The JAKE and I went to see Prince Caspian yesterday afternoon. (As an aside, one nice perk in being a homeschooling family is that you can go to early afternoon showings of movies on their opening weekends without worrying about crowds!) Someone asked what we thought of it, so I’ll share a few things, but don’t worry…I hate spoilers!
First, don’t go to the movie with high expectations of faithfulness to the book. I read somewhere that the movie makers had spoken to Lewis’s heir about the changes they had made in the plot. He acknowledged that the book, as it stood, wouldn’t make a terribly exciting movie. The movie makers added a very significant chunk of plot, but it’s a good chunk, if you can get over the fact that Lewis didn’t write it. There’s another very minor plot thread that the movie makers wove into the story, I think for the sake of romantic teeny-boppers. I didn’t care for it, but it was very minor and didn’t really detract.
Second, be prepared for battles. Lots and lots and lots of them. What is amazing, considering the percentage of the movie that is centered around battles, is the complete lack of gore. You know what’s happening, but there is very little blood. Almost none. One warrior loses his head, but you don’t actually see it happen. I thought it was a wonderful thing to make battle scenes intense and feel genuine, and yet not feel bathed in gore. These are the kinds of battle scenes children can reenact in their backyards without worrying their parents.
Third, if you’re sensitive to “creepies”, you’ll find fewer of them in this movie than in the first one. The movie is darker overall, but it is the kind of darkness brought about by evil and greedy men, not the kind brought about by the White Witch…until she enters the picture. Again, I don’t wish to spoil, so I’ll just say this: The movie makers were faithful to the book in this scene. Seeing it on screen was very powerful, and there is no waffling about the evilness of the White Witch, her 3 followers, or the temptation to take a false step.
Fourth, the characterizations were a mixed bag. Lucy was endearing. Susan was more likable in the movie than she is in the book, and very brave. Edmund was wonderful. Aslan was magnificent (much moreso in this movie!). Caspian was good. However, although I really like the actor they chose for Peter, the writers maligned Peter’s character in a manner similar to how Peter Jackson ruined Faramir in the Lord of the Rings. It’s all “sorted” at the end, and no lasting harm is done, but it was sad for me to see one of my most beloved Narnia characters degraded for the sake of a plot element.
The effects are better, the music is wonderful (although the last song rings a bit modern for the movie), and the actors have all grown into their roles. It was a good one, and we’ll certainly purchase it for our family library once it comes out on DVD.
One final note: make sure to avail yourself of the facilities before you sit down for the movie…it was about 2.5 hours!