Now, emily_reich will understand why this needed to be done, but for the rest of you cynical types who assume I only went to perv on Ben Barnes...
... whoa, where was I going with that thought? My brain turned off for a second there.
Anyway, I made a list of the Awesome Things About This Movie.
1. The score. I already bought the soundtrack - last night, actually, 15 minutes before B&N closed - and it's just great. I love the score, especially the horns. I love the original songs. I think that driving down the freeway with one of the battle scores playing LOUDLY and my windows down (it was a manageable 95F today) and my hair blowing everywhere was not the smartest thing I've ever done, but it was fun.
2. The costumes. I couldn't stop checking them out. They were just cool :D
3. The duel between Peter and Miraz. I liked how it wasn't just foofy swordsmanship, but they didn't make it look like the swords were 20 pounds either. They used shields/bucklers, vambraces, fists, feet, everything. I saw some complaints that the fight was unrealistically non-bloody, but considering the high body count in this movie the only way they could keep it at PG (which they were contractually obligated by Disney to do, IIRC) was to lose the bodily fluids. Plus, I believe, they had to put in that half-second scene of the empty Telmarine helmet to show that there wasn't a head in it.
4. The military tactics in the final battle. Using Peter to buy time, trapping the cavalry, circling around to outflank them... I appreciated it :)
5. General Glozelle getting a conscience... and still getting whumped by the tree. But then being brave at the end.
6. Lord Sopespian hating Miraz, and actually killing Miraz, but not actually being a good guy. And getting nom nom nomed by the river god. Heheh.
7. Peter and Susan. They were always my favorite, especially Susan, maybe because I'm an older sister. Although I was pretty distracted by all of the Pevensies' crazily full lips. Both times I just about cried at the end where Aslan tells them, and they tell everyone else, that they can't come back. There were these two middle aged black women sitting next to me in the theater and one said, "How heartbreaking!"
8. Queen Prunaprismia getting lines, and important stuff other than just having the kid. Yay!
9. Peter having trouble adjusting back in the 'real world'. I know transitioning between college student (someone who kept her own hours and wasn't responsible for anything besides herself) to Daughter and Household Contributer when I graduated was difficult enough. The Pevensies' actually grew up as Kings and Queens and then had to go back to being just kids again. Even though it wasn't in the book, I can totally buy him being really, really frustrated and willing to lash out because of it.
10. The inclusion of the White Witch. No, she wasn't actually in the book (seeing a pattern?) she worked perfectly as the Temptation for both Caspian and Peter (which helped equalize things between them, I think... the fact that Peter saved Caspian but then Edmund saved Peter) and, lets face it, her actually showing up was a lot more impressive for a movie-going audience than just the threat of her being brought back.
Wow. Look how far I got hardly even mentioning Caspian. Okay, enough of that.
11. The Peter-Caspian rivalry was a natural extension of what I mentioned in #9. Peter was High King... I can't see Edmund ever stepping on his toes during their reign and now Peter feels threatened that there's this other royal fellow hanging around, answering to 'Your Majesty' (and eyeing Susan. Hee).
12. Yeah, Caspian was awesome. I love Peter as the Alpha Male but as a character Caspian was done really, really well. He was scared, he was angry, he was ashamed, he was uncomfortable with getting his toes stepped on (but what was he going to do), and he was hot. Oh, also smitten.
13. The shamefaced looks on Peter and Susan's face when they finally see Aslan. I suppose Edmund embarrassed himself enough the first time 'round that he didn't need to in this case.
14. The centaurs and fauns and other cool things. The CGI was really so much better this time. Glenstorm = LOVE.
15. "Oh, shut up."
16. The way that they gave us stuff from the book without spelling it out. Like the Telmarines being afraid of the forest and the water. Like Glozelle and Sopespian conspiring against Miraz.
17. The fact that both Caspian and Peter screwed up during the attack on the castle. Although that makes Lucy the know it all again. Oh well.
18. The WTF look on Caspian's face for a lot of the movie. Because seriously -- dwarfs and talking animals, strange Narnian beasts, dancing and fighting trees and river gods. For reals.
19. Susan kicking ass.
20. Caspian/Susan. Because she wasn't all fawning (fauning) over him and he had major league hero worship and because DAMN, he's hot (that accent, guuuuh), and SOMEONE should get to enjoy that (at least until Dawn Treader comes along).
Okay, that's all I can think of now. I'm sure I will be back later to add more.