Monday, May 19, 2008

Prince Caspian

The new Chronic(what?)les of Narnia film, Prince Caspian, is an enjoyable movie, at least for people like myself who know the basic story line but aren't so familiar with the details of the book that every little change gives you a jolt.

There are changes, of course. A major movement to the plot has been added (without which the story would probably have seemed too short). There are also several changes in the character's personalities and relationships. For the most part, these changes make sense for a movie (the Susan-Caspian love interest thing is played fairly low-key until the very contemporary good-bye kiss), but they do cause some interesting shifts.

For example, Peter and Caspian's roles are somewhat reversed. Caspian seems older than in the book, and Peter younger. Instead of saying right from the start that he's no threat to Caspian's throne, movie-Peter's main motivation is his desire to be in power again. All of the sudden, reviewers can call him "a stubborn hothead - Sonny Corleone to his younger brother's more rational Michael."

Well, the hair color is right, I guess.

My guess is that these changes will seem more striking/wrong to people who know the book better than I do. Just reading this interview with someone who knows the book very well made me regret some of the movie choices (HT: HogPro). On the other hand, Frederica Mathewes-Green and John Mark Reynolds think the movie is better than the book (HT: JT).

I'm not ready to go that far. The book has a wonderful originality; it isn't just a repeat of its predecessor: "Nothing happens the same way twice, Dear One." On the other hand, you kind of feel like you've seen a lot of the shots from the movie before. Some of them look a lot like scenes from a certain trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. (Although I will say that the "Fighting Trees" scene in Lewis's movie has a better look than the one in Tolkien's movie.) Other scenes just have a feel of genericness, like Caspian's escape from the castle. (Character relationships have a little of this shopworn feel too, as in Peter and Edmund becoming Sonny and Michael.)

Luckily, they have another five shots to work out these kinks (I hope). And I hope someone involved in the movies reads Planet Narnia.

1 comment:

Pirate Jimmy said...

I love the chronicles rap reference!