Have you ever watched one of those movies where a little into the film, you start thinking, “Hey this movie rocks!” Then a scene comes up which makes you reconsider, and you start thinking the movie might actually be kinda lame. Then another scene reintroduces the rockage. Then another scene plows it under. Finally, you’re left confused about whether or not you actually liked the movie.
That, in a nutshell, is Prince Caspian. But if you want specifics, you’ll have to wait while I gear up for a little rant.
First, I want to start with a few positives. The new Narnia movies beat the pants off of the horrible old BBC movies. However, that’s a lot like saying a clothing store is “classier than K-Mart”—not a very high standard to meet. So I’ll add that the movies were also pretty well cast, have good special effects, and usually avoid being corny (…usually).
Sadly, the movies are also missing their soul. That’s because Aslan—the central figure of the books and the only character found in every book—is boring. In fact, he usually looks a little sleepy. He’s certainly not threatening. I guess this isn’t too surprising; the American church has become content with the friendly, safe God that C. S. Lewis despised. No wonder, then, that Aslan seems wise and kind but not scary. When he chewed up the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I was more than a little disappointed that he popped up with a sanitized, toothy grin. Just once, I’d like to see blood dripping from Aslan’s teeth to remind us that he’s dangerous—you know, not a tame lion.
At a later date, I’d like to post more on how a lack of fear of the Lord is likely the defining sin of the American church. In this sense, the Narnia movies are symptomatic of a deep flaw in the way we look at God.
In the meantime, let’s dive into a few specifics before we wrap up the review. What did I like, and what didn’t I like?
If you haven’t seen the movie but you plan on seeing it, now would be a good time to stop reading.
I liked the acting, the darker battle scenes, Reepicheep the mouse (and all the mice, which were done very well), the trees fighting, and the occasional humorous quip.
I didn’t like the scenes blatantly ripped off of the black rider and river chase from the Lord of the Rings movies. I didn’t like the way the movie stretched to engineer awkward character conflicts. And while I’m usually pretty lenient regarding creative license in movie adaptations of books, I thought the whole attack on the Telmarine castle departed too far from the books (though it was still pretty good). Finally, I thought Susan smooching with Prince Caspian was unnecessary. In fact, what was up with that little hint of a love story? It definitely wasn’t there in the book, and it didn’t add anything to the movie. I will admit I’m still embittered by an utterly gratuitous sex scene which ruined a perfectly good novel I just finished reading.
Now, with that said, if you’ve read the books, I’d recommend seeing the movie. It definitely could have been worse. Speaking of which, it’s time to rate the movie, reducing years of creative work to a series of currency symbols:
- I would pay money to see it again ($$$$).
- I would see it again if someone gave me a free ticket ($$$).
- I wouldn’t see it again even if someone gave me a free ticket ($$).
- I wouldn’t see it again even if someone paid me to go ($).
Prince Caspian scores a cheery $$¢ (two dollars and change). I grade hard, so that’s not a bad rating at all.