MINI MOVIE REVIEW: Prince Caspain

I went to see Prince Caspian, the next movie in the Narnia series.

There were good moments.

But there were times when I asked myself if something was going to happen, if it was going to end.

The special effects were great.  However, there were moments when they were very obviously effects.

Also, I really wanted more in WWII England. And didn’t get it.  I feel cheated.

Script: I think the book was Disneyed.

Actors: Well… they had to use the same actors.  I am thinking perhaps we may see Edmund and Lucy again.  I think little Lucy is the most talented of the young people. 

Lucy… light… Dante…. hmmm… I digress.

The sort-of bad guys, Telmarines ("over the far away sea", right?), obviously mislead by a guy with an Islamic sounding name "Miraz", need conversion.  They eventually get it, but… the imagery…  the imagery….

They are dressed sort of like Conquistadors.  Problem, right?  They are Spaniards and with a strong Moorish influence, or so it seemed to me.  They bear a symbol, and 8-pointed star, which could be Christian or Muslim. 

What is going on?  Organized religion gone bad?  Disney intervening?  Dunno.

So, what are we dealing with here: natural religion of happy trees and animals, being "spiritual", as opposed to some religions which is more established?  More organized?

I’m just asking. 

I will be glad to read your own comments on the movie. 

See it if you want.

But if Ironman is showing at the same cinema….

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47 Responses to MINI MOVIE REVIEW: Prince Caspain

  1. Willebrord says:

    Wow, this took me by surprise. I plumb forgot about this movie coming out now.
    I never noticed how the name Miraz sounds Islamic. Interesting… and makes sense.
    Sounds terrible, though, about equating the Telmarines with Conquistadores and Spaniards; and obviously how the plot was Disneyed.
    Still, can’t forget that this [i]is[/i] Disney, however.

  2. Willebord: Maybe you need to see it yourself. These are simply my first impressions. I will continue to consider these details.

    Also, it has been a while since I read the book.

    A LONG while.

  3. Todd says:

    Lewis’ book was one of the weaker in the series, I thought. This movie put some depth in it; I enjoyed the surprises and the character development. Caspian was a bit stiff, but he does have to deal with the violence of his family, his people.

    There were lots of good things: the temptations of the White Witch, the set-up for the Peter-Miraz battle, the accurate depiction of the sorrow of war, the mixed abilities of each of the Pevensies to adapt (or not) to England after growing up in Narnia.

    It does make a contrast with the first movie, which was based on a far stronger story.

  4. Todd: I didn’t have problems with the actor for Caspian, given the screenplay.

    Also, I agree there had to be a contrast with the first movie.

  5. Malta says:

    I liked Ironman, but if I were a Priest I would warn my flock against watching the first 20 minutes (or, perhaps, against the movie as a whole); it’s indicative of our modern culture, and even modern Church, that we have no barometer with respect to sin. I don’t think it’s enough to say, “well, society is fornicating, so we must expect these things in a movie,” because, really, Ironman is geared towards kids first, and adults second. I find it disheartening that those who should be warning us about Ironman are saying it is perfectly, morally, fine. Classically, I can handle my kids watching pg-13 violence, but not pg-13 sex; you liberals will have to get over it!

  6. David O'Rourke says:

    I haven’t seen the movie but in general I have to agree with Malta that “we have no barometer with respect to sin”. I have even seen otherwise good movies where the heart warming triumph of good is in fact two people commiting fornication or adultry. And even religious people think you are old fashioned if you object, not simply to the perhaps discreet handling of the act itself but to the fact that an immoral act is presented as a positive good, the liberation of two people or the moment they finally open themselves to each other. Of course the guidance of the Church is long gone.

  7. Wilhelm says:

    personally,I thought the Telmarines seemed more Italian.if you look at the acors who played the three main bad telmarines: Miraz,Glozel and sophespian, two are italian and one is spanish.
    just my 2 cents

  8. Jim says:

    I have happy images in my head, from childhood, of the Narnia books. They can’t touch Tolkien’s LOTR, of course, but they are happy images nonetheless. I’m not sure I want to give them up for what Hollyweird wants to replace them with. I may forego seeing any of the rest of the Narnia movies, as the first one left me drumming my fingers on the formed plastic cup holder at the end of the theater arm rest. Maybe I’m getting harder to please as I age, but I didn’t like what Peter Jackson’s LOTR movies did to the previous images in my head from reading those books. Jackson’s movies were excellent, but once I saw them, >> went the previous imprints. At this point I still have intact images of Reep and Puddleglum and Eustace and all of that cast. I prefer to keep them MINE.

  9. Saw the movie this afternoon and thought it was fantastic. Andrew Adamson, the director, improved the book, keeping its spiritual themes, picking up the pacing, and deepening the drama. Just a joy to see the secular world do something in favor of values and spirituality. I’m a bit Lewis and Tolkien fan and I have to say I was really moved. I’m taking 225 parishioners to it on Sunday afternoon. Should be fun. If interested, check out my review on my blog http://anamchara.blogs.com for a deeper look into the meaning of the film. I also have a newspaper article on it on the web here: http://observer.rockforddiocese.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=6EKzh6LBTyQ%3d&tabid=1235 Sorry to go on so long, but I think this film is a great way to present the Gospel message in a new and creative way for folks of all ages.

  10. I saw the movie this afternoon. Overall, I liked it, though you are right in saying that the book was “Disneyed,” Father. The romance between Susan and Prince Caspian was completely unnecessary, and Lewis would have heartily disapproved. That was the only departure from the book which really rankled me; the others seemed to be very much in the spirit of the Chronicles.

    The Telmarines were portrayed fairly close to how they appear in Lewis’ book — they are a darker, Moorish-looking race there, too. It could very well be that Lewis himself was drawing on Islamic peoples when he created them. However, I don’t think you can make a case for theirs being “organized religion gone bad,” because it seems that they have no religion at all, only history and tradition. Both of these crumble when their foundation (faith and morals) is neglected, which is why the Narnians are able to gain the upper hand in the end. I think the movie showed the need for faith fairly well.

    A great scene was where Peter was sitting in the temple of the broken altar, just looking at the relief of Aslan, not quite praying, but wishing Aslan would prove his existence. Reminded me of what I would do in Adoration chapels before I was received into the Church.

  11. Jeff Miller says:

    Most of the reviews I have seen on it said it was a good action movie, but that the themes of the book that C.S. Lewis developed were pretty much dropped. Even to a larger extent than in the first move.

    decentfilms.com has a good review up on it.

  12. Shane says:

    I really am not a fan of Narnia. The theology of it bugs the heck out of me…. It’s obviously a good thing, expressing Christian themes hidden in allegory and whatnot, but I really think it can do more harm then good when the themes that are being expressed “undercover” are at times erroneous. When you mix bad stuff with good stuff, it makes it harder to spot. For a guy like me, I can see the problems and ignore them and see the positives and benefit from them, but for kids watching or reading this stuff – which was the intention – to me it poses a tremendous danger of getting them thinking in the wrong theological ways.

  13. MacBeth says:

    The book, which I have read every year since I was 8 (and I will not admit how many times that is…), is about the rise of atheism. What the film lacked was a _deliberate_ confrontation between faith and atheism. Sure, there were little hints, like when Aslan tells Lucy that just because her friends lack faith doesn’t mean…blah blah…turning the whole matter into a lecture, and who wants a lecture in a film.

    I cannot agree that Adamson improved the book. I don’t think he _got it_ beyond the adventure; any spiritual messages seemed thrown in at the last minute.

  14. anonymous says:

    Fr. Z,

    I enjoyed reading your post about the movie. I’m going to take my daughter to see it soon.

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog. Your website’s encouragement helped lead me to the TLM, which has really helped me and my family. I didn’t know about the TLM until a couple of months ago. I was always led to believe that “Trads,” whatever that label means, were mean-spirited but the excellent writing and intellectual nature of this blog has helped to show me that that’s a false stereotype. I also have taken comfort in the fact that you seem like both a no-nonsense and a kind person, which is great because I believe(for what it’s worth) that if we try to spread the TLM confidently and charitably, less people will be afraid to try something that’s really awesome and Faith-affirming, though maybe “off-putting” at first to folks who are only use to guitars and the vernacular, like I was.

    Please keep this blog running. I discovered a liturgy that I love because of it and I’m sure more people have/will as time passes.

    Thanks and God bless.

  15. Padre Steve says:

    I saw the movie tonight as well and I have to say I did enjoy it. I kept thinking about Padre Pio since the fellow who plays the evil king was the same actor who played the saint in the recent movie! I agree that Ironman was worthy of more praise, but this film had some good moments. The overall theme of man having forgotten God was apparent and true! I enjoyed the moment where Aslan breathes upon the people. I kept thinking of Confirmation or the Chrism Mass! The film does seem to lean a bit in the direction of the tree huggers, but then again its Hollywood. It was enjoyable, but if I were going back…. I would see Ironman again! Padre Steve, SDB

  16. Clara says:

    I thought the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe movie did a reasonably good job of capturing the book. Note that I say *reasonably* good, and our standards for this have to be depressingly low after things like the Peter Jackson monstrosity (I only saw the first one, and after that torment didn’t subject myself to the other two), but still. The Prince Caspian movie was a cut below the first one, I thought, at least in terms of capturing the story. They pretty much dropped almost the entire first third of the book, and then added multiple gratuitous other scenes. Because of that, the narrative thread was totally confused and much of the story just made no sense: why did the soldiers take Trumpkin hundreds of miles away from the castle just to execute him? How did Trumpkin even know who the children were supposed to be, or where he ought to take them, given that he was captured before he even spoke to Caspian? Why did Caspian seem to be expecting the old kings and queens to arrive, seeing as how Dr. Cornelius never told him what the horn was? And on and on… it was really quite a mess. Prince Caspian’s character was pretty much gutted — I have no strong feelings on the actor either way, but I couldn’t find much reason to think that this Caspian was especially virtuous or fit to rule. But of course, it would be hard to show that without, you know, the first third of the book, where the relationship between Caspian and Miraz is actually established.

    There is a solution to this kind of problem. JUST DO IT THE WAY HE WROTE IT. There is no need to try to “improve” classic stories like this. There’s a reason why they’ve been loved by generations of children. One thing that always particularly depresses me is how, when adventure stories are made into movies, they are virtually gutted of dialogue. Talking is reduced to the barest minimum, and even what there is mostly doesn’t come from the book; in place of the dialogue we get scores of gratuitous action scenes and mushy moments. Is this really the kind of culture we are, that we want our classic stories reduced to that hackneyed tripe? Is there some tacit rule that a story can’t be exciting and also have some substance?

    Okay, sorry, I’ll stop ranting and go write a review for my own blog. :)

  17. boredoftheworld says:

    Classically, I can handle my kids watching pg-13 violence, but not pg-13 sex; you liberals will have to get over it!

    My wife and I were discussing exactly that immediately after we saw Ironman because we knew our five year old son would have gone absolutely bananas if we’d let him see it. I suggested that we wouldn’t have problems with him seeing the violence because we could explain it to him, the bad guys try to kill the good guys and the good guys try to stop the bad guys. As for “the other”, that’s none of his business and I’m not going to accelerate the approaching day when I have to explain all that to him.

    However within the context of Ironman the first half hour or so was making the point that our “hero” was a cad, as best we can recall (yes, I’ve had to call on my better half for assistance) he never even so much as managed to kiss “Pepper Potts”. It showed a distinct difference in his behavior. That said, the scene, brief as it was (I can’t actually remember it), wasn’t needed to make the point… but the robot with the fire extinguisher may have been the funniest thing I’ve seen all year (other than the “Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre”).

  18. Mark M says:

    Gosh; doesn’t sound like the book!

    Father: if you want the definitive Chronicles of Narnia, then watch the BBC’s miniseries. It was done in the eighties, and was very loyal to the books.

  19. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Some of these comments remind me of the old joke:-
    = Where did you get the idea for your new book?
    - From the film of the old one!

  20. Athos says:

    Here’s my review, Father. Keep in mind I had a kidney removed 3 weeks ago; I may still be a might ornery.

  21. RBrown says:

    I really am not a fan of Narnia. The theology of it bugs the heck out of me…. It’s obviously a good thing, expressing Christian themes hidden in allegory and whatnot, but I really think it can do more harm then good when the themes that are being expressed “undercover” are at times erroneous.
    Comment by Shane

    Which themes are erroneous.

  22. EDG says:

    It was definitely Disneyfied, especially with that sappy song at the end, but it could have been worse. The special effects were good, and using Spaniards was a good idea because they have an accent that can be a little hard to place and sounds exotic. I did get the feeling that the Telmarines were supposed to be a warlike Middle Eastern people but not Muslim (I think one of the other books in the series has a more direct reference to Islam, IIRC), who had abandoned all religion and imposed a sort of pragmatic atheism on their kingdom and a system of government that was therefore very dependent on the whims and morality of the leader at the moment. Perhaps they were more like the Phoenecians. Caspian essentially converts and rules as a Christian king at the end. However, the story was very compressed and many of the explanatory details were left out, and the big smooch at the end was unnecessary. Still, I think the kids in the theater where I saw the movie found it very heroic and noble, and they all cheered at the end.

  23. dcs says:

    The Telmarines were portrayed fairly close to how they appear in Lewis’ book—they are a darker, Moorish-looking race there, too. It could very well be that Lewis himself was drawing on Islamic peoples when he created them.

    You are thinking of the Calormenes. IIRC, Caspian is described as being fair-haired in Dawn Treader.

  24. aelianus says:

    Is Prince Caspian about the Reformation? I have long suspected this. I am told Lewis himself asserted its theme was “the restoration of the true religion after a corruption”. His nearest approach to the Church seems to have passed when he wrote it.

  25. dcs says:

    The romance between Susan and Prince Caspian was completely unnecessary, and Lewis would have heartily disapproved.

    It will also make Susan look bad when she has a romance with Prince Rabadash in The Horse and His Boy, assuming that is ever filmed and stays true to the book.

  26. David says:

    So, Father, given your dislike of the film, was CasPAIN an intentional misspelling?

  27. Shane says:

    Which themes are erroneous.

    The one I’m really thinking of is the embracing of the ransom to Satan theory of the atonement.

  28. LCB says:

    Considering how terrible my religious education was, the Chronicles were the only hint I ever had that Christianity was more than some boring “feeling sharing” sessions.

    Shane, I’ll take the Chronicles over the slop most children are taught any day.

  29. Todd says:

    “The romance between Susan and Prince Caspian was completely unnecessary, and Lewis would have heartily disapproved.”

    And yet, it alluded to the reason given for Susan’s absence in The Last Battle.

    I second Mark’s endorsement of the BBC series.

  30. Carolina Geo says:

    I haven’t seen the movie; in fact, I probably won’t. But I do have one big question. Prince Caspian is not the next book in the series; The Horse and His Boy is. Why did the film makers skip over that one? After LWW was released, I was really curious as to how they were going to portray the obvious Christian/Muslim conflict in the next installment. It seems that they dealt with the issue by ignoring it.

    Does anyone know the reason?

  31. EDG says:

    Carolina Geo – The Horse and His Boy was the story I was thinking of (the one that dealt with Islam), but I didn’t recall that it came before Prince Caspian. Thus, I would say it was intentionally excluded and I doubt that we’ll ever see any studio make it – too un-PC, don’t you know?

  32. dcs says:

    Prince Caspian is not the next book in the series; The Horse and His Boy is.

    When the Chronicles were first published, The Horse and His Boy was fifth in the series.

    For some reason the publisher decided at one point to publish them in “chronological” order. But this makes no sense because one should definitely not read The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

    I just checked Dawn Treader and Caspian is described as being “golden-headed.” So that rules out, I think, that the Telmarines are “Moorish.” I also seem to recall the Telmarines being described as the descendants of pirates or mutineers at the end of Prince Caspian.

  33. Mark M says:

    The Horse and His Boy is indeed the next story, but even when the BBC serialised it, it was omitted, as was The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle.

    However, there can be reason for this, as well. The order they were written in is: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952), The Silver Chair (1953), The Horse and His Boy (1954), The Magician’s Nephew (1955), and The Last Battle (1956).

    In terms of the narrative, Prince Caspian is the next story; the action of The Horse and His Boy happens to occur as a side-story in the intervening (Narnian) years.

  34. EDG says:

    dcs – Thank you for that information. I think Lewis himself didn’t realize that he was going to write a “series” and this is why the final book had to tie up the chronological loose ends as it did. Does anyone else remember, btw, that the initial trailers for Prince Caspian showed the train bursting through the wall of the station? Of course, if you know the end of the series, you will understand this.

  35. Shane says:

    Shane, I’ll take the Chronicles over the slop most children are taught any day.

    I certainly agree on one level. On another, I really have a problem. I am torn about it.

    You see, you’re absolutely right – this is far and away better than most of the stuff made for kids these days. The Christian themes are really something very positive in a sea of junk.

    At the same time, it’s still something erroenous that kids are being taught. That’s not really bad in and of istelf. There really isn’t anything that is perfect. There’s most always going to be the need to take the good out of something and reject the bad. However, in the case of Narnia, it is such a very subtle thing, and it is put in the context of a greater mass of good material. I think that’s dangerous.

    It reminds me of a priest I know who preaches homilies and makes very slight, almost insignificant changes to the prayers of the Mass. His homilies contain many good points, and he doesn’t really drastically change any prayers, and I think that this makes him far worse than a person preaching outright heresy. When someone preaches outright heresy, most people are going to know it – not in all the gnitty-gritty details, but in the big things. In other words, people are going to know that a priest endorsing gay marriage is opposed to Church teaching. People are going to know that a guy denying the divinity of Christ is not delivering the Church’s message.

    The problem with this priest is that the things he says are so subtle that I would venture to say myself and an other dozen people at a Mass he celebrates will pick up on it. The rest of the people will not notice what he’s saying wrong, and that coupled with the other good points he does make can lead to these people gradually being formed according to his false teaching. As you know, some of the mist critical points in theology are the most subtle. A tiny little Christological error can change the entire way we think about God, Christ, and ourselves without us even realizing it. This is what happens with this priest, which is why I consider him worse than a priest endorsing women’s ordination or something.

    My problem is that kids are so impressionable and so undeveloped theologically. They are in the process of formation. If they get the idea in their heads – especially if it is below the surface – that God was bound to give anything to Satan, I think that this is a very dangerous situation. It results in kids with a hidden, underlying conception of God that is erroneous, but which is not so obvious as to be able to be corrected or even noticed. It’s a mess, in my opinion.

    It’s the reason Protestants can’t understand very plain and obvious explanations of the Catholic Faith. Being a convert myself and as one who has invested a great deal of time in the subject, I am firmly convinced that the differences between Catholic and Protestants are not really theological at all, but philisophical. Protestants are formed with a sort of underlying nominalism which colors their view of the world. When presented with Catholic theology, they can’t comprehend it because their way of looking at the world – the underlying “how you think about stuff” that we don’t even realize is a part of us without deep introspection – isn’t able to make sense of Catholic theology, which is based on realism. It’s why, in my opinion, so many conversions come through morality. Biblical morality is plain: God was very clear about what to and what not to do. Protestants see His straightforward command. However, Biblical morality doesn’t match up with nominalist thought, so when a Protestant seeks out proper morality, he can’t achieve it without finally recognizing, confronting, and changing his philisophical world-view. At this point, such a person is finally able to comprehend Catholicism as it truly is.

    The point of my digression was simply to point out that the underlying, hidden beliefs we have are far more important than the explicitly held ones, because they dictate how we are going to handle and form our clear, surface level beliefs. This is why I have such a problem with Narnia. When a kid gets these ideas in the back of his head somewhere, God knows what can happen.

    That’s my thought, anyhow.

  36. Aaron Converse says:

    I can’t agree with the positive reviews; the movie wasn’t merely ‘Disnified’, but it brought in different levels of conflict which never existed in Lewis’ book. The addition of the castle attack was not terrible; the boorishness of Peter in ordering the attack is contrary to the manner in which Peter (generally) acted. And the conflict between Peter and Caspian? Please…again, what WE might expect to see, but not what Lewis wrote.

    I suspect that Lewis would have held that there was a ‘natural hierarchy’, and that both Caspian and Peter would have recognized this, and would have (did) act in accord with this. Peter was the High King; Caspian was the ‘prince to come’, so to speak, but was naturally subordinate to Peter. And each, of course, beneath Aslan. But the idea of a ‘natural hierarchy’ is contrary to the way things are done today, so…

    But of course, this hierarchy is not absolute; in the book, Lucy’s visions of Aslan and insistence that they follow her creates a spiritual order, so to speak, which has its own natural prerogatives.

    And the battle scenes are very much in a modern style in which the characters do outlandish, dramatic moves that would lead them to be cut into pieces if they were ACTUALLY fighting. And I hated the bow-as-melee-weapon approach taken in the LOTR movies; it is no better here.

    It was visually beautiful, and some of the scenes were marvelous. I thought that the way in which the movie began, even if not faithful to the book, was fine. But the director (or screenwriter) is not capturing the tone of the book or of the characters…

  37. RBrown says:

    The one I’m really thinking of is the embracing of the ransom to Satan theory of the atonement.
    Comment by Shane

    I think it is wrong to read the Chronicles or any other literature as a puzzle, trying to uncover Christian themes. Are there themes in the work that have something in common with Christian teachings? Yes, but I think these stories are not really intended as Christian apologetics but rather to encourage a sense of the mystery of existence. They are an antidote to Logical Positivism.

    If someone wants to read literature specifically Christian, I recommend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

  38. Shane says:

    Rbrown,

    I would agree with you in general. For example, Tolkien essentially declared that this was the way his books were intended. However, unless my memory fails me, Lewis intended the Chronicles to be much more of a direct Christian tale. He specifically stated that his intention with Narnia was to find a way to sneak the Gospel past the “watching dragons” of the secular world.

  39. Trevor says:

    I haven’t seen the new Narnia movie, but I heard it got decent reviews. From my memory, the book, Prince Caspian, had very few Christian undertones (when compared to the other ones of the series). In fact, at times it had more pagan-influence than Christian (a river god and Bacchus joined the festivities at the end).

    I am anxious to see what Disney does with the Dawn Trader movie. At the end of the book, Aslan appears as the Paschal Lamb. This imagery may be too Christian for Disney’s multicultural audience (sadly).

  40. Joseph says:

    So I saw Prince Caspian last night and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that the movie was a very strong second installment in the series. Looking at the greater world of book-to-movie adaptations, I believe Prince Caspian was faithful to the text with a limited amount of artistic license. Disney has now impressed me twice with the production of the Chronicles of Narnia….a company that has in its recent history botched so many things up seems to actually be getting this series…well…right….credit where credit is due. I believe Disney and Walden Media stated that they intend to adapt all of the books to movies provided they continue to do well so I would encourage people to get out and see the movie and support decent entertainment when it comes. Father, maybe it is a break in the generations-I am still a young adult-but I didn’t find that the movie exceeded my attention span. It is a long production, but the adaptation to film kept the plot quite engaging in my opinion. Also, I don’t see how you drew that disney was somehow slamming organized religion…I’m fairly sure the slam was against evil, greed, and pride…again. Good movie, Good message!

  41. Joseph says:

    So I saw Prince Caspian last night and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that the movie was a very strong second installment in the series. Looking at the greater world of book-to-movie adaptations, I believe Prince Caspian was faithful to the text with a limited amount of artistic license. Disney has now impressed me twice with the production of the Chronicles of Narnia….a company that has in its recent history botched so many things up seems to actually be getting this series…well…right….credit where credit is due. I believe Disney and Walden Media stated that they intend to adapt all of the books to movies provided they continue to do well so I would encourage people to get out and see the movie and support decent entertainment when it comes. Father, maybe it is a break in the generations-I am still a young adult-but I didn’t find that the movie exceeded my attention span. It is a long production, but the adaptation to film kept the plot quite engaging in my opinion. Also, I don’t see how you drew that disney was somehow slamming organized religion…I’m fairly sure the slam was against evil, greed, and pride…again. Good movie, Good message!

  42. Here’s an excerpt from my review on Catholic Exchange. I didn’t see Moors, I saw Russians.
    “Prince Caspian” was written by CS Lewis in 1951, as Europe, recoiling from the savagery of World War II, was dismayed to find the nations liberated by the Allies from Nazis under a new oppressor; the Soviet Communists. The Cold War snuffed the glow of the Allied victory and overshadowed the ensuing decades with the specter of international nuclear war. Lewis, who died in 1967, never lived to see the break up of the Soviet Empire, and one wonders if, by using the name ‘Caspian’, he meant to evoke the Caspian Sea, which borders Russia, and the rejection and oppression of religious belief in Telmar, the atheistic dogmatism of Communism. Director/Producer/Screenwriter Andrew Adamson seemed to imply this by having the swarthy Telmarines speak with Eastern European accents, and cloaking their Kingdom in darkness, suggesting an evil empire. Telmarine-oppressed Narnia, though brighter than Telmar, reflects little of its former glory, even the animals are no longer civilized. As Narnian Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) explains the change, “If you are treated like a dumb animal, that is what you become”.

  43. John says:

    Prince Caspian is not the next book in the series; The Horse and His Boy is. Why did the film makers skip over that one? After LWW was released, I was really curious as to how they were going to portray the obvious Christian/Muslim conflict in the next installment. It seems that they dealt with the issue by ignoring it.

    Does anyone know the reason?

    The explanation I heard was that they wanted to use the same 4 actors in Prince Caspian and that if they waited to do the movies in sequence the children would have been too old to fit the characters in Prince Caspian.

    I liked the movie but I never read the books so can’t compare them. Maybe that is for the best. I know of few films that ever did justice to the books that they were based on.

  44. Joannie says:

    Yes, the published order and the chronological order are different. Horse and his Boy is considered third chronologically because it takes place before the children ever go back to England. However, in Prince Caspian, the kids are still kids. They obviously had to go the Prince Caspian route here because of the age of the actors, as previously noted. Horse and His Boy takes place when they’re a little older (hence Susan marrying).
    So the debate goes back and forth… do you read them in the order they were written, or do you read them in the order Lewis’ stepson, Gresham, suggests? it’s a feud that can get ugly amongst fans…

  45. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I saw on Unam Sanctam Catholicam’s blog this review, which included this telling edit of the book for the screen:

    [T]he film makes slight edits in Aslan’s dialogue that subtly un-divinize him. For instance, Lewis has a seemingly larger Aslan tell Lucy, “I have not [grown]. … Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” In the film, the line is simply, “Every year you grow, so shall I.” [Source: NCR]

  46. TerryC says:

    “The romance between Susan and Prince Caspian was completely unnecessary, and Lewis would have heartily disapproved.

    “It will also make Susan look bad when she has a romance with Prince Rabadash in The Horse and His Boy, assuming that is ever filmed and stays true to the book.”

    I don’t think that is true. Chronologically for Susan she meets Caspian after Rabadash, as The Horse and His Boy happens during her first adventure in Narnia, when she is older than her normal British age. She rejects Rabadash because she knows he is cruel, not because she is dedicated to chastity, not that her chaste relationship to Caspian compromised her chastity. All she does is flirt a little with him and kiss him goodbye. This is quite within acceptable behavior for a teen age girl of her (1940s) era.
    The book makes clear that, for the children, much of their Narnia life sort of fades over the year in England. Not quite a dream, but not exactly as clear as memory. Upon their return their memories sort of slowly return.
    Peter’s obvious adjustment problem seems quite believable to me. I could even lay out both a scientific and theological framework for it. Adolescent brains are not the same as adult brains, so even with all of the memories of his adult High King self he would not be the same person. Being thrust back to England, where he is just a adolescent boy, and not an Adult king would be a problem for most males, at least I think so. Returning to Narnia with incomplete memories and lacking the adult reasoning skills he had, not during the early LW&W, but during Narnia’s Golden Age would be no easier to adjust to.
    Theologically Peter almost certainly is meant by Lewis to correspond with our own Peter. As such he should not be perfect, as Peter was not perfect. Though high King Peter never denies Aslan in both the book and the movie he acts as if he believes Aslan is gone and that the Narnians must save themselves, though eventually he realizes that only Aslan can save them and so sends Lucy to him.
    I quite enjoyed the movie. I agree that Lewis was probably influence by the Communist treat of his time, but his message is as applicable to the secularization of Europe (and America) as to the Soviets.
    I think this comes through in the movie. The breath of Aslan (which should also appear in the Magician’s Nephew) was a very obvious Christian theme, utilized exactly as Lewis intended.

  47. joe says:

    What leapt out at me — and wouldn’t leave me — was how Miraz looked like something out of El Greco.

    AMDG,

    -J.