Narnia Let Down

One of the great things about having a blog is that you can go on a pointless rant from time to time.  So excuse me while I climb up on my soap box and rant for a moment.

Last night Jen and I went to see the latest installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. For those of you who live under rocks or in caves, The Chronicles of Narnia is a fantasy book series written by C.S. Lewis, and is possibly the greatest series of books ever written. Needless to say, I was jazzed out my jumpsuit for this movie.

For the first ten minutes everything was fine. Then things started going south. If you haven’t seen the movie I’ll try not to spoil it for you.  But here’s a few things that frustrated me -

_Aslan is in the movie for a grand total of about ten minutes, part of which is dream sequence.

_Instead of being friends like in the book, Peter and Caspian develop a junior-high power struggle

_Susan has a “Saved By The Bell”-like crush on Caspian

_Insert extended “Can we make this like Braveheart?” castle invasion scene that wasn’t in the book

_Tom Cruise plays Prince Caspian and Oprah plays Susan (just kidding)

I think because the movie was so different from the book I might have been happier if there was a lightsaber battle or a Velociraptor hunt.  But hey, obviously I’m a Narnia nerd, and if you enjoyed the movie I won’t criticize you.

Give me your thoughts on the movie.  Please correct me if I’m wrong here too.

  • http://www.emily-sc.blogspot.com Emily

    unfortunately, i would have to agree 100% with this post. I was expecting the movie to follow more closely to the book (as the 1st one did).

    I thought it was done very well and I loved the musical score throughout, but really think in changing the story to add more battle scenes, they destroyed the original.

    The thing that I didn’t like was Peter taking charge, refusing to wait for Aslan to move, etc. It reminded me too much of myself.

    But all that being said, I will watch it again. it just wasn’t the “movie of the year” I was hoping for.

  • http://www.servingHimathome.blogspot.com Elaine

    I haven’t read the books but I thought the movie was good. But my daughter, who has read them, had almost the same criticisms as you. She was very disappointed.

  • Matthew

    I would say that it was a decent movie but it was not Prince Caspian.

  • http://luxvenit.blogspot.com Leslie

    I agree with all of your points. Though they didn’t storm Miraz’ castle, the book does say that Caspian and the Narnians had many battles with Miraz’ armies before P, E, S, and L show up with Trumpkin.

    On its own, the movie is good. But if I think too much about all the ways it deviates from the book, I don’t like it as much.

  • http://www.sober-minded.com Jeri

    I agree with you, Stephen, and with the commenters. Another point is an ethical one, that of changing so many major emphases of such a well-loved and revered classic whose author is not here to speak or protect his work.

  • Josh C.

    Hah! I disagree with all of you (so far) ;)

    I quite enjoyed the movie thoroughly, but I do believe that the Susan-Caspian thing was a little pointless. Much of it seemed like “Wait, that’s a scene from Lord of the Rings,” but I thought that Peter’s pride was a nice addition. I mean, if I were high king, I wouldn’t give it up to some punk with a Spanish accent too fast either. And yes, I do agree that Aslan could have made more of an appearance. But then again, he isn’t in the book too much either compared to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, so I’m happy.

    The music was basically the same as the previous movie, so I’m in no way becoming endeared to Gregson-Williams style of composing. However, it served its purpose well.

    Overall, I enjoyed it and look forward to the next movie. Get ready because Dawn Treader is being worked on already!

  • Chris

    I have not read the book, so without that knowledge, I actually thought the storming the castle part was a great lesson in the movie.

    We have been reading through the Bible at church, and just finished 2 Kings. Peter's arrogance in not waiting for Aslan is a perfect image of many of Israel's kings who did not wait for the LORD and suffered defeat because of it.

    Also, I noticed in the movie that Peter cried, "For Narnia!" when storming the castle… and lost! Yet in the final battle, he cried, "For Aslan!" after he realized that they the tide turned only after Lucy succeeded in reaching Him.

    I thought it was a great picture of failure without Christ and "success" with Him.

  • Stephen Altrogge

    Josh C – I’m glad you were still able to appreciate the movie even though you had read the books as well. I think the thing that bothered about the Peter-Caspian rivalry was that in the book, Caspian blew the horn as a last resort. He knew he needed the old kings and queens. He wasn’t trying to fight for power.

    Chris – I have to agree with you, they did highlight the failure of Peter when he acted on his own and his success when acting on behalf of Aslan.

  • Josh C.

    Ahh, I would agree about the horn probelm. I wish he would have waited until later like he was supposed to…

  • A Calvetti

    My feelings about this film were mixed. Many times, films are rated by how fancy the special effects are, but if the actual story isn’t satisfactory, well, you get Pirates of the Carribbean 2. I’m afraid you were right about Aslan though, I was disappointed to see him minimized. I must say that Edmund was THE MAN. If you have seen the film, you will understand what I mean. If you haven’t, but mean to, I’m sure you’ll notice it. I really appreciated seeing the fruit of his redemption in this film. So often when Christians are miraculously pulled out of their sin, the are affected much more deeply than those that recieved salvation by a more gradual path. I can’t speak for C.S. Lewis’s intentions, but I feel like he wished many of these Christian themes to be visible when searched for.

    (Steps off soap box)

  • http://photosandquotes.blogspot.com/ YellerDaisies

    I haven’t seen it yet. I hope to see it tomorrow. I’m a HUGE Narnia fan and I’ve heard similiar comments that ya’ll have made so far. Sounds like it’s a great movie, with some great biblical themes, but doesn’t follow the book like I hoped. I’m glad to know this beforehand, I’ll probably enjoy the movie more, since my expectations have been lowered. ;-) Yay! for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I’m already excited to see it! It’s my 2nd favorite, Horse and His Boy being my favorite. Sadly, I don’t think they’re going to make H&HB. :-(

  • John Buckley

    Yeah, I was a little disappointed with the change.
    But, it happened because the book is not rich with story and depth (it’s basically a walk in the woods and a duel at the end.) so the film crew Had to change it and add some more to make it film worthy. Also what they added did not change one bit in the plot, it just added more of a point in the story.
    I liked that Aslan was gone throughout the film leaving the kids alone because it made a constant theme of having faith in Aslan’s return (just like how we have faith in God’s Return) and it was the moral of the story.
    I agree that whole Susan and Caspian thing was unnecessary, but, it does add more reason for her never returning to narnia. Here is a excerpt from the last narnia book ‘The Last Battle’ where there is asked the question of where Susan is:

    ..Where is Susan?”
    “My sister Susan,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “is no longer a friend of Narnia.”
    “Yes,” said Eustace, “and whenever you’ve tried to get her to come and talk about Narnia, she says, ‘What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.’”
    “Oh Susan!” said Jill. “She’s interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”
    “Grown-up, indeed,” said the Lady Polly. “I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and
    then stop there as long as she can.”.

    ~so clearly the thing with Susan and Caspian was added to explain the reason Susan does not want to think or speak of narnia anymore.

    Other then that the picture, acting, character development, and moral were Great.

    Just remember the film crew grew up with narnia too and tried their best to bring this hard to translate book to Film while still being faithful to Lewis’ story.
    I Can’t wait for the next five narnia films!

    Thanks. -John Buckley

  • http://www.emily-sc.blogspot.com Emily

    just a “walk in the woods with a duel at the end”?

    *sigh*

    perhaps i just like the books too much. :)

  • http://quillandnail.wordpress.com B. Minich

    So, I pretty much responded to you on my blog, since it is easier to post it there. Suffice it to say here that I didn’t take it as hard as you, although as another Narnia nerd, I definitely agree that the book was better.

  • http://preacherthoughts.blogspot.com/ Paul W Martin

    For once, Stephen… I completely agree with you!

    AS IF Susan Pevensie would turn and steal a kiss of all things from a man she knew she would never see again!

    You could feel coming from minute 14 of the movie… no… no… noooooo! Too late. She smooched. Bad news. Movie ruined.

    Glad my hope is not in Hollywood.

  • A Calvetti

    Stephen, I think Susan might need to listen to the message your dad gave at our To Date, or Not to Date seminar down here in the ‘Burgh. It just might help.

    :-)

  • Stephen Altrogge

    A Calvetti – Yeah, I think Susan might need a little dating advice. Seriously though, what’s up with that cheesy line about Caspian needing the horn so he can call her again?

    Paul – Wow, we agree?!? Amazing. You canadians do have some sense after all!

    Can I ask another question? Did anyone else feel like Susan was a lot like Legolas from the Lord of the Rings? It was like she was ninja-matrix warrior woman. Man, here I go, ranting again.

  • Andrew Calvetti

    After seeing the ENTIRE movie, I felt like there were MORE scenes of Susan killing people than of anyone else.

  • http://teacupnotasledgehammer.blogspot.com/ Michele

    Paul Martin described my feelings best.

    I kept saying (outloud to my friend sitting next to me), “Are you kidding me?”

    But, all in all… not the worst movie — we just need to separate it from the book a bit.

    At least we shouldn’t have to endure any more flirting in the next installment.

  • Lisa

    These responses are similiar to the feelings I had after viewing “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King.” The movies are good on their own, but they are NOT even close to the joy of the books. (“Fellowship” was somewhat close.)

    I had not read “Prince Caspian,” so overall I enjoyed the movie. The Prince lost his accent a few times, Peter was a bit too huffy, and Susan’s lips could have gotten a little less air time, but I thoroughly enjoyed Edmund, Reepicheep and the bit of time Aslan recieved.

    4 stars out of 5!

  • Diana

    I just saw the movie last night.
    I enjoyed it a lot- though I think part of the reason is because I havent read that book in approximately 10 years and dont remember it at all. I was disappointed with the first movie because I remembered the first book.
    That said, I have to recount my favorite part.
    ***SPOILERS***
    When Lucy finally finds Aslan during the battle scene, she admits that she was pretty much the only one who saw him. And I am expecting Aslan to be all “go Lucy! Way to have child faith! Youre the greatest.”
    But no, he says “So why didnt you come follow me sooner, even though the others didnt?”
    Ouch! That really hit home to me. Maybe I am pulling too much out of it, but I completely was convicted in the ways that I follow God “just a little” and take pride in doing it alone. Nope. God wants me to be a completely devoted follower, completely separate of what ANYONE else is doing.

    And yeah…Susan and Caspian? What was that about?

  • Brittany

    You guys are probably all way older and more insightful than me, but I’ll put in my two cents worth.

    I know the plot deviated from the book a lot for the sake of action, but I think most of that was in order to make it more realistic and show the proud side of Peter. I mean, he’s probably seventeen or so, and isn’t going to just hand over his throne and his crown to a barbarian. That was apparently what Aslan wanted him to do and he thought he was stronger on his own. I’m glad it showed the proud and stubborn side of him, not just the perfect dashing hero riding in to save the day. And even better, (though it deviated even MORE), they showed the astronomical consequences for his actions.

    But seriously, what was with Su and Caspian???

  • Natalie Klejwa

    Ah…but Aslan WAS in the movie…the WHOLE movie! THAT was the point! Just because you can’t SEE Him…doesn’t mean He’s not there!

  • http://beeveestudios.wordpress.com Brittany Vaughn

    Prince Caspian is actually the ONLY book in the series I’ve read. And while I must admit that it was quite different than the book, the movie itself was incredible. Someone that has never read the books would really like it. I think the special effects were beyond amazing and I think that the overall movie was great. It also helps that I read the book like 6 years ago when I was 11, so I don’t remember much anyhow.

    -Bee-

  • Brittany

    I completely agree Brittany–to anyone who hasn’t read the books it’s an awesome movie. And even to those of us who HAVE read the books but manage to look past most of the letdowns and enjoy the movie.

  • Stephen Altrogge

    I said to Jen yesterday, “Maybe if I went and saw the movie a second time I could enjoy it more.” Now that I know that it’s so different, I might be able to enjoy the actual movie more.

  • Andrew Calvetti

    Yeah, I think that in a couple weeks I MIGHT be able to see it again, but that’s a big maybe.

  • http://www.bethanygrover.blogspot.com Bethany

    I have not seen the movie. After reading all these comments, I don’t think I want to see it. But I would like to correct a few statements about the book.

    If you think it’s primarily “a walk through the woods followed by a duel” you didn’t get the point of the book. Lewis parallels Caspian and the Pevensies. They both get involuntarily put in a disorienting situation, have to choose to believe in Aslan, and have to do their part while ultimately waiting for Aslan to save their nation. That’s why Peter is such a hero in the book- he put his life on the line simply to buy more time for Aslan. Still, the book isn’t primarily about the kids, but about the issues of faith that come up when they get caught up in a story that’s much bigger than any one of them.

    Sounds like the movie makers missed this theme and relied on action scenes alone to give the story an epic feel. That’s too bad. I don’t think I would have minded changes if they’d kept the theme, like in LOTRs.

  • Andrew Calvetti

    So apparently one of the biggest reasons that people didn’t enjoy PC is because it didn’t stay as close to the book as the first one did.

    “Things never happen the same way twice”

    :-P

  • James

    I have mixed feelings about the movie. Even though I am a fan of the books, I don’t think that Prince Caspian was the strongest of the series. In some ways the movie improved on the book by sending more spiritual messages. Things really messing up when we do our own thing instead of trusting God was demonstrated by the invasion of the castle. The White Witch Seance Scene showed how some people can’t resist temptation.
    However, I was a little disappointed by the increase in violence and the “romance” between Caspian and Susan. How is Caspian going to tell his future wife what he didn’t save himself for her in Dawn Treader? This movie was much, (so to speak) darker, than the book. The issues in this episode may make the movie version of Dawn Treader much more complicated than the book.
    I was also disappointed to see how the movie strayed so far from the book. The events got out of order, and Caspian had a better idea of what was going on. They also cut out a full chapter at the beginning. (Caspian’s conversation with his uncle Miraz.)

  • James

    “So apparently one of the biggest reasons that people didn’t enjoy PC is because it didn’t stay as close to the book as the first one did.”
    Another issue is the “romance” of Caspian and Susan. How is he going to tell his future wife in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader he didn’t save himself for her?

  • James

    Another thing too: it wasn’t pure Prince Caspian. It contained elements of:
    The Horse and His Boy (Susan being more of a strong warrior character is kind of like Aravis)
    The Last Battle (Peter asks “What would happen if we died here?”)
    Lord of the Rings (Ents, and the spirit of the river)
    The 300 (according to the people I sat next to in the theater)

  • AleKnaui

    It could have been MUCH worse… Anyway, I've learned that "book" and "movie" are two very different things… and now enjoy both (most of the time)…