Improving on the first installment, with tighter direction and pacing, this Narnia steps closer to the genre of Braveheart or even 300, but perhaps a few steps away from a fairy tale with an easily learned moral.
I greatly enjoyed the care put into the picture from the mysteriously magical opening to the curious interactions between interesting characters, to the more meticulous battle scenes. Though dialogue seldom flows in depth, characters are defined and developed in subtle ways – a contemplative look, a quick side comment, or simply by a difficult decision. The production sports fantastic, nearly seamless creations of impossible graphics and beautifully creative/majestic characters, and good acting even; you will be compelled and involved.
For me, this is an A movie up until an important one man against one man fight to the death scene. I'm not C.S. Lewis, I didn't write this story, nor did I read the book – but it seems to me the marbles were on the line here. Unfortunately, the story squanders an awesome opportunity to make meaningful sense of all this bloodless (for the PG rating) bloodshed. After all, with the hubbub about this being a "Christian film," why is there so much "us" vs. "them?" Why is there so much energy spent on weapons and killing and less on seeking much more interesting, awkward, difficult, introspective, creative, inspired, meaningful resolution to conflict?
Because of this missed opportunity and unneeded extra time given to almost redundant battling, that A rating drops to an A-. I certainly would have preferred to stick with the A-, but by the next day, I felt an emptiness over the lack of profundity. (Hence, the final B+ rating). Could it be that any such lessons learned in this picture were lost in the warring?
Overall, while still a good flick, in my humble opinion, not quite a kid's film.
Read my review of Narnia: Lion, Witch, Wardrobe.
Read the first chapters of my books.
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