This is an astonishing - and astonishingly underrated - piece of cinema. The scrambled chronology seems, at first, obscure. But the denouement is so utterly powerful that one is led to see the film again and again - and each viewing reveals the depth of artistry involved, all of it tied together by Clooney's brilliant understatement in the lead role. In a class with "Z", "Three Days of the Condor", and"The French Connection."
I finally caught "Prince Caspian" the other night. I was surprised at how much fun I had watching it.
- I liked the opening of the film and the progression of the opening titles over scenes of Caspian's escape from the castle.
- I liked the Reepicheep-point-of-view invasion of Miraz' castle.
- I enjoyed the high film-speed effect on some of the battle scenes, and how raw and energetic the combat between Miraz and Peter was.
- I was very surprised by how interesting Miraz was. I loved the scene where he was pressed by Edmund, and by his own council, into one-on-one combat with Peter. I loved that Miraz (most of the time) wasn't overplayed or underplayed - he seemed to have just the right amount of animation to seem corrupt and ambitious without becoming a simple caricature (certain sneering, Lord of the Rings villains come to mind).
The 4 Pevensie children intersect with Caspian much earlier in the film than they do in the book, which brings about some interesting conflicts within characters. There is the romantic attraction btw. Susan and Caspian. And the absence of Aslan has a different effect on the characters as they discuss their choices. There is a pronounced rivalry between Peter and Prince Caspian that, strangely, never seemed to sway the loyalties of the Narnians as I would expect it to. In the book, Lewis does away with any conflict between Peter and Caspian with a single line from Peter: "I haven't come to take your place, you know, but to put you into it." (p.184)
Requires more than one viewing
Reviewed by KHL for Vanilla Sky at 2008-03-24 17:36:48
I know that I was a bit perplexed on the first viewing, but after the second or third time I began to really appreciate the complexity that director Crowe uses to build the story and give small and subtle cues about the plot early on. Like or hate Tom Cruise, he is excellent as David, a petulant and shallow person whose life is changed by a sudden event. David must face the person he is and the things he's done, but what else is really going on and why does reality seem to be competing with fantasy in David's mind?
Some may find this long, drawn out and boring (see the completely mixed reviews of critics and filmgoers), but if you're willing to be patient, I think it's a highly rewarding and thought provoking film. Diaz as the psycho ex from hell, Cruz as the bubbly new love and Lee as the wisecracking friend all give great performances as well and the soundtrack fits amazingly with the themes and moods of the film.
What a great film. I suspect many viewers, like me, will find this film to be much like "Syriana"--poignant, sad, topical, current, and a great vehicle for Clooney's acting abilities. Superb supporting cast; great script, and another excellent performance by Clooney.