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New York City Film – Bee Reel: If You’re So Obliged

Posted Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 9:45 am by Dash in Cultural Bees. More in 10014

Prince Caspian You know how every once in a while, you dread seeing a particular movie, even as you understand that you have no choice but to plunk down your money and go? That’s how I feel this week about Prince Caspian , the second installment in The Chronicles of Narnia film adaptations.

I absolutely loved the books as a kid, reading each of them multiple times and “Caspian” always ranked among my favorites. But the first effort to bring the land to 21st century CGI-life, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe , was … not disappointing, so much as … underwhelming. It was non-offensive to hardcore Narnia fans, it covered all the bases, and even had a few “Wow!” moments, but it didn’t open your eyes the way you hope a film that important (to you) will. I saw it, I didn’t hate it. The end.

Since there’s no indication Prince Caspian will be anything more than another helping of the same, I’m not exactly thrilled about filing into a crowded theater this weekend and paying $20 in tickets and popcorn to sit through it. But I probably will, because I have to. That’s what you do for stories you love, stories you’re invested in–it’s an obligation film. Even though I’m not excited about, I’ll do my duty and go. I’ll probably like it, I might even love it (Unlikely. I never pictured the Prince as a brooding hottie), but am I in love with with idea of it? Are you in love with the idea of a talking lion, or would you prefer a talking lion that sounds exactly like Liam Neeson? Don’t answer that.

For New Yorkers in need of a fantasy blockbuster break, your best bet for this week is Film Forum . Over the weekend, they’re screening Battle For Haditha , an Iraqi war drama. It’s hard to remember sometimes, that there were actual World War II movies filmed in the middle of World War II, but unlike those rah-rah patriot-fests, this one is gritty, tough, and possibly hard to handle for those who are emotionally invested in this story. (Which should be all of us.)

If you recover from that, you can switch to lighter fare when Annie Hall returns to the same theater on Wednesday. If that’s on your list of “movies I should see, but haven’t yet” (a different kind of obligation list), now is a great time to check it off.

But back to Prince C. There are lot of obligation movies out there this summer, depending on where your superhero/comic book/general nerdery allegiances lie. Batman, Hulk, Hellboy, Maxwell Smart, Carrie Bradshaw, and one big one that we’ll get to next week. And that’s why sequels, remakes, and adaptations will never go out of style in Hollywood. The guaranteed captive audience. Even if you don’t want to see your favorites characters brought to life … you know you’re going to.

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