on January 22, 2010
I had high hopes for this movie after thoroughly enjoying The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Although LWW does deviate from the book in some ways, (in spite of the casting for the voice of Aslan and the Witch), it stays true to the spirit and the overall plot line of the book. I think the battle is awesome, and the four Pevensies are played very well and spiritedly. My dad took my sister and me to see Prince Caspian in the theatre, and, although I had already heard about the kiss, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. Now, don't stop reading. We were given the movie before it came out on DVD in the U.S. and our whole family watched it, and liked it. Then we watched it again. By that time, I was beginning to realize that it wasn't as great as I had thought (in part due to my brother, who pointed some things out). But I still liked it. Then I watched it again, and I totally disliked it that time. Here are my quarrels with it:
It begins with Caspian being awoken by Dr. Cornelius (whom I do not think is ever named except by the title 'Professor' or 'Doctor') and he is helped to escape.
He gets out of the castle and is chased by Telmarine soldiers; this is not in the book, where Caspian's escape, besides happening later on, is done in secrecy and is not found out for a day or two. Why do we care about Caspian? Just some guy with a Spanish accent (where'd they come up with that? Why couldn't they be descended from English pirates just as easily?)who is, for some reason, running away because his uncle, for some reason, wants to kill him.
Dear me, I'm already getting long winded, and we've hardly begun. I'll try to keep it short. Okay, then we go to the Pevensies, who are at a huge train station (very unlike Lewis's 'empty, sleepy country railway station') and the first thing we know, Susan (who has a bad attitude) has lied to a boy about her name, and Peter has gotten into a fight. Then they are pulled dramatically into Narnia, and arrive on the seashore.
The movie goes very quickly on to them finding their old castle, now in ruins, and then rescuing a dwarf from drowning. In the book, Susan merely shoots the soldier's helmet, and, being superstitious, he and his companion jump out and swim to shore. In the movie, she actually shoots the man! Dead! So much for 'Queen Susan the Gentle', and we're hardly twenty minutes into the film.
The dwarf turns out to be an idiotic, sour, ugly, bratty thing called Trumpkin, very unlike the lovable dwarf from the books. He is not a good actor, if you ask me, but maybe it's just his script. All he does is get on my nerves through the whole movie. So, after a neat swordfight between him and Edmund, they go off to find Caspian. Meanwhile, Caspian has escaped from the soldiers for a moment, banged his head on a tree limb, and finds himself at the doorway of a small cave. Two dwarfs rush out to kill him, and he, for no apparent reason, blows the horn that Cornelius gave him, despite the fact that it was supposed to be blown at a completely different time, and for completely different reasons (there are, apparently, no reasons at all in the movie for this action).
Trumpkin runs out as the Telmarines find them, and Caspian is knocked out by Nikabrik. Since I haven't watched this in a while, I can't remember when exactly all the cutting between the Pevensies and Caspian is, so I'll do my best.
The Pevensies row down the river, then get out and go on foot. We find out that Trumpkin has been captured by Miraz' men, and he stands before Miraz and the council. We find Caspian in the cave; he wakes up and hears the badger and Nikabrik talking about him. The badger is there completely for comic relief. In the book he's a noble animal, who is very loyal to Caspian. Here, he's a slapstick.
Nikabrik is extremely ugly (do dwarves have to be that ugly? In the old BBC Narnia movies, they looked perfectly fine without being made to look so extremely ugly), and bitter. Caspian convinces them that he is not going to harm them, and they go off into the forest, where they are found by Telmarine soldiers and shot at.
Trufflehunter is hit, and Caspian does a very brave (and somewhat out of movie!character) action, and goes back and picks up the badger. The Telmarines are still shooting at him, but suddenly they begin to fall down. Of course, it's Reepicheep, and after he's finished off the soldiers, he knocks Caspian down and is about to kill him, but the badger intervenes.
Then there's a really dumb place where he's at the Dancing Lawn, a very dark, horrid looking place, if you ask me, with a bunch of centaurs and animals pointing at him and shouting. Caspian calms them down and gives a stupid, politician like speech, full of the required, cheesy sounding promises, that he will give them back their land if they will help him become king.
You don't get the sense that he loves Old Narnia, merely that he wants to be king and get even with Miraz. It seems that he didn't even believe in them until he met the badger and dwarf (compare to the book, where 'thinking and dreaming about the old days, and longing that they might come back, filled nearly all his spare hours').
So, after that, obviously they decide to help him. We go back to Peter and Co., who are confronted with a high cliff that they nearly fall off of, and Lucy sees Aslan. I can't remember if Edmund believes her, I think he does, but the rest do not, and they go on. Lucy has a dream about Aslan coming to her, and then next day, after deciding that maybe she was right (they can't go the way they wanted because the Telmarines are there), they go back and Lucy finds the way down into the ravine. Aslan is conspicuously absent to those of us who know and love the story. He was supposed to show them the way down, and guide them down.
Then they meet Caspian (whom Susan and Lucy aren't supposed to meet till the end), and immediately Susan is looking admiringly at the prince. They go on with him, and from there the story plunges straight downhill:
The disastrous raid on the castle, Peter's horrible attitude, Caspian's horrible attitude, Susan's extremely out of character fighting (and screaming to the other archers), the long, drawn out Lord of the Ring's-esque battle, oh, I could go on and on. I can't stand that Peter is immature, right up to the end, where he gives Caspian his sword, with a 'You don't need us anymore', and then they leave. Edmund and Lucy were the only ones who seemed to be in character most of the time, but even they didn't redeem the movie, so I give it one star.