Making the Grades
By the time the doors of the wardrobe close in the first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia , the Pevensie siblings, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) have been crowned as royalty in Narnia and grown to adulthood. But while chasing a wild stag through the forest, the four of them come upon a lamppost that seems vaguely familiar. Pushing their way through the thicket behind the lamp, they find themselves tumbling out of the wardrobe and onto the floor of the English country house where they have been sent as children to avoid the World War II bombing raids.
As the sequel begins, the four of them are once again school children in England, wearing uniforms and relegated to anonymity among the throng of displaced students. However, for Peter who ruled Narnia as the High King, the adjustment is a difficult one and his demand for respect from his peers frequently finds him on the wrong end of a fist.
Then one day while waiting in the subway, an unscheduled train screams through the station, tearing away the brick walls and opening a passageway back to the idyllic shores of Narnia. Frolicking in the crystal clear waters, it takes a while for the children to realize that more than a thousand years in Narnia have passed since they left the land and that the ruins atop the cliff are all that remains of their kingdom home.
Peace has also fled from Narnia. Years earlier, the Telmarines invaded the tranquil empire driving the land's fabled creatures deep into the woods to avoid extinction. Within the walls of the Telmarine castle, treachery is afoot. When a son is born to Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) and his wife Prunaprismia (Alicia Borrachero), the ambitious lord claims the throne as his own and conspires to dispose of the rightful heir, his nephew, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes).
Escaping into the enchanted forest, the prince discovers the magical beings he thought existed only in his mentor's (Vincent Grass) stories. Uniting with them, he proposes a plan to dethrone King Miraz and restore peace. However, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy's arrival imperils the efforts of the young prince who finds himself vying with the High King for leadership of the Narnians.
Embracing all the epic splendor of the first film, the sequel utilizes a fair amount of creative license to cut to the core of C. S. Lewis' story and present a polished, well-paced account of intrigue and human foibles. Along with the talking animals and legendary beings, the script also introduces a calloused, sardonic dwarf (Peter Dinklage) who considers the realm's savior, Aslan (voice by Liam Neeson) to be nothing more than myth. Ramping up the suspense and the intensity of the clashes between the Narnians and the Telmarines, the conflicts involve weapons, catapults and intense hand-to-hand skirmishes similar to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. During the fray, numerous secondary human and animal characters are killed by arrow, sword or decapitation, some of which are seen on screen. Yet many struggles are fought in the hearts of the young royals as well, as they attempt to overcome pride, stand up to evil and believe in their own talents.
Enhancing and escalating the classic tale without losing the essence of the author's message, Prince Caspian's account is an engaging escape to a magical world best suited for older fans of C.S. Lewis.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian.
What challenges do each of the children face when they return to Narnia? Why is Lucy able to see Aslan when the others are not? What individual talents do each of them develop?
Many of the creatures in Narnia no longer speak because they have been treated like dumb animals. How can the treatment of a person or animal affect the way they behave?
What does Prince Caspian learn about nobility and honor? How is his own honor challenged?
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe introduces four young children who discover a secret passage in a wardrobe that leads to the land of Narnia. This movie is followed by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Peter Dinklage who plays a dwarf in this film also stars as a mad scientist in Underdog, an unscrupulous reporter in Penelope and a grumpy author in Elf.
You can get a look at behind the scenes of Prince Caspian here (Hoover over the image box and push the play control):