Prince Caspian – Not the book, but it doesn’t need to be…

Quick Review Description: I’ll give my general comments without spoilers, and I’ll warn you before getting into any specifics.

General Thoughts

In a word, terrific. This was quite the quality movie. If you’re a “read the book before it comes out” kind of person, or if you’re a C.S. Lewis fanatic, still give the movie and its deviations the benefit of the doubt. I’m guilty of it myself, and I know it’s easy to do especially if you really enjoyed the written version of a particular story, but to state the obvious: film and literature and entirely different genres. Why get really bent out of shape if a particular literary work is “adapted” to best suit the new genre. This movie was very well done, complete with convincing acting, captivating story and character development (especially for child actors/actresses), and best of all, a great depiction of the mouse king and army. On the whole, the movie is significantly darker than the first and there are more graphically depicted military battles, so parents take some time to seriously weigh your 5 year old’s ability to comprehend such matters (we saw a lot of really young kids in the audience, not sure if it was a real good thing) – there is lots of comedic relief but the general premise/plot/action of the film is significantly deeper than that of the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe. There is very little blood and no gore, but the weight of the plot, the darkness prevalent through the film, and the intense battles may be too much for younger audiences.

That being said the film is very well rounded to meet many of its viewers in whatever stage of life, whether you are a younger kid who has just been exposed to the wonders of Narnia, an adult who remembers the series as a significant aspect of their own childhood (as am I) or anywhere in between, you’ll be able to take hold of some aspect of Prince Caspian to greatly appreciate and enjoy.

Details – Warning Spoilers May Follow

The film adaptation did take some significant deviations from that of C.S. Lewis’ original work. You begin and end at the same place as the novel, it’s the journey that is different. The film version takes you on a siege of Miraz’s castle stronghold, which is absent from Lewis’ novel. I actually really appreciated this difference. For one, the movie has a limited amount of time to provide character development, and this portion of the film allowed viewers a vast look into the motives and hearts of the major characters of Peter, Caspian, and Miraz. The postponing of meeting Aslan until the final moments of the film seemed odd to me as he was a major player in the plot of the book much earlier on. Maybe it was to prove a point, maybe it just worked better with the revised plot development, I’m not sure. Maybe the film was trying to rely more on the independence of the Pevensies, Caspian, and the Narnians (not a real good argument as far as I’m conserned) rather than having Aslan simply sweep in and save the day again – maybe it fit better to turn the tide when all hope was lost at the final battle, again, I’m not sure and am going to stop guessing, you can come to your own conclusions.

As far as the acting performances, I was very struck with Skandar Keynes (Edmund). He displayed a very convincing aura of wisdom and experience in his role. As Edmund, he was the rash child who went astray in the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, however Edmund in this story (both Lewis’ and the film’s adaptation) is a much calmer and wiser young soul. Skandar nailed this from the very expressions of his face to the way he carried himself throughout the film. All the acting in this movie was close to spot on, but Skandar’s definitely stuck out in my opinion.

As with most film adaptations, even when you change the story line significantly, you still need to appease the purists. Adamson (director) and company pulled through with many of the novel’s little subplots and character identities. Dear Little Friend (DLF) and the mouse king were the purist’s security blanket. I loved the mice being Scottish – a humorous but very effective way to explain their bravery, honor, and valor without wasting a moment of dialog.

Deviations and guessing aside, this was a very solid film with great potential to entertain for years to come.

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~ by veniatregnum on May 20, 2008.

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