Monday, May 19, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

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8 comments:

  1. I'm not so sure what point I'm trying to make with this one, except that I couldn't get Miraz's vaguely similar appearance to 300's King Leonidas out of my head. Even their helmets bear certain resemblences to each other, although I've forgot to draw Miraz's here. It's a damn cool helmet, too. In any case, it's a good thing for Peter that there were no bottomless pits invovled in their duel.

    This movie largely did not disappoint. Thematically, it works almost as well as it should have - Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are sort of misfits in their own world because they've already lived through puberty and mid-life crisis but have been thrust back into childhood. The Telmarines look like medieval conquistador pirates (And how much cooler can you get than THAT), which is exactly what they are. Narnia is in heavily-forested ruins, and the natives have gone - well, native. The talking animals were spot-on in terms of my expectations.

    As must always happen, the movie is different from the book. But the changes were almost all for the better ("Changes" meaning "new things they put in for the movie", not "things they left out"). I really don't see the point of the five-second-romance between Caspian and Susan, and it's pretty horrifying to see Peter act like a prissy childish "grown-up in his own mind" all of the time. I would even say that Peter is so not what I expected that his character is the worst thing about the movie. For me.

    The second-worst thing is the half-live-action CGI. I.e., the centaurs and minotaurs and junk. They look pretty bad except for when the creatures are standing still. And it's clearly at its worst for the centaurs, such as when a herd of them glide up with clearly synchronized computer-rigid movements to hold swords up in a ceremony. And it doesn't help to show them next to real horses.

    The third-worst thing about Prince Caspian was that the talking bear was criminally underused. Tied for third-worst is how certain elements of the story just fly right in and out of the movie with no fanfare or warning. There's a giant, briefly. One wonders where he'd been until that moment, and how he possible can have disappeared after that moment has passed. It's not as bad as how fucked the role of the giant in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was, but it is badly confusing because giants are huge. There's an important fight with a hag-thing and a wolfman, except that they disappear as if the director forgot that they'd ever been there after a few moments. Etcetera.

    Well, that all sounds like quite a downer (And I've left things out - in particular, I suppose, the retarded and stilted-feeling way the duel was won), and it is. But almost all of the characters that DO recieve any focus at all are great (Obviously not Peter). Edmund really stands out from his three siblings as an actual character and not just a caricature, which is funny because he seems to have the least amount of screentime. Caspian is pretty good, except for the "We've got to market him as a smokin' teenage heartthrob! He should look intensely at Susan until she kisses him!" thing. Reepicheep will remind everyone of Puss in Boots from Shrek, except he's a mouse and, quite honestly, came first. The action is pretty good, except for when it is retarded for the sake of "Shrek's director thought this would look cool". Slow-motion, weird CGI stunts, etc. The split-second "Capoeira fauns" made me happy, though, and all of the location, costume and prop design work that went into the movie is pretty awesome to see.

    It seems as if no one thinks this is as good as the first movie (Which is odd, since no one seemed to think much of the first movie. Don't know what you have until you lose it, eh?). If I had to sound gay, I would agree that Prince Caspian doesn't feel as magical as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That's pretty much the POINT of Prince Caspian, though (And said point returns in the final book) - Narnia has been overthrown by people who've done their best to exterminate all the magical things in Narnia. Makes sense to me. Honestly, I feel that Prince Caspian was pulled off better than the first movie was. It just wasn't successfully made into an epic movie (Nor could it ever be - "epic" would be something like The Lord of the Rings, which is not a children's book series). It lands much closer to "interesting diversion" territory.

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  2. Time-lapse videos of drawing things are all the rage, I hear, so here is one of me drawing today's picture. It is very slightly sped up.

    Click here to view.

    It is neither a video nor "very slightly" sped up. You're just going to have to deal with that.

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  3. Prince Caspian is a movie with problems. Jai's review is spot on, but the thing is that most of what he says about the movie is negative. What it comes down to is whether or not you're going to let the numerous problems ruin the movie for you or not. For me they do not completely ruin the movie but I do find myself being very middle of the road with it. If I'm talking about Prince Caspian with someone who loves it I'm able to totally get excited about certain scenes I recall. If I'm takling about it with someone who hates it then I find myself totally agreeing with them as well.

    There are going to be differences between books and movies. The additional scenes in this seemed fine. Removing key points about how the characters were having a tougher road because they didn't seek out Azlan HURTS the movie. There is some implication about how we see the characters talk about "we've waited for Azlan long enough" and so on, but it's never directly discussed and since Azlan doesn't bring up their attitude the whole script is moot in that regard anyway. It really does seem like Azlan is hanging out in the woods ignoring everyone until the very end and that hurts the character dramatically.

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  4. Yeah, that was a point I forgot to mention - the movie makes Aslan look more to blame than (Or just as much to blame as) the kids. It should have been more along the lines of the scene where Lucy asks if all the people who'd died already wouldn't have if she'd tried to get to Aslan sooner, and less along the lines of ignoring all of that in favor of pumping in some longer action sequences.

    As negative as my review is in tone (Which most of my reviews are, I think), I actually liked the movie. I'm not too good at making that sort of stance clear while I bitch about the things I've found fault with.

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  5. PS: I was thinking of Parkour, not Capoeira. An easy mistake to make since they are both so awesome.

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  6. I pretty much agree with everything you said, Jai, though I LOVED the movie and I am fairly forgiving when it comes to awkward looking centaurs, etc. I mean, I think its fairly amazing that they got centaurs to look *that* good! I'll have to compare them with tLtWatW to see if there was a downturn in quality.

    Peter's character was markedly different than the book, which while it made him more 'human', you'd think after a lifetime of being the good High King he would have resisted turning into a stuck up pouty teenager again.

    I LOVED the fauns leaping about inside the courtyard. One of the best moments for me. :D

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  7. As an aside, why has no one youtubed the bear yet? He totally stole the show.

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  8. Mr Bear needs his own spin off series...or did that already happen? As you all know the bear is an allegory for hairy gay men, you never can get enough... no wait maybe that's not right. *Fast Cars*, yeah! I meant that instead. The other was a little homo-sexsual (stewie voice) sounding.

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