Add “dark” into that sentence after savage and you have a one-sentence summary of Prince Caspian.
Before I go into more detail, please know that these are just my thoughts on the movie, not anyone else’s.
As a movie, I thoroughly enjoyed Prince Caspian. But it’s not Narnia, and it most certainly wasn’t Prince Caspian. The acting was great, and the cinematography was wonderful. I enjoyed the musical score and digital effects.
But I just couldn’t get over the diversions from the book.
Eric Novak sums up my thoughts pretty well, probably better than I do, but here go my thoughts anyways…
I really missed the beginning of the book, about Caspian’s lessons with Cornelius. That was one of two parts I was really looking forward to that didn’t make it into the movie. Instead the movie starts off at a fast rush, never really slowing down.
Susan is having some trouble with a boy from a nearby school… not very enjoyable, an “uh-oh” about 15 minutes into the movie. It doesn’t get much better – she meets Caspian and things only get more “mushy,” leading up to a kiss at the end of the movie – totally uncalled for, and I know the guys we saw the movie with didn’t like it, and neither did Cait, Sarah, or I. This unnecessary love story ruins both of their characters, I think, not so much Susan as it did Caspian, though.
Almost immediately after meeting Caspian, Peter assumes an “I’m here now, I should be in charge, who do you think you are?” attitude… so not fun, and so not Peter. It builds tension for the movie and adds some good struggles in, but Peter becomes not-Peter throughout the movie, which should not have happened. Lewis develops his characters well in his books, and I think to add in other struggles was unnecessary.
This tension between Caspian and Peter leads to an added scene… where Peter doesn’t listen to what Caspian has to say and instead takes charge of things and they storm Miraz’s castle. It’s not so bad except for the fact that it’s in the dark – which makes everything scarier, and makes Prince Caspian less of a family movie. The end of this battle sequence is the worst, though – because they could not get outside of the Portcullis in time, there are many Narnians who are slaughtered at the gate, killed in despair. It’s an awful moment in the movie, one that I think they could have done better without. My head was down on my shoulder turned to the side at this point, and I was just like “OH stop! I’m getting sick… enough already!”
Also contributing to my dislike of this scene is that Susan is fighting. Not in defense as Lewis intended by giving Susan weapons, but on offense. I believe men and women are equal, so Susan did not need to prove her ability with the bow (as she later does defensively). But although we are equal, God has given us different roles. And ‘protector’ is not a big one on the list of women’s roles. Also, this is not the only scene in which Susan fights, in a later battle she is leading the archers in battle… another no-no in my mind.
Before too long comes the scene with the Hag, werewolf, and White Witch (out of place as so many other things, they moved the positioning of it). The Hag asks Caspian if he wants revenge for Miraz killing his father. Caspian says yes, and she begins calling up the White Witch. This whole scene is a lot more drawn out than it is in the book, and again it ruins Caspian and Peter’s characters. Both get drawn in by the White Witch, until Edmund finally comes along and breaks the spell.
This scene is quite dark and creepy, and it blurs the line between good and evil.
However, it does leave Peter questioning his faith and has some good conversation between him and Lucy.
I think that’s the long version of what I thought of it.
Glenstorm was absolutely amazing.
Edmund’s character was great, and so was Lucy.
Peter, Susan, and Caspian were somewhat ruined, Peter probably the most of them all.
Aslan was absent in most of the movie, which was quite sad.
Unlike the book, this is not a family movie, sadly. I think if they had kept to the book it would have made a wonderful family night movie… but Candace is definitely not seeing this, and Nate probably not either.
Some of the adaptions were understandable… but there were a LOT of unnecessary things added in (or taken out) that made me really sad…
but I should stop tearing it up. As I told Sarah, “the movie’s already made. What can we do to change it?”
I should probably watch it again, assess my thoughts a bit more. I think it grows on you a little bit, when you look past its faults.
PS – be sure to read the comments as well.
PPS – after re-reading the book, some parts have stuck out to me more that I didn’t like, and others I’ve toned down my dislike of, more just some of the changes like not having the dancing lawn, changing Glenstorm’s looks, and starting Caspian as older instead of when he was younger and studying with Cornelius. There are more battle scenes than I remember, but lengthening the scene when they call up the White Witch I still believe is letting sorcery go to far – I think this is why Lewis stopped it when he did. Some things, though, I just won’t get over. Peter in the book is not Peter in the movie, etc… and I think that’s just taking it too far.
As a movie, go see it! But I feel that it wasn’t Narnia and definitely not Prince Caspian… yet each to her own opinion.