A Creative Review and Roiling Discussion…

…of the new Prince Caspian movie is presented by Jeffrey Overstreet on his blog.
I have posted a comment, which I also reproduce here.
Very creative review, Jeffrey, and a very graciously moderated discussion. I agree that “subvert” and “sinister” are perhaps a little too strong words to employ, but, to be fair, you are only positing these as possibilities. Nonetheless, it is quite disappointing the changes to which Douglas Gresham is willing to sign off on, and, therefore, I think we can question just how good a grasp he has on his step-father’s work.
A couple little notes. To be fair, I do not have the book here as I write, but I do believe that Peter does lop off the head of one of the two Telmarine Lords after they kill Miraz (which was fairly nicely done in the moview with the arrow, though Lewis’ duel scene is far more intimately staged). Still, the violence was rather too much for a PG movie, particularly all the throat slicings.
Also, there is perhaps some merit for women fighting in Narnia, but the fighter of the two Queens is Queen Lucy in The Horse and His Boy and not Queen Susan. Well, at least Lucy is with the archers in Archenland and is said to frequently go to battle.
The changing of Aslan’s lines is rather distressing, as is the the severe editing of his role. There is very little serious playfulness and holy fear about this Aslan. I very much missed him flinging Trumpkin into the air, catching him, and then saying (I believe) “Shall we be friends?” But, as you noted, the entire Trumpkin character has been changed from skeptic to a somewhat disappointed and apathetic believer.
I must say I did enjoy the movie, but perhaps because of severely lowered expectations and by pouring meaning and my own imagination into little things the filmakers gave us (like tossing bones to dogs), like the apples in the woods around Cair Paravel and the bulgy bear sucking his paws. And I felt rather moved at Susan leaving Narnia, for the very last time. And, for the record, Peter and Susan have to leave Narnia because they have received what Narnia, and what Lewis intended the books to accomplish for children (old and young), intended them to receive, an introduction to Christ, a theme which only gets stonger as the stories go along.
Perhaps my reaction after the movie in envisioning how movie makers might address future films was more telling of my heart, though, I think. I seriously doubt whether they can make the story of Eustace and his de-dragoning without stripping it of its meaning. And will Lucy be chided for eavesdropping? And what really is the big deal about sailing to Aslan’s country anyway? Can the Reepicheep envisioned in this movie be made to have such a sweet dream?
And I really want the filmmakers to cease and desist after the Silver Chair, which I believe they may anyway (the BBC folk did, though I don’t know the real reason). I think the The Horse and His Boy could be a very cinematic story, but think it would be viewed (perhaps somewhat justifiably so, I am at pains to say) as a bit racist, particularly in a post-911 world. And The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle, well, if you strip the religious imagery out of these there is not much left. And if the film makers are unable to depict the holy and good and whimsical aspects of Narnia now (and this may simply be a function of all of us having our sense of story predicated and tinged by Fall), I do not want to see them attempt depicting a New Narnia. There are so many ways the last two books could be messed up, I would prefer not to see them even try.


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