Movie Review: Prince Caspian

by Ryan on May 18, 2008

in Anything Else,Culture,Pop Culture,Religion

 

I just got back from viewing The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian at a new movie-viewing location near my new place.  So, let me get right to it without ruining the plot for those who haven’t seen it: 

I like C.S. Lewis, for both his fantasy novels and his philosophical works.  Part 1 (or Book 2 if you’re a purist) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a good movie adaptation because it effectively used tons of religious allegory to tell a mythical coming of age story about four kids sent up North during the Blitz of 1940 who stumbled into a mysterious land.  It was full of mystery and wonder and brought us into a new world in which the “Sons of Adam” and “Daughters of Eve” were delivered in order to make things right.

Prince Caspian does a similar kind of thing, but in my opinion with much less allegory and heart.  There were moments of struggle, choice, doubt, belief and introspection, but much of the wonder was gone, replaced by more battle scenes with little depth.  I liked the increased action, and on the surface it was a better movie than the first one, yet something was missing.  I read LWW, but never read Prince Caspian (which is technically Book Four of the series), so I’m not sure how it translated to film.  I just had the sense that some of the magic in the first movie was not here.  Maybe I needed more of an explanation, maybe I needed more Aslan, maybe I needed more back-story, but something’s leaving me unsatisfied.

I’d give the movie a “B.”  Great action, good story, but it left me wanting more — not in a good “I can’t wait for the sequel” kind of way, but rather a “Did I miss something?” sort of way.  I’m going to have to read the book now. 

Pic from Movies.com archive.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sal May 20, 2008 at 10:41 am

As a childhood fan of the Chronicles, Prince Caspian was not at the top of my favorite list (only one up from A Horse and His Boy, Book 3, which was my least favorite, although I loved them all).

I have not seen the movie yet, but Prince Caspian did as a book have much less of the allegory and heart of the original, and was more narrative and battle focused. It was a good book, but not up to the standards of the first, and not nearly as good as its immediate sequal, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

By the way, of historical note, the movies are being released in the order that Lewis wrote and published the series. The “purist” method that Ryan mentions is the series in chronological order of the land of Narnia (i.e. the first one being the earliest in Narnia History).

The books in order of writing/publication:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician’s Nephew
The Last Battle

The books in Narnia Chronological Order
The Magician’s Nephew
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

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patrick June 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

the makers of Prince Caspian kept to the original story better than i would have expected… i had heard they were going to make it into a silly pure-action flick, but thankfully this was not the case

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Ryan June 8, 2008 at 2:08 pm

MOVIE SPOILER ALERT!!!

OK, I just finished reading Prince Caspian.

Like most cases, I have to say that the book was better. They added the raid into Miraz’s castle in the film, and made Peter and Caspian much more confrontational towards each other than in the book. I liked how Peter and Edmund show up in the book as Caspian and the dwarves are contemplating the Ice Queen’s return to save the day before the Narnians make a huge mistake — making the purpose of the return of the old kings and queens more symbolic and fateful.

I also didn’t like Trumpkin in the movie compared to the book Trumpkin. In the book he didn’t mope and complain the whole time, he enjoyed himself mostly with our four heroes.

The battle at Aslan’s How was cooler in the movie, as was the duel between Peter and Miraz, so I’ll give the movie it’s due on that issue. I’m also glad tht Susan wasn’t AS whiny in the movie.

I will say though, that reading The Horse and His Boy before Prince Caspian helped in my understanding about “sons of Adam” not only being limited to our four heroes. That was an issue for me in the movie. There are humans, but some have entered in various ways and various times. I like how Aslan goes into that in the book and I wish they would have touched on that in the movie.

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