2008 // UK - USA // Andrew Adamson // March 30, 2010 // Netflix Instant
It was probably a foregone conclusion that the dreariest of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books would make for a much more schematic, lifeless film than director Adamson's reverential but suitably vigorous The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This tale of a royal youth deprived of his rightful throne by a scheming nobleman is pure fantasy paint-by-numbers. Without the series' talking animals—who remain its most charming trait, especially when placed alongside the dour mythological critters—and the parallel-world plot wrinkles, there wouldn't be much to distinguish Prince Caspian from countless other epic sword-and-destiny outings. Adamson is doing his level best to give Disney their own Lord of the Rings, but neither he nor the source material is up to the task. The Pevensie kids, who seemed so perfectly actualized in the previous film, now feel static and far less compelling. The most conspicuous problem is that neither the medium nor Adamson's crude Jackson-cribbing approach provide much room for Lewis' curious cosmology to unspool, and so we're left a mildly entertaining and largely anonymous adventure... and not much else.