Prince Caspian: A Movie Review

An Essay By Heather // 6/18/2008

Bear with me, I know it's kinda long....and anyone who hasn't seen the movie, you can read it if you want to, but please be warned it DOES have spoilers. And I'm warmly welcoming discussion on it...and I want to see if there's anyone else who feels like I do regarding the movie vs the book.

Bear with me, I know it's kinda long....and anyone who hasn't seen the movie, you can read it if you want to, but please be warned it DOES have spoilers. And I'm warmly welcoming discussion on it...and I want to see if there's anyone else who feels like I do regarding the movie vs the book.

The movie starts out interesting. As the queen gives birth to a son, Doctor Cornelius (never actually named in the movie) hurries Caspian out of the castle. We get a cool shot of Caspian galloping over the drawbridge with fireworks exploding over the castle behind him. And we also get a few tense moments as he’s chased across a plain and through a forest by some of Miraz’s guards (in a LOTR-esque sequence). His rescue by Nikabrik, Trumpkin, and Trufflehunter is less than exciting, ending as it does with Trumpkin running to fight the guards and Nikabrik knocking Caspian out. Then we’re transported to London. The first scene in which we see all four Pevensie children together, Peter and Edmund are fighting with other schoolboys in a subway station. When Susan afterwards asks him why he was fighting, Peter justifies it by saying, “After he pushed me, he demanded that I apologize. That’s when I hit him.” My brother tells me I don’t understand the “guy mindset” when I criticize Peter for doing this. I’ll come back to it later. In the conversation, Peter expresses his desire to go back to Narnia. “It’s been a year!” he says. And within a few moments, as a train is rushing past, that wish is granted. Once the children are actually in Narnia, we see a little excitement. They splash and play in the water, discover the ruins of Cair Paravel, and find their old belongings. We get a little of the old Narnian majesty as High King Peter draws his sword Wolfsbane and he and Lucy recite an old Narnia verse together. Then comes the rescuing of the crusty DLF, or “dear little friend” Trumpkin. We get a bit of funny lines and an interesting swordfight between Trumpkin and Edmund before our heroes start on their quest to find Caspian. This is where the movie starts rolling downhill. However, there are a couple of redeeming scenes. One is where Lucy dreams that she’s in the old Narnia, where trees move and animals talk, and Aslan is bigger and more real than ever. When it shows her awaking in the “savage” Narnia, you almost want to cry as she walks to one of the trees and whispers, “Wake up!” It really defines the film, the contrast between it and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. After a coincidental meeting in the woods where Caspian and Peter try to cut each other’s heads off, the army heads to Aslan’s How. Aslan’s How is actually quite well done, down to pictures on the wall telling the story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, complete with a few seconds devoted to a picture of Tumnus and Lantern Waste, and a room containing the broken Stone Table and carvings commemorating Aslan’s sacrifice. Things happen quickly after this, almost too quickly. Caspian and Peter go head to head several times over a raid on Miraz’s castle, which is not in the book. The raid fails miserably, though it gives Edmund some good fighting shots. You really can’t tell who the movie tries to blame for the raid’s failure (and a consequent slaughtering of Narnians). Both Peter and Caspian seem to be blamed, whereas Peter really should take it all for initiating something without Aslan. The best scene in the movie, strange though it sounds, is the scene of calling back the White Witch from the dead. Caspian is properly appalled, then interested, as Nikabrik, the hag, and the werewolf create the evil magic, build an ice screen, and summon an image of the Witch. She pleads for “one drop of human blood” and Caspian tries to resist as the werewolf and hag cut his hand. Once his hand is cut, Caspian seems completely under the spell. Then when Peter comes barging in, he too is taken under the Witch’s spell as Trumpkin and Lucy fight off Nikabrik, someone dispatches the hag, and Edmund fights the werewolf. “Peter, dear,” the Witch says, smiling. “I’ve missed you.” Then she gasps, convulses, and the ice screen crumbles to show Edmund in his crowning moment, having broken the screen and the spell. The rest of the movie focuses on the final duel and battle scene, with a bit thrown in about Lucy and Susan trying to get away to find Aslan. Of course, they’re spotted by soldiers, and Suan stays behind to kill them. And who would come galloping in to rescue the queen but the enamored Prince Caspian? Aslan plays a bit in the final battle of Beruna, where the bridge is destroyed. And he is also present at Caspian’s coronation and the part where he sends the children back to London. However, here there is really some emotion brought out between Caspian and Susan. She smiles and tells him, “It wouldn’t have worked anyway. I’m thirteen hundred years older than you.” But as she turns to walk away, she impulsively spins and runs back to him for a kiss and a lingering hug. My thoughts on this scene? Excuse me, but if it’s not going to work, don’t turn around and kiss him already! As for the characters: Caspian is a good-looking, dark-haired prince with a Spanish accent that switches on and off throughout the movie. Understandably, he’s irritated when Peter barges in and takes over. And he’s only human as he threatens to kill his uncle for murdering his father, the part Caspian plays in the failure of the castle raid. He also does very well when given to the chance to run his uncle through after the duel, by stabbing the sword in the ground and telling Miraz that he will not be a “Telmarine king like you.” Thankfully, though, he was left his line when Aslan tells him to rise as a king of Narnia. “I don’t know if I’m ready,” he says quietly. “That answer tells me you are,” Aslan says. Altogether, Ben Barnes doesn’t make a half-bad Caspian, though his character would’ve been better if there hadn’t been any attraction between him and Susan. Peter’s character was utterly ruined. Even from the start, he is not the High King of Narnia as he should be. The High King in my mind would never stoop to fighting with schoolboys who push him around. My brother says that’s the natural reaction of any male. I think Peter should’ve known better. And once he returns to Narnia, he dissolves into an egomaniac eager to prove he still is the High King. At least there are consequences for the raid, though he tries to blame it on Caspian. Peter is a little noble at the duel, telling Miraz that he won’t kill him because he doesn’t deserve to, then handing the sword to Caspian. Even at the end, when he gives up his kingship and his sword to Caspian, there is almost no regret that he acted the way he did. He isn’t High King Peter the Magnificent any more. Susan’s character is generally sulky. We get the idea that she’s not too pleased to be back in Narnia. She once tells Lucy, “I was just getting used to being in England.” Her outfits needed a new designer and her attitude needed a slap. She is given far too much fighting, as she participates in the raid and the final battle. And the way she often agrees with Caspian, then kisses and hugs him in the end, is disgusting if nothing else. Edmund, as I mentioned earlier, has a couple of well-done scenes. In fact, this is Edmund’s movie. I think his crowning moment of glory is when the ice screen of the White Witch crumbles, revealing Edmund with his sword poised for another strike. He handles his brother’s criticism well as Peter lambasts him for jumping into the fight at the subway station, and handles another chewing out for breaking the ice screen by recalling Peter’s words at the subway station: “I know, I know, you had it figured.” Other good moments include his quick thinking and fighting during the castle raid, and as he acts as emissary to King Miraz when Peter challenges him to a duel. When Miraz calls him Prince Edmund, Edmund politely replies, with a smile, “It’s King Edmund. Just king. Peter’s the High King.” During a break in the duel, Edmund tells his moaning brother to “save it for later” as he pops Peter’s shoulder back in place and cheers him on for the finish. He even provides the last funny line of the movie as they go back to London and board the train: “I left my electric torch in Narnia!” Lucy is a quiet, sweet little girl once again. But for some reason, Georgie Henley doesn’t ring as true as Lucy in this movie. Though she struggles against the others, insisting that they follow Aslan at the gorge, she really doesn’t struggle much. She never seeks Aslan out until the very end, when Peter tells her to. There’s really not much to say, other than this Lucy falls rather flat. I have to mourn for the loss of the real Lucy. Reepicheep and company are the best part in the movie. They cut up, literally and figuratively, cracking jokes and smiles as they take down Telmarine soldiers and scamper up and down ropes. My favorite was when Reepicheep is sitting on Caspian’s chest, holding a sword to his throat. He demands, “Any last words?” “You’re a mouse!” Caspian stammers. “You people are so original,” Reepicheep comments sarcastically. And when he’s poised to kill a Telmarine soldier, the soldier exclaims: “You’re a mouse!” “Can’t you people be any more imaginative?” Reepicheep yells. And whoever decided to make Reep and his buddies tie up the cat in the castle is a genius. That generated the biggest laugh in the entire theater. Nikabrik is well done, Trufflehunter is all right, and Trumpkin is well done. Miraz looks good but really doesn’t act like an evil, usurping king. The centaurs have changed. One of my friends put it, “They looked just like this new Narnia; more savage, less noble.” The fauns still look good, and we get to see more of their neat fighting moves as they climb, jump, and flip through battle. But we really can’t get close to any of the creatures except Reep. But the biggest disappointment (if you break the movie down into sub-disappointments) is Aslan. His animation wasn’t great, he isn’t beautiful and golden like he used to be, and though he is bigger, he also doesn’t appear that much in the movie, contrary to the book. Because Aslan is lacking, the entire movie is missing some of its magic and beauty and awe. I walked away from the movie going, “OK, I could go to this Narnia, I think.” Whereas the last movie made me jump up and down and yell, “I want to be in Narnia!” In Trumpkin’s words, “Narnia may be a more savage place than you remember.” It is very true, and describes the whole war-glorifying movie. I think Lucy is the only one who doesn’t kill someone, though she does get in the fight with Nikabrik. We can only hope that the directors take the hint of move-goers and do better on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Maybe if Andrew Adamson had concentrated more on making Prince Caspian instead of a blockbuster movie, he would’ve succeeded in both. Footnote: I know that this is kinda a hard book to translate into a movie, and that adding some action was needed. I'm also not saying that I don't enjoy war movies or action-packed movies...in fact I happen to really really like the Bourne trilogy of movies, not to mention others such as Sahara and LOTR (though I know they're in different categories). I just think that the movie could've been with the Narnians going to war b/c Aslan said so, not on their own decision. That's what I gather from the book. Thank you to anyone who read this...I know it was kinda long! :0)

copyright 2008 by Magical Ink (magical-ink.blogspot.com)

Comments

PC

Good job, Heather. I like your points and understand your feelings. I would like to discuss this (I love debates like this!! :P)

OK, first off, about Peter's fight. I agree with you somewhat on that; it seemed a little weird to me, and as you said, not very kingly. But as my mom pointed out, it really shows Peter's restlessness and frustration. I mean, if you had lived in Narnia for 15 or so years, and suddenly came back to "that place" (home in our world), wouldn't you be frustrated? Angry, even? I know I would, and I'm sure any diehard Narnia fan would. And also my mom thought that Peter's fight with the schoolboys somewhat signifies the future battles he will fight, and almost prepares him for them. I tend to agree with her...
I didn't like how Peter argued so much with Caspian; that just didn't seem right. I also hated how he rejected Aslan totally. But other than that, I liked Peter pretty well. In my opinion, I liked him better in this movie than in the first, actually.
Susan was OK. She would have been so much better had she not had that THING with Caspian..but I'll get back to that. I didn't quite like how she wore make-up in this movie, especially mascara; I don't think she really wore any in the first. I didn't really like how she fought so much in this movie; after all, isn't she supposed to be Susan the Gentle ? I liked her about the same as I did in the first movie.
Edmund I liked much, much better. He had some really great moments, as you said; both funny and cool. He seemed more kingly and he acted so much better! Although I guess that's rather unfair, because he was supposed to act like a jerk in the first movie, but still. I don't think there was one thing I didn't like about Edmund.
Lucy I liked better, too. She's not as cute as she was in the first movie, but she was just so sweet. I'm glad she didn't really fight. I love her relationship with all of the creatures of Narnia.
Trumpkin I didn't like very much. He was too gloomy, too weird. Reepicheep and his gang were awesome! The centaurs I thought just looked kinda weird, and I did not like the female centaurs. The other Narnian creatures were cool, though.
Caspian I would have liked a whole lot more, were it not for his big-time crush on Susan. The worst thing about it is that he's gonna fall in love with another girl in the next movie (Ramandu's daughter), and that just makes it not right. Miraz I liked, and I have to say that he was a pretty good villian (as in he did a good job being a villian!!). Not as evil as the White Witch, but still well done. Speaking of the White Witch, I agree with you totally: one of the best scenes in the movie was when she was called back from the dead.
I would have to say that I liked Aslan much better in this movie. He didn't look right in the last movie; he looked out of proportion, or something like that. Perhaps he looked better because he was bigger. I just wish he had a bigger part in this movie. He seemed to be barely in it, which made me disappointed.
I loved the opening scene; it really captured me and made me get into the movie. (It occured to me that in both Narnia movies, they have opened with a dark, intense battle/fighting scene. I wonder if they will do the same in the next) There were many good parts in this movie, many funny parts, and many parts where I shook my head with a long sigh (such as the famous kissing scene). I loved Aslan's How, that was quite well done; and because I'm a horse freak, I was hysterical over all the pretty horses. I liked the bout between Peter and Miraz. All in all, I actually liked this movie better than the first. So that's my opinion about the movie; sorry it's so long! :P I agree with you on alot of what you said, Heather, but as in all debates, I disagreed somewhat. But thanks for posting this essay; as I said I love discussions like this!
You should write movie reviews for a Christian newspaper or magazine, or something like that; you're really good at it!!

Oh, by the by, supposedly "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is going to be directed not by Andrew Adomson, but by the guy who made "Amazing Grace". If you haven't heard of or seen it, it's a really good movie about the man who abolished the slave trade in England. Anyway, I think that's a good sign!

Clare Marie | Wed, 06/18/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Good Insight on Peter

For your own vindication, I completely agree with you about Peter. And since I'm a guy, I understand the "guy mindset". And I say, that's no excuse. The real Peter in the book didn't do stuff like that. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, there's a line in the book where he reassures Caspian that he's not there to usurp him, but rather to establish him as king. The real Peter rose above his circumstances and acted nobly; the movie Peter succombed to his selfish moods and acted foolishly.

James | Wed, 06/18/2008

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Thanks!

Hey, thanks for commenting.
Clare: Thanks for telling me some of your views; I can totally understand them. I went to see the movie with a bunch of my friends, and afterward we debated about it. Several of them had the same opinion about Peter as you do. I'm kinda a stickler for sticking with the book, however, so it's personal opinion. I heard that the guy who directed Amazing Grace directed Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so I really hope they do a good job of it. It's my second favorite book in the series (first favorite is The Silver Chair) so since my two favorites are coming up I really want the movies to be in good hands. And about Aslan...I really wish they'd had him in more. I even read a movie review by a secular magazine that said that without more Aslan and the Christian themes, Narnia just wasn't Narnia, which kinda surprised me! Thanks also for saying I should write movie reviews; someday I'd like to! I just need to learn to watch movie with a notebook and pen in hand...
James: Thanks...and as a side note once I pressed the issue, my brother agreed he probably wouldn't start a fight just because someone was rude to him. :0)

Heather | Thu, 06/19/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I dunno... The only

I dunno... The only characters I was truly disappointed with were Peter and Susan. The rest I loved. *shrugs* I really mean it. LOVED. Centaurs, mice, dwarves Lucy, Aslan, Caspian, Edmund...
Although Aslan should have been there much more and Caspian really doesn't even match with Susan at all. Nothing like eachother.

And The Silver Chair is my fav. too.

did anyone else really dig Caspian's accent? Something that bugged me in the first movie was that everyone was British.

Anna | Thu, 06/19/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

PC

I loved PC's accent! He based it off Inigo Montoya's, I believe.

Did you know that the Pevensie kids all have different accents? A couple from London, and the two others have accents from other towns.

So it would be like us watching the movie and hearing a Californian and a a kid with a slight New York accent as siblings.

Anonymous | Thu, 06/19/2008

PC

Oh, and the above person was me.

Lucia | Thu, 06/19/2008

Scio, diligo, servo Deum.

Hey this is Heather...just too lazy to log in :0)

Lucia: I didn't know the Pevensie kids each had different accents; I guess I just lumped them all together as "British" accent, so I really didn't pay attention. I liked Caspian's accent except for the fact that there were times it was a strong accent, times, it was weak, and times where he didn't have it at all! But I guess it would be hard to remember to keep an accent going all the time....
Anna: I'mso glad I found someone who's favorite Narnia book is The Silver Chair! Most people think it's too dark, but I love it. Especially the scene where they set the prince free. I really can't wait to see what they do with that in the movie. The Witch turning into a snake is going to be freaky!

Anonymous | Fri, 06/20/2008

Yeah I know! Everyone else I

Yeah I know! Everyone else I know either likes The Horse and His Boy or Voyage of the Dawn Treader best. The Silver Chair is my fav though, maybe because of Jill or Puddleglum.
Yeah... I think the little enchanted people will be creepy, too.

Anna | Fri, 06/20/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Prince Caspian's Age

Here's something else about the movie that I would have prefered to be done differently. I think Prince Caspian was presented as too old. My impression from the book was that he was about Edmond's age (So much for any feelings with Susan, then). Having him as an mid to older teenager added an element (or several) that felt utterly foreign to the story I've always loved. Prince Caspian was about the age I would have expected in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

James | Fri, 06/20/2008

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

pc's age

Yeah, James, I agree with you. PC was a little too old. He's supposed to be Peter's age, and Ben Barnes is like six years older than Will Moseley.

Clare Marie | Fri, 06/20/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

PC was kind of old, but

...I <3 Ben Barnes...

Anna | Fri, 06/20/2008

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Yeah, and I felt like

Yeah, and I felt like sometimes he tried to act like he was younger, so it was like this early-twenties guy trying to act like a mid-teen, which was kinda weird.
Yeah, now how old will he be in Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I always thought of him as thirteen-fourteen in PC, then 18-19 in Voyage. So I dunno...
Anna: I <3 Puddleglum! They better do him right...

Heather | Fri, 06/20/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I actually think Ben Barnes

I actually think Ben Barnes is like 27 years old, so he's not really in his early twenties. If you lived with me you would know how much I dislike him as Caspian. In the books Caspian is my favorite character by far, so naturally I would be displeased with whoever they had playing him in the movies, just because they could never get him the way I think he should be.
Anyways, my favorite books in the series are The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair =]

Tamerah | Fri, 06/20/2008

OK...late twenties guy

OK...late twenties guy trying to act like he's mid-teen...doesn't work real well.
About the books: you go, girl!
Btw I always like how you do your profile pix, they look mysterious, and I'd love to do that but never can, I always end up looking silly! :0)

Heather | Sat, 06/21/2008

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

=]

Thank you!

Tamerah | Sat, 06/21/2008

Agreed! I wrote a review a

Agreed!

I wrote a review a while back on my blog... it's filed under Reviews on the sidebar
www.drumofadifferentbeat.wordpress.com

Kyleigh | Sun, 07/13/2008

Oh, boy,

James, you are dead on. Lewis's timeline has Caspain as 13 during the War of Deliverance. There are so many other problems with this movie that I won't take the time to summerize them
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Fri, 05/15/2009

Formerly Kestrel

I agree with a lot of what

I agree with a lot of what you said, but you must remember that they made it for the people who haven't read the books. Therefore they are going to change things. They are going to have to have someone fall in love, and they are going to have to change the characters of everyone a little.
I did not like PC's accent. If had been the same all through the movie OK, but it wasn't. I believe they chose spanish because Miraz was played by a guy from spain. He was an actor on the stage; but I still don't really like the accent.
I like the all the battle scenes --but that's porbably beccause I hang out with my brother-- so I really didn't mind Susan doing all the fighting, and I was really into battle scenes and fighting. Peter's fight in the train station: I think if you haven't read the books, it was a good way to start the movie, and bring people in.
Edmund is the best person in the movie.
Lucy was still sweet, just a little more mature.
Susan wasn't incredibly different.
Peter was better in the first movie, but still OK in the one.
Caspian was OK.
And Aslan looked strange because they had different people animating. A different company I mean.
Reepicheep is right beside Edmund.
The centars were OK. They said they made them look like that because they wanted to people to realize that they had been hundreds of years in hinding or something like that.
Over-all I think it was a good movie. I think they could have done better, but they still did a good job.

Thanks for the chance to debate Heather.

"Welcome to the land of little orange fruit." The Brit-some comment somewhere, welcoming someone.

Alecia | Sun, 05/17/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister

Nice review!

I liked Prince Caspian, though there were a couple parts when I just went "No, no, no! That's not in the book!" Like the castle raid. They didn't need to kill all those creatures when the scene didn't even happen in the book! Hmph! >:( (Though, oddly enough, that part had the funniest scene in the movie, with Edmund and his torch. ;) "What do you suppose that means?") I also didn't like the scene where Caspian threatened Miraz, and the Queen threatened Caspian, and Susan... you get the point. It was too confusing! And I thought Caspian had been killed or something, but he never even acted like he got hurt! It's like they deleted a scene somewhere or something.

I still like Peter, though you want to punch him a few times.

Caspian was too old - or maybe I was just used to the old movie, where he was like 12. :) I also didn't like the Spanish accents. :(

Susan is still too whiny - I wanted to slap her a few times too. (My, I'm getting violent!)

Edmund reminds me of my 14 and 15 year old brothers - he plays his age perfectly. :) Kind of the gawky teenager, but he's definitely learned a lot since last time. I liked his character development the best. (I think HE'S learned everything he needs to know from Narnia! Peter and Susan still need more time! :)

Lucy was okay, though I liked her better when she was young and cute. :)

Trumpkin wasn't what I expected him to be. Too glum. "It won't stop staring at me..."

Reepicheep was cool, though I thought his fur was black!

The little kid centaur was so cute!! :-D

The battlescene between Peter and Miraz was good, and seemed pretty realistic (I said Ouch a couple times!) - though I wish they would have stopped showing things in slow motion... they overdid that a bit.

One of my favorite scenes is where Lucy stands at the end of the bridge, in front of the entire army. They all stop, confused. And she just pulls out her little knife, smiling calmly. You think, "Aw, brave little girl, she's going to get killed!" And then Aslan steps out... ;)

Anyway, that's all I can think of now. :) Rather disjointed, but that's my two cents.

Sarah B. | Mon, 05/18/2009