First I need to admit that I'm a big C. S. Lewis fan. Pretty much anything he writes--fiction, theology, philosophy, et al.--is brilliant. I do love me some Clives Staples Lewis. There, my bias is out in the open.
The first thing to remember when seeing this movie is that it's for kids. Some people try to compare it to Lord of the Rings, but that's a big mistake. While Lewis and Tolkien were dear friends, they wrote to different audiences. Although Rings can be read by juveniles, Narnia is tailored for that audience; the movies, additionally, mirror that fact. Narnia--the films--should be put in the same category as all the Harry Potter films: they're for kids, but adults can enjoy them too.
Just as the most recent Potter movie was darker, so is this new Narnia film. There is much more killing (although it is bloodless) and one of the plot lines, whether Prince Caspian should kill his uncle, is fairly mature as well.
The classic complaint of a sequel in a series is that there is little character development. The Two Towers was a classic example of this. I went into this film not expecting much development and I was correct. This isn't necessarily a detriment though. Prince Caspian is a great bridge from the first movie to the next one. If, on the other hand, you didn't see the first one, you'll have a hard time enjoying Prince Caspian. Speaking of Caspian or, rather, the actor that plays him (Ben Barnes), he is going to be the biggest movie star to emerge from this amateur group of actors.
The setting (mostly New Zealand) is spectacularly beautiful (would you expect anything else from the land of the Conchords?) and the special effects are good too. I thought to myself a number of times during Prince Caspian, "I'm so freaking glad that George Lucas isn't directing/producing this movie." There is plenty of smooth CGI, but a lot of times the characters are real people in costumes. Yes, I know, that would probably cause Lucas to spontaneously combust to go back to people instead of 100% computer-generated characters, so thank you director Andrew Adamson (who also helped write the screenplay). This is amazing b/c Adamson's other films are the Shrek films, which, if you know me at all, you know that I'm not a fan.
Final Grade: B
Blurb: Caspian a good movie (just as good as Lion/Witch/Wardrobe), but there are some caveats: don't expect much character development; don't go into it expecting Lord of the Rings; don't forget the target audience. If you can do those things, you'll find that Caspian is just as good as any Harry Potter film.