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Saturday, May 17, 2008


There is something very odd at work if I'm watching a film based on one of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books and the one thing I can't stop thinking about is "Dear Lord, this movie is too much like Army of Darkness!"

Not kidding folks. It happened yesterday when Lisa and I went to Greensboro to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. The second adaptation of the classic Lewis fantasy series from Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media. And there is also plenty in this movie that will remind people of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and even the Harry Potter films.

But it was Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness that this viewer kept finding parallels to. Let's see: Heroes whisked away to another place and time to fight evil? Check. Modern technology used in a medieval setting? Check. Body parts chopped off and replaced? Check. Catapults? Check. Assault on a castle? Check. Ultimate evil brought back from the dead? It almost happens in Prince Caspian, so we'll count it. This movie should have just got it over with and cast Bruce Campbell as Miraz ("Hail to the king, baby.")

For the most part, Andrew Adamson's adaptation is extremely faithful to the book. I'll say that I enjoyed watching it, but I want to watch it again before I'm confident enough to say that I thoroughly loved it.

The biggest problem with Prince Caspian is that it's just so very long. Its cinematic predecessor, 2005's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was longer in screen time but there was so much going on (most of it directly taken from the original book) that the time whisked by. In contrast, there were parts of Prince Caspian that were quite tedious to sit through: Lisa had to nudge me awake during the scene where Miraz is crowned king. This movie could have had 10-15 minutes excised from it, and it would have been a far better film for it.

True to the marketing that's been done for it, Prince Caspian is a far darker movie than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was. But instead of relying on the source material alone to provide a grimmer setting, Adamson and his crew set out to up the stakes and honestly, I don't know if that works well with this kind of adaptation. There are many scenes in the film that are nowhere to be found in Prince Caspian the book, including (by Lisa's count) two extra battle scenes, one of which is the attempt to take the castle. At least one professional reviewer has observed that this movie doesn't provide much other than give the Pevensie kids a chance to hack and kill once they're back in Narnia, and with so much extra violence in this film it's hard to not relent and admit that there's some validity to such a claim. The Christian metaphor of Prince Caspian (I've always thought it was about having faith, as Lucy does when she wants Aslan to appear) is diminished as a result, when it could have been greatly expounded upon in this movie.

But in spite of its flaws, I'll say that The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is worth seeing once in these days of gloomy economy (read as: yeah burn some gas to go see it). The only other thing that I'll complain about it is that I seriously wanted to see more of Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep: that swashbuckling little mouse was the best thing about this movie! Hopefully we'll see more of him when the movie of Voyage of the Dawn Treader is made.


Eric Wilson said...

"This is my BOOOMSTICK!!!"... Did anyone get that? One of the best trilogies of all time.

Unknown said...

I liked the movie, but not quite as much as the first one. I agree its a bit long. I hate it when they add scenes that aren't in the book unless its meant to explain something. They should stick to the book. At the same time I hate it when they cut out scenes that are in the book for the sake of time like they have in Harry Potter. Sometimes they take the parts that really help explain things. I did get the symbolism of waiting for Aslan and having faith. I also got from the movie a couple other possible meanings. One is that when they accept the offer its was like Christians accepting God unconditionally and publically will get the best rewards in Heaven. I'm not sure where you are getting the replacement of the limbs. I honestly don't remember that. I didn't care for the ending. I've never read the books so I'm sure it happened as it was supposed to, but I was hoping there would be a happier ending. I won't say how so I don't ruin it for anyone. Overall it was a good movie and worth the price of admission, but I don't think I will see it multiple times like Iron Man or Transformers.


Mr. Knight, as a Christian Thinker what do think about moi's wee film/research?



Anonymous said...

I enjoyed Prince Caspian, and my co-watcher and I were surprised at the extra scenes, though for a moment, I thought that I'd just forgotten them.

However, I did hear an interview with Andrew Adamson and he reminded the interviewer (who mentioned differences between the book and the film) that he's never set out to completely recreate the books, but his memory of the books, and therefore expounded upon his memory more than the details contained in the actual story. When confronted with the topics of faith in the series, he said that he believes he's represented it, but that the real story was getting Caspian to his throne.

I also thought it was long, but I was at a midnight opener surrounded by nearly graduated high-schoolers who try to find things to hoop and holler about. I will probably go and see it again in theaters, if only for a more relaxed environment.

What I really liked about this one, in comparison to Wardrobe, was the humor. I laughed a lot more in this one, even with all the violence and battling. I especially thought it was more true to life, having Susan and Caspian share an attraction. Lewis didn't really chart that territory in the books (and even seems to write Susan off in the final installment), and I don't think the audience would have bought two teenagers not being to attracted to each other in that setting.

What I found disappointing was the Battle of Aslan's How and then at the Bridge. In Wardrobe, the Battle of Beruna was pretty epic in scale, and I loved it. I thought the two battles in this film lacked that huge, impressive quality.

I have always liked the Pevensie children and wished Lewis would have given us greater insight to their time on the throne. That said, I was very pleased to see them acting more adult and hacking and slashing their way through the Telmarines.

twity13 said...

Its really a good post dear. Director Andrew Adamson after making his career primarily in animation seems decidedly more comfortable in his role as a live action director this time around. He handles the scope and the pacing of this epic adventure with a polished skill that is a very pleasant surprise. So you wanna watch this excellent movie then go ahead and Download The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Movie Free and enjoy the time.