Fantasy Friday – Prince Caspian

Well, I finally saw it—Prince Caspian, the movie based on C.S. Lewis’s second book in the Narnia series. By now, I’m guessing most of my visitors have seen it as well, and some of you, twice.

I purposefully stayed away from most reviews because I wanted to see the movie without a host of expectations, but it’s hard to flit around the blogosphere and not pick up on the tenor of the discussion. From what I’ve seen, there is hardly agreement.

Some reviewers were nearly irate over how the movie ruined the story. Others thought this movie was a huge improvement over The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Some accused the film makers of purposefully filtering out the Christian symbolism.

Here’s a sample, this from Sebring Cinema and Sports:

Where Adamson falls short is in his development of the characters and Lewis’s emphasis on innoncence and faith as the elements that propel the children’s relationship to Aslan and the magic of Narnia. He fumbles with it, and he loses us a bit when he raises the question of why Aslan does not save Narnia the same way he did before. It is, primarily, the erosion of innocent, childlike faith that begins to separate the older children from the younger – the pure faith by which we follow God when he calls whether or not anyone else does. It is a lesson we all need to learn or to be reminded of, and one that Adamson serves up halfheartedly.

On the other hand, Andrew Adamson himself says in an interview with Indielondon:

Andrew Adamson: I think CS Lewis would have hated the term allegory. He never intended the book to be allegorical. Certainly, he wrote from his own beliefs and he was a Christian. But he never intended it to be a direct allegory. And I didn’t steer clear of anything [any religious allegory]. I think everything that’s in the book thematically is in the movie. I just think it’s up to people to interpret it however they want – and that’ll be differently for people in different countries, from different cultures and different generations. You know, I read the book when I was eight-years-old and I didn’t know what allegory meant. I just thought it was a great adventure. Obviously, I look at it now and I get much more of the mythology and the other things that are going on and, as a filmmaker, you want to tap into all of those. But I think the movies are really reflective of what the books are.

(emphasis mine)

And in the same interview, he said, after re-reading the book once the movie was made:

I felt like I was reading the same story, just told differently …

My take? I loved the movie. It was the same story and different, by the very fact that it was a movie, not a book.

There were some changes, but certainly not as many as The Lord of the Rings movies made. There were some hints at key themes rather than full development. So be it. I was more pleasantly surprised that the themes were there at all. The bit I’d read ahead of time implied the movie was stripped of these thematic elements.

Cinematically, it was excellent—well-acted, great scenery, fast-paced, entertaining, up-lifting, without holes in the plot, funny, touching, special effects were special and not distracting, believable battle scenes, and on and on. It was really, really well done.

Most of all, however, I came away wanting to re-read the book. Now that’s probably the best part of seeing a movie, don’t you think? 😉

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