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'Caspian' Recaptures Galloping Magic of 'Narnia'

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The big new movie this weekend is "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." It's the second film based on C.S. Lewis's fantasy premise of ordinary kids being kings and queens in an alternate universe. MORNING EDITION and Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan has a review.

KENNETH TURAN: Things never happen the same way twice, Aslan the all-powerful says in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." While the lion king is referring to the ways of the world, he might be talking about this film as well.

"Prince Caspian" retains the kid-friendly PG rating of the previous episode. But this film is noticeably darker in tone. It begins with the piercing scream of a woman in childbirth, and it dwells on the ruthlessness of its villain, the evil Miraz. When Miraz threatens Prince Caspian, he blows on a magic horn to summon the four siblings from the last film.

The kids are back in London, mired in their tedious everyday lives and dreaming of Narnia. Who wouldn't be?

(Soundbite of movie, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian")

TURAN: The new movie features two long and elaborate battle set pieces that taken together make up a big chunk of its two hour and eighteen minute length.

Made with a cast and crew of close to 2,000, and some of the best special effects houses in the world, this is the kind of adventure epic that believes you can never have too much galloping.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian")

TURAN: Not a drop of blood is shed in all those battles - this is PG, after all. There is even a youthful kiss for sister Susan that's so innocent that even Miley Cyrus wouldn't have to apologize for it. "Prince Caspian" is squarely in the tradition of the kind of teenage movies the Disney organization used to make before teens discovered horror and gore.

Things may not happen the same way twice, but they can get awfully close.

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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MoviesMorning Edition
Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.