Friday, May 16, 2008

Prince Caspian

Besides being really, really tired this morning I'm pretty jazzed about the premiere of Prince Caspian last night. I was disappointed that no one dressed up and looked like a Faun but I guess that get up would be uncomfortable to sit in a movie theater with. Plus aren't shirts required to watch a movie? Anyway, since a lot of people have not watched the movie yet, I thought this would be a good place to get my thoughts of it down. So please understand that I'm going to spoil the movie! If you have not seen it yet, please don't read any further!

~*Major Spoilers*~

Prince Caspian (PC) was one of my favorite books as a kid. I remember the first time reading it in fourth grade when I moved to Hawaii and I think I've read it every year since. I know that high expectation can kill a movie going experience. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (LWW) lived up to a lot I expected but it still seemed to lack some important things I wanted. PC though had every major scene that I loved from the book and more!

From the opening scene you know it is going to be a darker plot then LWW as Caspian rushes out of the castle to escape his power-hungry uncle, who just found out that he had a son but Caspian stood in the way of this son becoming king. The movie has Caspian meeting Trufflehunter and Nikabrik pretty quick and has him blowing the horn even sooner but in the big scheme of things this makes sense with where they were going with the movie. In the book PC blows the horn in the midst of a battle they are losing. This is probably the biggest departure the movie makes but it worked. Thankfully!

I loved it when the Pevensies first came on the screen because you could see that they truly wanted to be back in Narnia. How do you go from being Kings and Queens to grade school again? I think the movie captured this angst really well! When they first get to Narnia you really feel their excitement and then you also feel there devastation when they realize that Mr. Tumnus and the Beavers are not going to be there anymore. That was a powerful line from Lucy.

My favorite characters in this story are easily Edmund and Lucy. Edmund has grown (physically) and matured in this film and I almost wish he was in it more! They kept his sword fight with Trumpkin in the movie and I loved it. Trumpkin though I'm going to have to wait to judge because he was probably the biggest departure from the book character wise. I think it still worked but I don't know yet if I liked it. I loved the scene where Edmund believes Lucy about seeing Aslan but my favorite scene with Edmund is easily the one where Caspian and Peter are entranced by the white witch. She is a locked up in an icicle and in order to get out needs a drop of Adam's blood. Caspian (at the point of a sword) almost gives but Peter pushed him away at first to resist but you can see the tension he has about maybe letting her out to help! Where has Aslan gone anyway? You can see the indecisiveness in Peters eyes just as the ice begins to crack and finally breaks apart with the witch screaming. There stands Edmund with a giant lion on the wall behind him. It was easily the most redemptive part of the movie and a great example of how far Edmund has come!

Lucy is simply amazing in this movie. You could feel her anguish when she realized that Mr. Tumnus wouldn't be there and that many of those dreams she had were going to be different. The one part I did not like was in the scene with the white witch they had Lucy attacking Nikabrick. I doubt that very highly. That one downside though did not spoil the many brilliant scenes she had. The Dancing Lawn scene were she finally sees Aslan as the trees danced was incredible and right from the book. They decided to make it a dream instead of a real event but it still worked really well. I loved the scene directly after the white witch scene when Peter is sitting by the stone table looking up at the picture of the Lion wondering where Aslan has gone and why he won't show himself. Lucy comes and sits down and talks with him about Aslan seeming to be MIA. You could see Peter was struggling with the fact he almost let the white witch out! Peter says: "I wish Aslan would show himself to me." Lucy replied: "Maybe he is waiting for us to show ourselves to Him."

Overall I gave this movie an 8 out 10 because there were parts in the middle where it seemed to drag. As a fan of the book I did not mind at all but a lot of people were getting up to go to the bathroom so you could tell they thought it was a little long.

Themes from the book were easily shown in the movie and they even expanded on one of them in a way I would never have expected. Aslan barely has anytime in the movie and that works well because it feeds Peter's doubt about Aslan being there to help. Why would Aslan let all these people die? Why would he not come in and save the day? If Aslan was always there then that would have created a whole other issue. Instead, making a theodicy of it worked pretty well in the story! I also loved the friendship, faith, and hope that are clearly presented. Lucy and Edmund show all of these characteristics and magnify them!

The Prince Caspian/Susan romance was perhaps the thing I dreaded the most but I have to say it worked pretty well. The infamous "kiss" scene also was tactfully done and fit the moment. I had no problem with it. Peter was a big departure from the character in the book but you could tell he was struggling with not being respected as the high king. He has some funny lines with that and it worked when you saw him struggling with his identity, especially in light of Caspian. Reepicheep is a hoot and really presents well Lewis' idea of what chivalry is. When it comes to the issue of Susan fighting so much I didn't really have a problem with it but it didn't seem to fit the character. Especially given that she hates "wars" and is sort of a pacifist in the stories. That was a little bit of a departure but I understood why.

Prince Caspian was a great movie and a faithful adaptation of the book. More then LWW was and the fight scenes in this movie are just incredible. The reason I gave it an 8 out of 10 was because it did drag towards the middle and then in the end scenes you really never understand why Lucy runs off the way she does. Where is she going to meet Aslan? I might have missed an explanation but it didn't seem to fit. I loved it in the end where they had the Reepicheep being healed by Lucy and Aslan growing his tale back. The honor of a mouse! I also loved that the last line of the movie is the last line of the book. Caspian also was great and the best scene he has was when Aslan asked all of the Kings and Queens to stand and all the Pevensies stood but PC did not. It was a powerful show of what true leadership is! The movie is very family friendly and may be a little intense for young ones but it kept bad stuff out of it and made an amazing movie I think C.S. Lewis would have been proud of! Now let's just hope they do the same thing with Voyage of the Dawn Treader!


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14