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Wardrobians report on PC--Warning! Spoilers allowed!

Please don't close the door behind you.

When do you plan to see Prince Caspian?

Friday, Opening Night!
10
21%
Saturday!
5
11%
Sunday!
5
11%
I don't know, but as soon as I can.
10
21%
I don't know, but it will be out for a while, so I will let the crowds die off first.
6
13%
I am fairly indifferent--whenever I see it, I see it.
5
11%
I'm waiting for DVD.
1
2%
I'm not in the US, and it is not being released for us yet.
3
6%
I'm not really interested--I don't plan to see it.
2
4%
 
Total votes : 47

Postby Messenger_of_Eden » 18 May 2008, 14:59

Before I read all the other reviews, I will add my own--with an overall impression of the film, together with a list of observations of the Forgivable and the Unforgivable.

First off, as a film in general, it was quite enjoyable. I was disappointed that many of the animals (the Cats, for instance) had less-than realistic quality in their graphic design. When they set this film back for such a long time, I had assumed it would be so that they could get the CGI more perfect. The Centaurs were pretty cool, though not at all how Lewis described them (with flowing beards etc.) The Satyrs, Fauns, Minotaurs etc. were alright. Overall, it was pretty fun. The Gryphons were awesome, though they lacked that certain life-quality in the movement of their spines as well. (That's my problem with their cats--a real cat, Big or Small, has a very elastic spine. As they walk their spine flexes and their body elongates, which is how they achieve that attitudy-saunter. Somehow, after all these years, the CGI artists have apparently failed to observe or reproduce this, thus their cats move like puppets.)

My favorite of all is Reepicheep and his Mice--he was done very well, and the mouse-movement was perfectly captured. I thought he was adorable, despite the strangeness of an adult human male voice (I still think he should have had a Mousier voice.)

In all, despite my problems with some of the CGI, it was very enjoyable, surprisingly long, and I think the masses will like it very much.--I'd say it is worth watching at least once, I may go see it again, and I will definitely buy it, if only because it would be wrong to skip One of the Seven movies.


Forgivable Deviations:

1) The age of the Children. I really do have a problem with the fact that, though the Pevensies are supposed to have aged a year in between trips, they are so very much older. It's been three years at least, and especially in Edmund and Lucy's cases, there is an unrealistically dramatic maturing that has gone on. Even in the movie they say it has been a year. It would have been a small thing to speculate that a side-effect of having grown up in Narnia and then returned to our world as children might cause the maturing process for a child here to speed up, thus they developed faster than their peers. This could at least be a way to explain the change in them from "last year" and allow the viewers to accept the changes that defy normal.

Still though, as the movie got into swing, it was relatively easy to dismiss this inconsistency, and move on. I love the kids, and they did a fantastic job (at what they were directed to do).

2) Caspian--Dark haired, Spanish accent, and far too old! Again, the book describes Caspian as a boy at this point, 12 or 13 at the oldest, and yet here he is between 18-20. It's not the biggest deal in the world, and the Spanish angle actually makes sense, considering that Lewis himself said the Telmarines drived from Pirates. This was actually a rather clever interpretation and a forgivable deviation, though the Kissing Scene was not necessary. Ben Barnes did a great job, and proved a very pleasant young King with his sharp features and dark eyes.

3) Minotaurs with the Narnians. I've always had a problem with this concept, but I suppose it worked okay. It's not like there were werewolves and hags among the ranks of the Good Guys.

Unforgivable Deviations:

1) The Blowing of the Horn. Obviously this couldn't have been more different from the book, and it changed how the Pevensies met Caspian as well. It changed Trumpkin's quest to Cair Paravel. It took out the council where they all decided when and how the horn was to be blown.

2) The power struggle between Caspian and Peter. This was absurd, though I will admit it was not as blatant as I had feared it would be. The very character of Peter, and the fact that he had grown up in Narnia a High King, would have realistically meant he had the wisdom of the High King that he was, and he would understand that he was not meant to stay here--thus no need for the power struggle. Not to mention the fact that, as High King, he is king under Aslan, over all kings of Narnia, therefore again, he would have no need to feel threatened by another king's presence. He himself had been co-regent with Edmund and it was not a problem. I felt sorry for Caspian, who almost literally got shoved to the side so many times it is a wonder he got to be a king at all!

3) The castle Raid. This was a complete waste, with little purpose and little organization. Though it provided an entertaining struggle that lengthened the film by about 20 minutes (possibly a reason why it was introduced to begin with?) it was a worthless and foolish thing. Again, Peter, having been High King in the past, would understand what is important, he would understand good strategy, and would never endanger Narnians needlessly, as he so foolishly did in this unforgivable deviation. There was plenty of peril for the Narnians with Miraz' army bearing down on them without a foolhardy, testosterone-laden night raid on the castle. Peter would not have behaved in such an honorless and wasteful way.

The only thing it accomplished was the saving of Dr. Cornelius, and in the book he got away on his own anyway, and so even this was useless and unnecessary.

4) The Single Combat between Peter and Miraz. In the books, this was a very big deal, and it was important how they chose the representatives to go with Edmund to issue the challenge, as well as the choosing of the Marshalls of the Lists (and the controversy over the Bulgy Bear's hereditary rights and the Sucking of the Paws and all)--all of this was left out, leaving the whole thing simply a little challenge and a duel. The fight scene was pretty intense, and well done. But without all the pageantry and drama surrounding it, it loses half its majesty. This one scene is where Peter the High King proves himself once again as High King before all Narnia, with no need for that power struggle mentioned above. Yet it loses its significance without the pomp of the challenge and the Marshalls.

5) Was Aslan even IN this movie?! I hardly noticed. True, Aslan was less active in this story (in the books), but he WAS there, and should have been shown. They cut out the scenes where the children, one by one, began to see Aslan. They should at least have allowed Edmund to see him. They butchered the whole section from the Bear to the march to the river and back to the gully where Aslan had originally tried to lead them.

He had a token role in the end, but they left out the frolicking of the Trees, the Feast, and Baccus. This also leads to my next unforgivable:

6) No triumphant journey through the Telmarine city (cities?) One of the highlights of the book is when Aslan and all the reveling Narnians go through the place and free oppressed and sick people, bust up the Human order, and bring joy (or mayhem) to the town(s). It is here that Caspian's old Nurse is healed, the schoolboys are turned into pigs, and the entourage grows and grows with rejoicing animals (both Talking and Dumb) and people. The only thing we see in the movie is a parade led by Aslan through Miraz' capital city, which makes no sense--why would a defeated people line up and cheer their defeators, who had just attempted a murderous night-raid on their palace? There is no reason to this parade, and so the whole thing feels very shallow and poorly done. The spectacle is great, but there is no reason for it.

I have other observations and there were definitely lots of good and bad things about it--but I have to get ready for church. In all I really did enjoy it, so far as I was able to separate myself from the book. If this movie accomplishes an interest in kids to read the books, then it will be worth it, and they will be exposed to the proper Stories. I'm glad I saw it, and though it definitely could have been better, I did enjoy it. I'm sure many Wardrobians have similar mixed feelings. I did think that the first movie was more true to that book, and far more satisfactory in general. I hope Dawn Treader is not only quick in coming (I suspect it will be more promptly produced than this one was) but more faithful to the book. Who knows? With Adamson OFF the helm, it could possibly fare better. :wink:
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Postby nomad » 18 May 2008, 18:51

Messenger_of_Eden wrote:
The very character of Peter, and the fact that he had grown up in Narnia a High King, would have realistically meant he had the wisdom of the High King that he was, and he would understand that he was not meant to stay here--thus no need for the power struggle.


That is exactly the problem. Peter is too perfect in the book. Apart from his unwillingness to believe Lucy's seeing Aslan, he really is not fleshed out much. If he had been portrayed this way on the screen, he would have been completely flat. So I really can't blame Adamson for introducing a bit of competition between the two kings. Besides, with some Narnians believing in the four and some not, there would naturally be some tension even if there were none personally between the two. (No one can serve two masters) It allows the one-on-one battle scene to bring him into his role of High King more meaningfully.

Messenger_of_Eden wrote:5) Was Aslan even IN this movie?! I hardly noticed. True, Aslan was less active in this story (in the books), but he WAS there, and should have been shown. They cut out the scenes where the children, one by one, began to see Aslan. They should at least have allowed Edmund to see him. They butchered the whole section from the Bear to the march to the river and back to the gully where Aslan had originally tried to lead them.


Totally agreed.
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Postby nomad » 18 May 2008, 18:57

Dan65802 wrote:
nomad wrote:The one thing I will have a very hard time forgiving is the missing romp scene. Why??? It would have translated marvelously to screen.


I think for the vast multitude of non-PC readers, the romp scene may have seemed odd and even silly at times. I think it went the way of Tom Bombadil.

- Dan -


Well, I'm pretty forgiving. If they had made changes to some of the actual imagery I could live with that. But not cutting the whole scene. The joyful, humorous side of Aslan is important to his character. By cutting this out of both movies, Adamson has put Aslan (and by extention, Jesus) back in the comfortable, one dimensional "descend from the heights and save the day" stereotype box that Lewis so imaginatively and wonderfully took him out of.
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Postby ransomed » 18 May 2008, 19:01

Apologies for starting another thread. Didn't notice this one. I was seriously dissappointed with this movie. I said elsewhere that if Lewis was watching it, I believe, based on some of his essays and criticisms, he would have walked out of the theater before the title popped up. it was another Lord of the Rings!
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Postby Solomons Song » 18 May 2008, 22:42

My review is simple, good movie, bad translation. If anyone is only a moderate fan of the Narnia books, this movie will suit them. If anyone is a die-hard Lewisian, like myself, he will walk away with his mind in a funk.

Allow me to get started with my litany of goods and bads.

The Storyline: My primary complaint. Imagine writing PC's storyline on a strip of paper, cutting it into tiny pieces, and then arbitrarily putting it back together, eliminating random parts, and adding random parts that weren't there before. The horn blowing, the conspiracy, the battles, and key characters had different placements and durations in the movie as in the book. In this regard, it was a asinine perversion of the book.

The entire war, which presumably lasted years in the book, went a whole week in the movie. The presence of all the various and sundry inhabitants of Narnia uniting to eliminate Miraz was a patriotic scene. I got a kick out of the automatic firing trebuchets used by Miraz's army. It was like a machine gun trebuchet. I chuckled.

I thought the elimination of the post-resurrection romp from LWW could not be topped. But alas, it was. There was no holiday parade and revelry in the movie. Aslan's return should have been a celebrated event! This is a key part of the book, but it was completely skipped. I cannot understand how Gresham could have allowed this. Caspian's nurse has no part in this movie. No mean boys turned into pigs. No Aslan breaking into a house to heal Caspian's nurse. No Bacchus and his madcap girls. No fat Silenus on his donkey. In essence, Adamson has completely eliminated my favorite part of the book from the movie. Yes, he had the river god, but that was just eye-candy.

Peter: As with LWW, Peter's character was tolerable. Adamson did go out of his way to include character traits that weren't present in the book. Peter and Caspian had a falling out, which was never really justified. It rang of the superiority complex he had in LWW.

Edmund: Very good. Having been a primary recipient of Aslan's grace in the first movie, he was a humble and obedient servant to the best interests of the group. He stuck up for Lucy, which is true to the book, and was depicted valiantly in the movie.

Susan: Ug. What can I say? The book made Susan one who was always wanting to be an adult. The movie does the same. You see her in full tilt warrior mode in this movie, which is very good.

Lucy: Ms. Henley is a great Lucy, but my that girl is growing up. They better snap to it in filming VDT, or they're going to have a Lucy that appears very grown up. Adamson did a good job of making her appear queenly in the movie. In fact, all four took on a noticeable air of nobility shortly after they entered Narnia. I liked that.

Aslan: Bigger. More affectionate (finally, thank you Andrew!). But still, where's the green eyes? Like in LWW, very important segments involving Aslan were sacrificed to brevity. The part where he plays with Trumpkin, is reduced to a roar. Honestly, a roar. I just sat there and shook my head. It was embarrassing.

Trumpkin: Not a jolly old cynic like in the books, but a very low key and industrious dwarf. Though not like the books, I liked this Trumpkin, but still would have preferred the jolly old atheist depicted in the books.

Trufflehunter, Pattertwig, Nickabrick: These are adequate. They suffer from diminished roles, but all in all, they are the same as in the book. Trufflehunter is as true as can be, while Pattertwig is rarely seen, but is reminiscent of that silly squirrel in Over the Hedge. Nickabrick is not nearly as over the top violent, and even appears a true friend and ally during most of the movie. The book draws him as malevolent from the start, while the movie gradually reveals his malevolence.

Reepicheep: Good ole Reep. I had some concerns, but he is as noble a mouse as in the book. Very proper speaking, and absolutely a fearless warrior. Adamson nailed Reep! I wish the scene with the wounded Reep would have depicted him a little more... wounded. The book said it was just a heap of fur. But the movie just appeared to have a war weary mouse on a stretcher.

Caspian: Too old for this movie. Too timid. He was cast for the girls. Normally I hate it when characters change between movies but if Barnes is replaced in VDT, I will not complain.

Trees: Well, the trees were almost too much. In the book, the mere sight of walking trees was enough to scare the Telmarines out of their skins. But these trees were in complete war mode. It was honestly almost too much.

Werewolf and Hag: Very good. I liked, but wish the entire scene had it proper place in the story.
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Postby Bnayqyama » 19 May 2008, 00:47

My family (including two teenagers raised on Narnia) seemed to enjoy the movie, and did not mind the changes -- but I had prepared them for the plot change.

I agree with most of what has been posted, but I am still grateful that these films are being made, and hope that I get to see my favorites, Horse and His Boy and Silver Chair. I will only add two elements that bothered me:

a. Trumpkin's alliteration only appears once -- you know, "beards and bedsteads." Generally I think the movie ruined Trumpkin.

b. My impression from the books is that the martial mouse Reepicheep is the symbol of chivalry who expresses himself in elevated speech, yet in the movie he seems like a wise-cracking character from Shrek -- perhaps Eddie Murphy should have voiced him ;>) I noticed it most in the added castle-storming episode.
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Postby Adam Linton » 19 May 2008, 01:17

Saw it today with my wife. An entertaining, well-made movie--even moving, at times, in its own way; however, using only selected narrative milestones from the book. Going its own way for much of the time.

I understand that of all the Chronicles, Caspian probably presents the greatest challenges in terms of cinematic translation--so I expected some fairly significant adjustments/developments. However, unlike the previous film, it was evident that keeping closer to the book just wasn't that much of a priority (even when doing so would have been easy to accomodate). A rather Peter-Jacksoneque approach, all in all.

Aside from the raid on Miraz's castle, nothing seemed to me to be blatantly in opposition to the story's main values. But it was a distinctly different re-telling, to be sure.

Enjoyable for what it was; not really a film version of the book (less so, in this, than the Jackson renderings of Tolkien).

I'm not a fan of Adamson's work, generally, and not at all unhappy to see him moving on from the Narnia project. (I have a rather emphatic personal dislike of the Shrek movies--both their content and their genre... [or should I say "anti-genre"?])
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Postby Dan65802 » 19 May 2008, 13:43

I think (as he seemed to do in LWW) Adamson had a lot of "what ifs" in his interpretation of the film. "What if the Narnians felt the Pevensies had abandoned them", "what if Peter had a hard time not being the adult king anymore", "what if Caspian was attracted to Susan", etc.

These are interesting questions, worth contemplating. However, I think these ideas were never really developed to satisfaction (and perhaps the limited time of the film had something to do with this), so the "what ifs" just became annoying to the Narnia purists without actually adding anything to the film.

Four years ago I sat across from Micheal Flaherty at a table full of educators and ministers and he said that Walden Media was dedicated to making quality films from quality books and sticking as close to the books as possible. I'd say he got 2 out of 3 right with PC.

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Postby Larry W. » 19 May 2008, 18:52

I just came home from seeing it. As with the first film, the acting and special effects are much better than the textual accuracy to the book. But all things considered, it is quite a good movie. There was much realism in the movement and speaking of the talking animals. The animation was about as artistic as the first film. The four children were very good again, and the actor playing Prince Caspian was okay, though it seemed he could have had a little more depth. Miraz was even nastier than in the book.

It wasn't bad for an adaptation. I hope the next one, Voyage, gives us more of the original story.

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Postby Dan65802 » 19 May 2008, 19:56

LOS ANGELES (AP) - "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" dethroned "Iron Man" as ruler at the box office, pulling down $56.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Walt Disney Co.'s action sequel took in less domestically in its opening weekend than "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," which sold $65.6 million in North America in its debut weekend in December 2005. "Caspian" also raked in $20.7 million overseas.

But Disney expects the PG-rated movie, based on the C.S. Lewis fantasy series, to ride high through the coming Memorial Day weekend. The first "Narnia" tale grossed $745 million worldwide over its theatrical run.

"This is a film that we think is going to play all summer long and it's got nothing but school holidays in front of it," said Mark Zoradi, president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Group.

Disney is in pre-production on the third of the series, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader," set for release in the summer of 2010.

Ryan Nakashima
AP Business Writer


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Postby Carrie » 19 May 2008, 22:17

I'm not going to add very many comments, as most of mine have already been stated. I was disgusted with Prince Caspian. Totally and utterly disgusted. Even the people I went with that are only moderate Lewis fans were disgusted. The movie was NOT Prince Caspian. You can't take 5% of a book and claim that a movie is an adaptation of a book.
I am not a purist. Granted, I really hoped that the movies would stick super closely to the books, but I still enjoyed LWW. However, I am so disgusted with PC that I will not buy it on DVD, I will tell everyone not to go see it, and I am thinking about not seeing VDT. The only reason I am still considering it is that Adamson is not directing it.
And, as far as the character of Peter is concerned, the guys behind me (who I don't think knew much about the books based on other comments) said, "Peter is a moron!" after watching the castle raid.
I'm so upset, I want to go picket a movie theater.
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Postby Larry W. » 19 May 2008, 23:02

There are things that I didn't like about it as well. But it still didn't leave me with a completely bad feeling. I wonder why Adamson omitted a great line spoken from the book: "Gentlemen, whatever you do to me, I hope you will be kind to my poor horse." This is just after he has fallen off his horse and the Badger, Nikabrik, and Trumpkin find him. Caspian shows his compassion for animals, and the line from the book makes him seem more human. Instead, we never get to know him very well, but the film is actually supposed to be about him. The book often considered the least well written of the seven because Lewis didn't bring the Prince in the foreground very much. But it does seem that Adamson could have made him a stronger character in the movie. Caspian is kind of boring in the film.

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Postby Messenger_of_Eden » 20 May 2008, 00:22

I grew to like this Caspian quite easily, but aside from the age and appearance difference, this Caspian had none of the gentility and royal manner that the "real" Caspian had. And the way he was thrown to the side in the wake of High King Peter's arrival was piteous. He was not treated like a king. In the books, everything Peter did was with a deliberate mind to set young Caspian on the throne, and yet here he childishly took the limelight and treated Caspian like a usurper.
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Postby Robin » 20 May 2008, 05:07

Hello everyone, I was a wardrobian many years ago but have been away for some time. Just wanted to put my 2 cents about Prince Caspian. I came to the theater with very low expectations, I had heard very bad reviews and was not too happy about the first movie. I was quite happy with it, the one thing that I think was emphasized and really made an impression on me was the special love Lucy had for Aslan. This is where I thought that her sitting on the stone table was a touching gesture, pretty much like John leaning on Jesus shoulder at the Last Supper - the pose symbolized intimacy to me. I cannot forget the last few scenes - how she was looking back at Him while walking through the tree and He was glowing at her, eyes smiling. Man, that symbolized everything to me!
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Postby Robin » 20 May 2008, 05:08

Hello everyone, I was a wardrobian many years ago but have been away for some time. Just wanted to put my 2 cents about Prince Caspian. I came to the theater with very low expectations, I had heard very bad reviews and was not too happy about the first movie. I was quite happy with it, the one thing that I think was emphasized and really made an impression on me was the special love Lucy had for Aslan. This is where I thought that her sitting on the stone table was a touching gesture, pretty much like John leaning on Jesus shoulder at the Last Supper - the pose symbolized intimacy to me. I cannot forget the last few scenes - how she was looking back at Him while walking through the tree and He was glowing at her, eyes smiling. Man, that made it for me!
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