Welcome back to Narnia. This year instead of James McAvoy and a Winter-themed terror, we share with you a cruel conspiracy filled monarchy, and oh yes, plenty of violence. The story takes the Pevensie children (all nicely and noticeably aged a little) as they head back to Narnia, this time a year or two for them, but it’s been a rough few hundred years for the Narnians. An evil race of tyrannical humans known as the Talmeranians have taken over Narnia, and their newest leader, King Miraz, is not so loving to his nephew, Prince Caspian. Soon he’s teaming up with the Pevensie kids to help re-claim Narnia. (To be honest, I could have spent 5 paragraphs telling the plot.) One thing I was actually quite cautious about entering this movie was the fact that I have out-grown the sort of mystic incredibly fairy-tale style, and was hoping the movie wasn’t too magical or campy, and that’s exactly what I got. The dark tone of the film’s governmental issues and character struggles worked perfect for me. I absolutely loved the idea of a dark Narnia, this utopia of sorts being torn apart by war and feuds, and it’s up to these kids that left the place as this wonderful to world to adjust to that change and then try to fix it. It proved to be a more interesting plot than the first film. This movie also did a great job at providing some lush environments, and some new characters. The dwarfs, mice warriors, centaurs, bison, are all incredibly designed by the creative teams at Walden Media and Disney. There’s also the breath taking visual take on Miraz’s army, which was definitely a sight to see for any army or war nerds. This installment of the franchise also carried a lot heavier action sequences, once again re-initiating the darker tone. The action sequences in a dark loud room provide the ultimate cinematic experience. The action is way more brutal, real, and quick than in LW&W, something I really appreciated. The music and score in this movie are also some of the best I’ve heard in a while. One thing kinda fret over though is that, sure, I’m praising all these things-the action, darkness, etc., but isn’t that kinda the tone of the book? I’m just hoping the Dawn Treader doesn’t resort to the ultra campy feel the first movie resorted to sometimes. I hope it keeps up the darker and more real feel to this alternate world. The only real thing I could point out that I didn’t really like in the movie was that it didn’t really focus as much on the back story of the Prince’s origin, the Prince himself, or even the ending of the film as much as I felt should have. I felt like there could have been more explored with his character. Other than that, besides being slow in some portions, the movie provides a great time. Overall, if you’re looking for a great action packed, dark, reality-themed fantasy adventure (that’s a mouthful), or even just a book to movie fan, then you can’t go wrong with this movie. Unless you’re that poor guy Susan stands up.
4 1/2 out of 5