The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

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By Mark Ramsey | 2008/05/20

A train rumbles by our young heroes, and – ZAP! – they’re on a beach, where their pasty white skin meets the greatest threat to Narnia yet – UV rays!

Narnia has been overtaken by a nation of Spanish conquistadors, it seems. Only some of whom have a Spanish accent and then only some of the time. No matter, because these medieval nobles control all the land, right down to the ruffles on their sleeves.

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Little did these Spaniards know that the mythical beasties of Narnia lived!

“They’ve been breeding like COOK-roaches under a ROOK,” says the sorely-in-need-of-subtitles evil uncle of Prince Caspian. “There is a DEESTOURbance in the Force as measured by the ruffles on my sleeves!” he adds.

With that, our heroic “Kings and Queens of Old” appear out of their 20th Century wartime English upper-class boarding school ready to raise a sword, a pinkie finger, and a spot of tea for Narnia.

“Next THEENG you know,” says the evil uncle, “we will face an army of talking badgers, mice with swords, little people, and bears!”

Sure enough! It’s a battle featuring the stuffed denizens of a pre-teen girl’s bedroom!

If there’s one genre of family film that’s my personal favorite, it’s the one featuring a sword-fight to the death.

Yes, I know, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian has kids and talking animals – but if Taxi Driver had starred a chatty beaver, would that have been a family film, too?

You’re never too young for a primer on intra-species warfare, I always say. Get ready for lots of killing and no blood – even when a sword runs somebody through. Because, after all, war is above all things tidy.

The evil warriors are so bad-ass they have helmets stamped with facial hair. Evidently if a sword and suit of armor do not signal enough toughness – bring on the facial accouterments of Tom Selleck and Magnum P.I. “I wasn’t terrified by the armored guy on horseback,” said one Narnian. “But my soul chills at the sight of his stainless steel goatee!”

Like your local petting zoo, the rules of conduct in Narnia amount to this: Don’t feed the animals – and for God’s sake, don’t furnish them with swords.

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His Young Highness takes a three minute respite from his battle to the death. It was only then His Highness realized it will be centuries before somebody invents a clock! What to do now? Conveniently, Narnia just received its first shipment of Grand Theft Auto IV and nothing’s more challenging than playing a game console with hooves.

“Thanks to the Blitz, video games are hard to come by in wartime London!” says our King, leading an army of accented Narnians whose day jobs are likely to include voice work for the BBC.

Our heroes are aided by the centaurs, creatures with the chest of a man, the legs and torso of a horse, and a craving for sugar cubes and hay like you can’t believe.

This is one of those movies where characters exclaim stuff that makes no sense to anybody other than whoever’s doing the exclaiming: “The Lord of Vickery and the Lady of Tears have come together in the high heavens!”

Well, odds bodkins! The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain!

Prince Caspian is on the run, fearful for his life. And fearful for the life of Shannon Doherty whom he so closely resembles. But alas, Caspian has eyes for one of our Kings and Queens of Old, and thus begins the stirring of young and ruffle-shirted love.

There’s a lesson in this movie and I think it’s that you shouldn’t send an army of dwarves, bears, and badgers to do a tree’s work.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is one continuous and tiresome stream of last minute saves.

Why can’t all the mythical forest creatures just get along?!

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