Not kidding folks. It happened yesterday when Lisa and I went to Greensboro to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The second adaptation of the classic Lewis fantasy series from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. And there is also plenty in this movie that will remind people of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and even the Harry Potter films.
But it was Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness that this viewer kept finding parallels to. Let's see: Heroes whisked away to another place and time to fight evil? Check. Modern technology used in a medieval setting? Check. Body parts chopped off and replaced? Check. Catapults? Check. Assault on a castle? Check. Ultimate evil brought back from the dead? It almost happens in Prince Caspian, so we'll count it. This movie should have just got it over with and cast Bruce Campbell as Miraz ("Hail to the king, baby.")
For the most part, Andrew Adamson's adaptation is extremely faithful to the book. I'll say that I enjoyed watching it, but I want to watch it again before I'm confident enough to say that I thoroughly loved it.
The biggest problem with Prince Caspian is that it's just so very long. Its cinematic predecessor, 2005's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was longer in screen time but there was so much going on (most of it directly taken from the original book) that the time whisked by. In contrast, there were parts of Prince Caspian that were quite tedious to sit through: Lisa had to nudge me awake during the scene where Miraz is crowned king. This movie could have had 10-15 minutes excised from it, and it would have been a far better film for it.
True to the marketing that's been done for it, Prince Caspian is a far darker movie than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was. But instead of relying on the source material alone to provide a grimmer setting, Adamson and his crew set out to up the stakes and honestly, I don't know if that works well with this kind of adaptation. There are many scenes in the film that are nowhere to be found in Prince Caspian the book, including (by Lisa's count) two extra battle scenes, one of which is the attempt to take the castle. At least one professional reviewer has observed that this movie doesn't provide much other than give the Pevensie kids a chance to hack and kill once they're back in Narnia, and with so much extra violence in this film it's hard to not relent and admit that there's some validity to such a claim. The Christian metaphor of Prince Caspian (I've always thought it was about having faith, as Lucy does when she wants Aslan to appear) is diminished as a result, when it could have been greatly expounded upon in this movie.
But in spite of its flaws, I'll say that The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is worth seeing once in these days of gloomy economy (read as: yeah burn some gas to go see it). The only other thing that I'll complain about it is that I seriously wanted to see more of Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep: that swashbuckling little mouse was the best thing about this movie! Hopefully we'll see more of him when the movie of Voyage of the Dawn Treader is made.