Prince Caspian; reviewed by a fan
For those that don’t know, I’m a huge Narnia fan. Here is my opinion of the new film. There are definately spoilers.
The film is not a let down; The film doesn’t suck, which is a real relief.
But it does fail, and pretty consistently, throughout.
Opening in Narnia is weird. There are only twoof seven books that do this in the series, one is the final installment, and the purpose, as I see it, is to experience the arrival of the Friends from the perspective of a Narnian king in prayer. The other, in a story where none of the principle characters are from earth.
Instead, this film opens mid-plot in Narnia, for,… well, no good reason. Caspian’s flight from the castle may indeed be a center piece for the drama in the film, but not to such a degree that the audience can be thrust into it without any background.
The reasons that this is bad:
~ No one understands what it going on unless they know the book
~ Caspian doesnt really understand what is going on
Further Ramifications of these things
~ Caspian blows the horn in the opening sequence, for no good reason (rather than as a matter of great debate)
~ Trumpkin is captured immediately by the military presence that prompts said horn blowing
~ There’s no way that Trumpkin could have known who caspian was, or what he was doing
~ There is no space for Trumpkin’s cynicism to develop, at all (consequently, no one understands why he gets roared at, including himself)
~When Trumpkin meets the Friends of Narnia, he’s supposed to get them up to date on what’s been happening. Except he doesnt know anything about Prince Caspian— it was certainly a surprise to Trufflehunter and Nikabrick that this was who was staying in their hole in the ground.– how much more so for a cynic like Trumpkin? So how is it that peter knows anything about what’s going on when he runs into Caspian, “I believe you called”, etc. He should know nothing.
How people make millions of dollars to make films and this kind of BS slips through is completely beyond my understanding.
Now, I’m not a huge stickler for adaptations keeping to the letter of the source material, and I’m a big proponent of, well, principally, the kind of awesome adaptation that we saw in 1994 when Branagh imagined Frankenstein, mostly because it was smartly adapted.
Smart adaptation is the key, not accurate adaptation. You are recreating spirit, not the reality of the book into images (not always, anyway)
Now, that said, the changes made in the adaptation of Prince Caspian were not done in the spirit of the book, they were done to create moods and tension, and pacing, that was never present. While this isn’t bad in and of itself, they were done in ways that left big gaping holes in the plot and characters. unacceptable.
Peter is a good leader, but is actually really terrible at it. Caspian is a follower of the old ways, but is pretty enraptured at the idea of using evil. Caspian is noble, but doesn’t fight in the single combat to save Narnia, even though he’s not wounded like he’s supposed to be…. Nikabrick, well, we saw so little of him that I have to write a sentence about nothing just to bring him up. Susan hates being in Narnia, but loves it.
Again, all this would be fine, if the book was about contradictions, which it isn’t.
I totally disregard this idea that “Well, it’s not a cinematic book, they had to change it a lot”
That’s a total load of crap. Any topic can be delivered cinematically. But it will be that topic, not something else.
The first few chapters of the book of Prince capsian are filled with an odd mix of adventure and mystery. How did they get here? Where is here? How could this possibly be narnia? What on earth are we doing here? et al. Point is, there are plenty of things to focus on in the source material, and a person writing a good adaptation would take all of these elements from the source, and condense them into compact, efficient scenes that would hail the souls out of the viewers, and inundate them with what knowledge the visual medium can allow for. IF you need to change things to make it so compact, then do it in the knowledge that things must flow, and must make sense, and must be… you know, believable.
Glossing over the central themes of the source material so that you can devote an extra 20 minutes to action sequences is a nice way to make a bad film.
The problem is not so chronic, though. Just a thick cough. .. and even though I would like the source material to be adapted as well as it can be to the visual medium, I would rather have the filmmakers stick to the letter of the novels if they are unable to keep it logical, and in the spirit. of the text. and otherwise.
Also, Last battle won’t work without an R rating. This barely did, I need to see some blood. Reep was great, in spite of all, though he should have been insane. Edmund rocked, I cant wait to see him in Dawn Treader. I hope they keep the Regina Specktor out until the credits roll next time, not at all would be even better, though. Not because she’s so terrible, because she isn’t, but because its completely inappropriate to get whiny guttural lyrics in the middle of my fantasy opera. What is this, a disney flick?
My vote, B+, for changing crap around for no reason and making everything make less sense. I gave LWW an A-, basically for not giving peter any kind of backbone.
That’s about all I’ve got at the moment.