Posted by: David | May 28, 2008

Prince Caspian Reviewed

Warning: spoilers ahead.

Prince Caspian is my least favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia books. I did like it, but it rarely sent me soaring spiritually and emotionally like the other stories did. So when I prepared to watch this newest movie, I did not have as much invested in it as I had for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. My excitement in seeing PC lay mainly in the fact that it was another excursion into the land of Narnia. Oh, and I would get to see Reepicheep.

I came to the movie understanding that there would likely be a lot of plot changes because the original story was too short and simple to fill a full-length picture. Also, I remembered reading from some online interview that there would be a spectacular storming of Miraz’s castle, which was most definitely not in the book. That’s okay. though. These days I have learned to mellow out (a little) when books are translated into movies. I have been able to make two separate categories in my mind for the movie and the book.

All that being said, Guitta and I enjoyed the movie adaptation of Prince Caspian, better even than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As World magazine says in its review of PC, the magic of LWW was missing in its movie adaptation. Take Aslan’s resurrection as just one example. How thrilling and awesome it was in the book! How anti-climactic it was in the movie! However, in PC, a less literal translation from book to movie resulted in a much more moving film.

Two of those changes that I found significant dealt with Peter and Aslan. Peter was much more flawed in the movie. He struggled with the frustration of having to return to being a school boy after reigning for years as the High King of Narnia, and his pride resulted in conflict with Prince Caspian and the loss of many lives in the unsuccessful raid on Miraz’s castle. Aslan was frustratingly absent for most of the film, leading to doubts among many of the characters about whether he cared about them any more.

In one sense, I appreciated the change in Peter’s character, making him more realistic and more human. C. S. Lewis portrayed little of what it must have been like for the children to go back to their lives as boarding school students in the books, and it was interesting to see the screenwriters’ take on that in Peter’s character. In another sense, I missed Peter’s unwavering devotion to nobility and chivalry, which fell short in the movie, especially during the duel with Miraz. In the book, Miraz slipped, and Peter drew back to allow him to regain his footing. In the movie, Peter defeated Miraz and then stepped aside to let Caspian kill him and thus avenge his father’s murder.

I also appreciated the prolonged absence of Aslan in the movie. The frustration of the children as they took part in a losing war echoed the frustrations of every Christian wondering where God is during difficult times or why he allows bad things to happen. When Aslan does reappear in the movie, he doesn’t explain himself, much like God does not always explain himself to us either. (It is true that had the children followed Lucy when she had seen him, then much of the suffering could have been avoided.) Aslan and God are good, though, and sometimes all we have to go on during suffering is that goodness.

One of the most moving parts of PC came at the end, when the children had to leave the beauty and adventure of Narnia and return to the drab world of everyday life. Lucy was so sad to go, and as she left, she turned to look into the face of Aslan. There was such sympathy, kindness, and even sadness in his face as he watched them leave. It made me think of being in heaven and then having to return to this world for a short time.

The movie wasn’t all great, of course. Susan’s little romance with Prince Caspian was corny, and Prince Caspian himself did not seem to have that much to his character. My favorite part of my book, the celebration with Bacchus and the trees, was omitted. Much of the action sequences looked like they borrowed heavily from Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings.

But it was all great fun. The night escape was thrilling, the creatures (escecially Trumpkin and Reepicheep) were great fun, and the battle scenes do not disappoint. I give it a B

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Responses

  1. Did you really enjoy the acting? I felt like the kids mailed it in to a certain extent. Well, at least everyone but Lucy. She is always great (with that character it’s hard not to be great).

    I think I need to watch it again. Good review.

  2. you have an amazing ability to remember so much about the book and the movie. how can you enjoy it if you were thinking so much! 🙂

  3. It has taken a while, but I’ve also learned to mellow when it comes to movie adaptations of beloved books. I think I enjoyed this one as a movie better than LWW as well. It was flawed, but just being given the picture of love and delight flooding Lucy’s face when she sees Aslan made it worthwhile to me. Oh, to love our savior like THAT!

  4. the makers of Prince Caspian kept to the original story surprisingly well… i heard they were going to make it into a silly pure-action flick, but thankfully this was not the case

  5. mdestes, I didn’t find the children’s acting bad enough to take away from the enjoyment of the movie. On the other hand, I don’t expect any of them to win any awards.

    Roberdeau, thanks for the compliment. I remember the books pretty well because I’ve read them many, many times.

    You said it, Caroline. Sometimes I think it’s unfair, though, that some people have actually gotten to SEE him, whether it’s Lucy or Saint Peter. To experience him by faith is hard. I wish my experiences were as vivid as Lucy’s and my love as strong.

    Patrick, I was expecting more deviation from the plot, too. Adamson seems to be a pretty capable and sensitive director so far. I do remember, though, that Peter Jackson was pretty true for his first two films; in the third film, he seemed to take more liberties.

  6. Uh, “Mother” is me. I’m visiting my mom and writing on her computer.

    Thought I’d try to clarify that.

  7. Hey, Bro! A new entry is in order. Love to you & Guitta. Congrats on your progress as to a place.


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