Book adaptations must be a tightrope for filmmakers. On one hand, you want to keep enough of the book to please its readers, but on the other hand, you want to make a movie that has a natural flow and pace. “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” errs a little on the side of literary inclusion.
Based on the C.S. Lewis novel, “Caspian” sees the return of the Pevensie kids to Narnia some 1,300 years after the events of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Much has changed “ the main difference being that the land is now ruled by the murderous Telmarines, a mysterious group that invaded Narnia and set up shop several hundred years prior. Caspian (Ben Barnes) is the Telmarine heir apparent, waiting until he’s old enough to take the throne vacated by his father’s untimely death.
Like its predecessor, “Caspian” sports terrific special effects and solid enough acting. But there’s so much going on with that source material plot-wise that there isn’t enough breathing room to build sufficient character empathy.
Another element held over from the books that could have gone away is Lewis’ subtext of lily-white racial and religious superiority. The books “ especially the later ones in the series “ have a real racist thread running through them. There’s a bit of that here. It’s not overt or obviously offensive, but there’s still something slimy about it. It will be interesting to see how Disney handles Lewis’ Eurocentric treatment of the Other in future installments.