You may or may not know this, but the next Chronicles of Narnia movie is coming out in December (I think). There was a Christianity Today article on it a week or two ago that I read. It seems perty exciting. But that’s beside the point. The thrust of this post rests on the last movie, Prince Caspian.
All in all, I got the general impression that people didn’t like it. It strayed too far from the book. Was too violent. Didn’t develop Lewis’ themes from the book. Key dialogue was left out. And so on and so forth.
While these criticisms are well-founded, I still enjoyed the movie. Sure it didn’t follow the book, but the scenes added did add to the movie, I thought. I thought the castle attack was pretty dern good, though somewhat overdone. The violence is certainly too much for kids, but it’s honestly what roped me in. In fact, what sold me on the first movie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was the climatic battle scene..especially the sword fight between Peter and the Queen lady. So the added fights in PC were welcomed in my book. Some might say the beheading part was too much…well,that was actually from the book, and i think the filmmakers did a nifty job keeping that subtle. Now there are some holes and whatnot layered throughout the script, but I think they can be overlooked. I can comply with the complaints that some of the key dialogue was botched or left-out because they were essential to the theology in the books.
But what about the themes in the book? The story focuses on faith. Lucy has the most childlike faith and is the first to see Aslan. Lewis draws this out wonderfully in the book as the children and their “DLF” safely navigate their way down the gorge (at night,mind you) relying on faith in Aslan. The further they go, the more clearly they see him. It’s a beautiful picture of faith and I was admittedly sad that it was cut out of the movie. But I think the filmmakers did redeem themselves slightly by the way they did explore faith in the film…let’s take a quick look, shall we?
First, there’s a lot of overall tension. Since Aslan didn’t show up lickity split, they all doubt if he’ll ever come. Due to lack of patience and faith, they hatch the castle attack. Note before the official “charge” Peter only yells “For Narnia!” Where’s Aslan? Well of course, the whole thing’s botched. Lives are lost. Everyone’s even more tense than before. Enter Caspian’s temptation from the black dwarf to summon and free the White Witch Queen lady from the first movie. This is where I think the filmmakers got it. The whole scene is beautiful and serves as the hinge of the plot. Note when the hag summons the witch, what does the ice cover? A picture of Aslan. So subtle,and yet so brilliant! Of course, this all fails and they finally see that only faith in Aslan can save the day. As they act in faith, the tides turn. Notice in the final charge Peter finally yells “For Aslan!”
I’m no C.S. Lewis scholar (nor do I want to be), but I think Prince Caspian the movie stands on its own right. Sure, they messed up some key parts but I think overall they did well. The theme of faith still comes through, subtle yes..but if you know where to look then it’s a very rich find. If you’re still reading this, good job, you’re at the end. If you’re wondering why I wrote this…i’m a nerd and i felt like it…good day.