Prince Caspian Movie Review
Here is the review I wrote for Prince Caspian...this is a rough version; I plan on making it look nicer ASAP. :D

Going into this movie, I wasn't at all sure what to expect. I had had a less than stellar first impression of LWW when I first saw it three years ago, and I didn't know how I would react to Narnia this time. True, I was going to see it for the first time in the El Capitan, but would I actually like the MOVIE? Would I like the changes? The acting? The characters? I'd always been so optimistic about Prince Caspian; would I be forced to admit defeat or would I continue to be all happy-dippy? Questions, questions!

I'm very happy to say that I did not walk out disappointed. On the contrary, I walked out very happy and satisfied. I went in with minimal expectations, and I think the movie exceeded any that I had or could have had. Despite having followed the making of this movie since even before Day 1, there were still elements of the film that I wasn't completely familiar with, maybe even surprised with. Although I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I went spoiler-free for the last two months leading up to the movie.

Anyway, I'll cut to the chase and give my reasons for the ratings that I gave. Please realize that this is my personal opinion, and I'm sure a lot of people will thought I scored certain aspects too highly. If you don't like it, deal with it. ;)

Acting: 10/10
On the whole, I thought the acting was excellent. For most of the time, I was immersed in the world and didn't actually *notice* the acting, which I consider good because it's usually the bad or unconvincing acting that jars you out of your moment. To be sure, there were a few parts that I didn't like, namely the scene where the Pevensies are pulled into Narnia...I didn't think the acting was at all convincing right there, and if I hadn't known what was going on, I would have been pretty confused. Of course, good direction can lead to great acting, so I guess I didn't like the direction of that scene either, but yeah...the "Ows!" didn't do it for me. A few of Trumpkin's lines that were delivered slowly I didn't like, but I liked everything else. All in all, I think it was an improvement from LWW and I really have to give props to everyone; I didn't notice any weak links!

Directing: 9/10
Boy, oh boy. Andrew sure had his work cut out for him, didn't he? While I don't agree with some of the decisions he made, I have to applaud him for having the guts to take on such a difficult job and actually doing a very good job with it. There were some things in there that I know I never would have thought of personally, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what part of the movie you're talking about. I liked the addition of the Night Raid, and yes, even though I KNEW it would turn out badly, the ending made my gut drop to my toes and really drove in the feeling of the moment. It really set the tone for the subsequent scenes and I personally love it when I get so immersed in a movie that it actually makes me emotional about it, so props to him forsucceeding with that.
There were a few bits that I thought were rough or not executed correctly...the part from when the Pevensies get to Narnia to when they rescue Trumpkin seemed to go by SO fast. If I didn't know the story, it might have just whizzed by and I would have lost the moment. To be fair, I understand why they cut that scene so quickly as they needed to get back to Caspian, and on the whole I thought the editing on PC was MUCH better than LWW, because in that movie I felt I was being rushed through the whole thing, and in PC I only felt rushed once or twice. But still, it's a minor quibble I had when I first saw it.
Also, I do wish we, the audience, could have seen Aslan when Lucy did. Although I do know why they didn't show us; they wanted us to doubt just as the rest of the Pevensies were. But really, the audience already knew that Aslan shows up anyway, so there's only so much you can keep "hidden" from your audience and Aslan shouldn't have been one of them.
But all in all, I think Andrew Adamson did a good job, and while I'm excited for a new director for VodT, I have to say I'll miss him!

Digital Effects: 10/10
I give it a ten not because they're necessarily the best CGI I've ever seen (not that I would really know anyway; I'm not all technically geeky like that), but because for the most part, I simply did not notice that there was CGI effects. And as I said before, to not notice something is generally a very good thing.
I loved the River God...that was a really great effect. Aslan was ok...I loved how wonderfully expressive his eyes were, but some of his fur looked a bit off. As far as battles and armies went, it was all pretty flawless except for when the tree took down the catapult; that was clearly CG.

Music (Score): 9/10
Last time I reviewed Narnia, it was a ten...why is it a nine now? Well, not because it didn't work for the movie; it did. It's just that, as I have stated before, I don't like certain aspects of the movie to "draw me out"; break the spell, so to speak. I really shouldn't *notice* music, CGI, makeup, acting, what have you.
Harry Gregson-Williams made the decision to re-use a lot of themes from LWW, and while this works film-wise, for me, it meant that I would recognize the music and notice it. Look, there's a reason why I go cold-turkey on soundtrack clips before I see the movie. I don't WANT to notice things like that, really. I went completely spoiler-free for PC, and yet I ended up noticing the music much more than I wanted to. Again, not because it was bad or anything, it's just that I don't like to notice the music. Nit-picky, but it's true!
I've only listened to the soundtrack once or twice since I saw the movie, and a minor quibble is that it doesn't seem to have any new "magical" themes that populated the first soundtrack; it seems to be comprised of either LWW remixes or battle music. And we all know that you can only listen to battle music for a certain amount of time before it all starts to sound the same.
So it was good, but not spectacular.

Cinematography: 10/10
I think the cinematography in PC was heads and shoulders far better than LWW. And that's not surprising, seeing as there was a different cinematographer this time around. All the shots were fantastic and really showed off the location and sets, which is always great because in LWW I didn't think they "showed off" the lay of the land as much as I'd like.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and this is no exception. Some of the slow-mo shots bugged me because I thought they looked hokey...especially when the shot would slow down lines as well; I just don't think that's very original. Also, I didn't like the camera "following" different objects around, such as just looked extra and show-off-y to me. There's a time and place for being all flashy and showy, but I just thought those shots were misplaced.
But all in all, a huge thumbs-up from me. I really like what Karl did, and I'm sad that he's not coming back.

Adaption: 8/10
Oh my, the Adaption section. What really is there to say that others haven't said already?
I could go on and on, but to sum up my feelings, I think that all in all, the writers and director did a very good job considering what they had to work with. Everyone knew this was going to be such a hard book to adapt...we all knew there were going to be changes. The only question was, what changes would there be, and would they work? So, considering everything, I do think they worked. Sure, I'm not a fan of ALL of the changes. In particular, I really wish they hadn't chopped up the "faith walk" so much; I had REALLY wanted to see it in it's original form. The BBC hadn't done it, and I had really hoped that I would finally get to see it here. No dice, however. :(
Anyway, there's really not much else to be said that hasn't already been said over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and get the point. Final word is, it was good. Not great, not bad, but good. I can think of a lot of things that I would have done differently, but would it have been better? I doubt it.

Costumes: 10/10
I really loved the costumes in this movie; I think Isis is amazing at what she does and I'm so happy she's coming back. I loved the Narnia's clothing and the Telmarine armor was especially spectacular; I LOVED Miraz's reveal in his gold armor. It makes him look so fierce and full of power.
The costumes for the Pevensies were especially good, Susan in particular. I liked her purple dress, her blue-ish outfit, her red outfit, coronation clothes, farewell, she had a lot of costume changes! I think I liked her green Coronation gown better then the blue one she wore at the end; I thought the boning and whatnot made her look a bit stiff and uncomfortable. The boys clothes fit them well, and I loved Lucy's dresses also. Her green print dress at the end was unexpected, but it really fit her and she was beautiful in it. It also fit her age, which I think was good. Caspian's costumes were very good as well, although I'm not a huge fan of the outfit he wore at the end.
Anyway, all in all I really loved the costumes created for this movie, and I'm looking forward very much to seeing what Isis will cook up for the next time.

Makeup/Prosthetics: 10/10
Unlike LWW, I didn't see any jarring ensembles here that totally took me out of the moment and made it quite clear that all the effects were fake. The centaurs are one LWW, I was NOT happy with a lot of the prosthetics on their faces because it just looked so heavy and pasted on. Thankfully, I didn't notice that at all this time around...either I've becomeaccustomed to that style of makeup, or Howard Berger and his team have streamlined the process and made it much more seamless and organic. I'm inclined to think it's a bit of both, but mostly the latter...again, nothing that really took me out of the moment and ruined the experience, so that's a great plus. I was really happy with all the practical effects done all-around...the Dwarfs were great and I thought the Hag was much improved.

So, there you have it, my humble opinion on the movie. Bottom line is, I really enjoyed it, and I think that it turned out very well considering what it could have been like. I think that the spirit of the book is still intact, you may just have to look for it a bit more than you had to in LWW. For people who aren't familiar with the Chronicles, this movie may seem a bit confusing at first, but I think the filmmakers did a great job of bringing viewers up to date.
If you don't like fantasy in general or battles or things like that, Prince Caspian is unlikely to convince you otherwise...unfortunately, I think that if you look at the movie on a whole, it really isn't all that different from a few other fantasy movies.
For folks with little kids, you may want to use caution...although there is very little blood, the action can get quite intense...people get killed in a few cringe-worthy ways, including but not limited to being people flung about like so much baggage, decapitation, a lot of sword slashes at the neck and various other methods. I'm by no means squeamish, but there are a few parts that make me cringe. So a word of warning to those with young, impressionable kids who are likely to fill in the blanks as far as what the camera does not show us.

But, for everyone else, I think you'll like this film. Sure, it's not perfect, but what film is? I'm not good at explaining my feelings, but let me try. The first time I saw the movie, I left happy and satisfied, and the second time I saw it, I left with a smile on my face, humming the words to "The Call", that beautiful song that plays at the end of the movie. If anything, that song reminded me of why I love Narnia so much. It's not because of the action or the battles or even necessarily the people, but the fact that Narnia is my "special" place, the place I can go and be in a different world and see so many different people and places, all while seeing the truth in life mirrored there. The fact that I can go back there anytime I want, whether it be through the books, or the movies, or even just in my own imagination, is special, and these films that they make just intensify that feeling. And the best part is, there's still more coming...we get to go back in two years! And how fantastic is that?

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
'Til it was a battle cry
I'll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye
~ The Call, by Regina Spektor

- Lisa

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