Prince Caspian

Prince CaspianTrumpkin the dwarf was right.  A year after the Pevensie children’s last trip through the wardrobe, Narnia is a more violent and sinister place than they…and movie viewers…recall.  And the film makers make no apology for that.  Director Andrew Adamson admits, “This film is probably a little darker and grittier than the last one.”  And that it most definitely is.  Or, as I mentioned, Trumpkin puts it, “You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.”

It’s been a year since Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie’s last journey through the wardrobe.  At least, a year in our time.  In Aslan’s country, over one thousand years have passed, and the palace at Cair Paravel lies in ruins.  Now, a new dynasty reigns under the conquering Telmarines, and the real Narnians live in fear and hiding.  Some wait for Aslan’s salvation, others have lost all faith in his existence.

The heir to the Telmarine throne is Prince Caspian, an orphaned lad brought up under the eye of his murderous Uncle Miraz but fascinated by the stories of old Narnia…the kings and queens of old, the Great Lion, the fauns and nymphs and centaurs…told him in secret by his tutor Cornelius.  And then, in a single night, all Caspian knows is destroyed.  He blows Queen Susan’s ancient horn in his last hope for help…and help comes, in the form of the four young Pevensies…called from a London train station in our world.

Walden Media’s Prince Caspian feels like a war movie.  The writers added scenes…in particular, the tragic raid on Miraz’s castle…which are not in the book, but which were perhaps necessary to make the transition from page to screen.  Still, other decisions were made which were not nearly as vital, nor as successful…most glaringly, the ill-bred and poorly thought-out romance between Susan and Caspian (readers will know that there can be no future for the couple if the film makers are to remain at all faithful to the books).  Other issues have been raised by indignant fans…such as Peter’s inner struggles with selfishness and pride and Susan’s warrior-queen persona (neither mentioned in the book), as well as Aslan’s lack of screen time.  But viewers can judge this for themselves.

Here is what I saw.  When Aslan tells Susan and Peter that they will not be returning to Narnia, I felt their heartbreak.  I, too, felt let-down and disappointed to see the brick walls of the London Strand after the beauty of Narnia.  When the children left Aslan’s country, I felt as though I just had, too.  It was horribly bittersweet…evoking emotions that few films do.

My sentimentality may be partly because I have loved C.S. Lewis’s stories since I was a little child.  But more than that, I sense the deeper story…the one that many believe Lewis was trying to tell…underneath it all.  Aslan…the leader, the friend, the infinitely beautiful king…reminds me of my Savior.  Lucy’s relationship with him in the film is precious.  At one point, he saves her from an attacking Telmarine soldier, roaring with all the furiosity of the great lion he is.  But without fear, the little girl runs to him, burying her face in his mane, laughing joyfully.  And they sit and talk in the forest.  Later, she faces an entire army with only the Lion at her side, and totally unafraid.  These short scenes reminded me for all the world of our walk with our King…our Lion, our Lamb…the strong, the gentle, the magnificent, the humble.  Our Master, our Shepherd, our Lord.  This is the best of Narnia and the film makers captured it.

I highly recommend this film to all who love the books and the first movie.  Don’t expect this story to be exactly like the one in your dog-eared paperback.  It is changed, as even the most beloved classics must be changed when they make the transition to film, and not perfectly changed at that.  But it is still beautiful, and it still tells a long-loved story.  Best of all, it gives us glimpses of a better story still…the story that Jesus is writing every day in the lives of every believer.  The story of uncompromising faith even when others doubt and the valley is one of death’s shadow.  The story of trust in a God greater than any army and any military might or force.  The story of a daily walk with the Creator and Master of all, as He bends down to hear our whispered fears and happinesses, just because He loves us.  And every time we see Him, just as Lucy finds, He grows bigger in our sight.  Never old, never dull, never rote.  He is always magnificent, and He grows with our understanding of Him.

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One Response

  1. the makers of Prince Caspian kept to the original story in some ways and strayed in others… i heard they were going to make it into a silly pure-action flick, but thankfully this was not the case

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