09:18 PM
Yes, I always wonder about going back to something I enjoyed as a child and seeing if it still has the magic. Because of my son I have come to some children's books as an adult and fallen in love with them (like A Series of Unfortunate Events). But I would be curious about going back to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and seeing how they strike me today. Thanks to Austin and Johnny for adding some more diversity to the discussion.

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