“Things never happen the same way twice” says Aslan, the mighty, regal lion voiced by Liam Neeson in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Sad, but true. Such is the case with this film, the highly anticipated follow-up to the 2005 phenomenon that captivated audiences, earned $744 million and inspired the best “SNL” skit in years.

This time around, don’t expect to be taken to a dream world of magic. The four Pevensie siblings (William Moseley, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley and Anna Popplewell) return to Narnia a year after their last visit to find 1,300 Narnian years have past.

Their once opulent kingdom has been decimated by the evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). His nephew, Prince Caspian (newcomer Ben Barnes, who studied Mandy Patinkin in The Princess Bride to prepare for his role), is forced to flee to evade death. Together, the Pevensies and Caspian mount a rebellion with their Narnian allies including Trumpkin (a delightfully surly Peter Dinklage) and Reepicheep, a swashbuckling mouse brilliantly voiced by Eddie Izzard.

Trumpkin warns, “You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.”

Caspian is darker, bloodier and duller. This is not a children’s movie, but it fails for adults as well. There are glimmers of the first film’s wonder, but they’re fleeting.

Grade: C+

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is currently in theaters.