Last Wednesday, a group of us from school went to see Prince Caspian, and I thought I’d give a review of sorts. I’m not a movie reviewer, although I was the official movie critic for my college newspaper for a semester.
First of all, I enjoyed the movie – really enjoyed it. The scenery was magnificent. The casting choices were good for the most part. The battle scenes were magnificent. The story kept my attention. It was worth the price of admission.
After I read the book, which hasn’t been that long ago, I wondered how it could be made into a movie. Of the five Narnia books I’ve finished, Prince Caspian has been my least favorite. The horn blows. The Pevensie’s are transported to a Narnia they don’t recognize. Trumpkin the dwarf fills in historical holes that consume fifty pages. They go on a long walk. Prince Caspian meets the “Narnian kings and queens of old.” A battle scene. The Pevensie’s leave Narnia, two of them never to return. That’s basically the book.
Joe Carter, from Evangelical Outpost, makes the point that this is a different film than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He writes,
While Wardrobe was a rather literal book-to-film translation, Caspian is a loose adaptation. This is a wholly good and necessary change, for the book, one of the weaker Narnia tales, is structurally flawed and narratively flabby.
To compensate, the movie includes a variety of new elements; some that deepen the story (an extended siege on a castle) and others that serve as minor diversions (a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it romance). Overall, though, the liberties taken are what transform the talky, walking-through-the-woods book into an action packed honest to goodness war movie.
Aside from several things I didn’t like that much (Prince Caspian’s accent and the near-comic treatment of Reepicheep), the movie had every element necessary to convey C.S. Lewis’ messages.
Lucy was ever-faithful, constantly on the watch for Aslan and ready to hear his voice. Edmund was the crucial ingredient needed to resist the temptation of the White Witch. Peter and Prince Caspian were reminded on several occasions that they could never accomplish what they planned on their own (“Remember who defeated the White Witch before”). Reepicheep displayed nobility, courage, and dedication above and beyond any of the Sons of Adam or Daughters of Eve (although he had a prideful streak). Trumpkin is the picture of a conversion. Narnia wasn’t a “superstition that we modern people don’t believe anymore” was it?
I saved the best for last – Aslan. Contrary to what some have thought, I don’t think Aslan was absent from the movie at all. He was everywhere! Narnia is his creation (he sung it into existence in The Magician’s Nephew). He sustains it, rules it, and reigns in it even if he can’t be seen all the time by everyone. Aslan is present, but don’t expect him to be at your beck-and-call. He comes and goes on his timetable, not anyone else’s. I don’t think any other character in fiction has captured my attention like Lewis’ Aslan. I still get goose bumps and a cold chill down my spine when I hear the line from Wardrobe, “Aslan is on the move.”
In short, I loved the movie and, with a caveat or two, would enthusiastically recommend it. (The caveat is that the battle scenes are not gory or graphic, but intense.)
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