Friday, May 16, 2008

Midnight Prince Caspian Viewing

A few months back when I had the junior high girls over for a slumber party, I mentioned to them how fun it would be to go see Prince Caspian together -- which played out into an 18 person group from our church at the midnight showing! Watching a highly-anticipated movie with a large, fun group enhances the experience at least 10-fold. Here are my thoughts on the show (keep in mind, I have only just returned, and the coffee hasn't worn off, so forgive any unclear ramblings):

  • Characters: Lucy was just perfect. Her steady faith in Aslan's wisdom and power, unselfish motives and delight in Aslan himself were utterly true to the stories as well as a refreshing respite from the doubts and feuding of Peter and Caspian. Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy is just right -- age, poise and sweetness of temper. Edmund is also terrific. He does a great job of being a strong understated character in this movie -- solid, loyal and brave (Ed is my favorite of the Pevensies, which makes me excited for Dawn Treader). Susan's character was changed most -- from being someone who "hated killing things" in the book, to a warrioress leading the archers in battle. Aside from this derivation (which made her a much better character than she is in the book, to my opinion), the worst of it is that she has this developed sexuality. She and Caspian keep exchanging meaningful glances and the movie ends with a cheesy quip from Susan "it wouldn't have worked between us anyway". The teens viewing this movie joined me in the wholehearted opinion that the suggested romance nearly ruined the movie. It's just dumb. Other than that, Susan was much more like later Narnian girls, like Jill or Aravis, whom I always preferred. Peter was sort of a wash. Perhaps they tried hard to show how he was "coming of age", but I didn't like how he was portrayed as having no faith in Aslan, or how he bickers with Caspian throughout, but his fight with Miraz is fantastic, as well as other fighting scenes. By the end, Peter is mended and back to his wise and mature self. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is Caspian himself. The movie didn't do enough to endear you to the Prince, and his acting was quite inferior to the other children in the movie. I thought he was rather hunchy and gritted-teethy, rattling off revengeful declarations rather like the Spaniard in "The Princess Bride". Perhaps they'll use someone else in Dawn Treader.
  • Plot: A lot of talk was made of the derivations from the book, but I found them to be really true to the stories. Strict constructionists may disagree, but PC was not really written with the modern screenplay in mind, so elevating the battle scenes and intensifying other parts were actually rather well done. I eluded to the Caspian/Susan romance which was by far the silliest change, and also the heavy emphasis on the feud between Peter and Caspian. This leads to a lot of accusations and heated scenes that sort of drag the movie down a bit. Not to say the plot was not excellent -- it really was. And it loosely follows the exact layout of the story: Intro of Pevensies and problem, battles for the throne, Aslan's rescue and leaving through the doorway. One part I thought improved was the scene where the werewolf and the hag are brought by Nikabrik to propose bringing back the White Witch. In the movie, she actually is seen, just about ready to return, while Peter, Lucy, Edmund and Trumpkin fight off the vermin. You see that Caspian is tempted to reach to her, and Edmund shatters the ice that holds the Witch. It's very well done.
  • Theology: The main derivations of theology were mainly seen in a couple statements by Aslan. They are minor but significant (and likely only caught by someone who has practically memorized Aslan's statements). He tells Lucy that as she grows, he grows, which is just slightly off, but implies something rather postmodern about Lucy's faith (being what she makes it). He also tells Lucy that they don't know what would have happened if she would obeyed right away, which is the largest change in Aslan's character, who, in the books, is omniscient and knows all the possibilities of other worlds and actions.
It was a great movie. I certainly plan on watching it again -- perhaps this weekend!


Molly Carlisle said...

I hate spending money to go to the theater (It's like $9something here), but I just might have to go see PC this weekend! I am finishing the book today with my class. Talk about perfect timing!

Sara Mincy said...

How much fun is that?!?! I can't wait to see it.

MadMup said...

While I was hoping you'd have a middle-of-the-night review up, I never expected you actually would!

Thanks for your thoughts on it - I'm looking forward to seeing it this weekend, and this helped prepare me for it!

Annie said...

Gretchen, we were really only half serious about blogging about PC on the car ride home last night (this morning!). I can't believe you actually did it!! LOL!! Although I'm still waiting for the coffee to kick in (its been an hour), I mostly concur with your observations. Maybe seeing it again this weekend will give you more insights. Hopefully graduation will run smoothly for you today.

Donette said...

I only skimmed your post, because I didn't want anything to be spoiled for us. We are going on Sunday night! Can't wait! I'll comment again later after I see it - and I'll reread your post more thoroughly.

jd meade said...


I can't believe you blogged at that hour. Amazing!

Great summary of the characters and the plot.

I have only one comment for clarification concerning the theology section. If I heard Aslan right, and he did say "as you grow, I grow," then the statement is not as much postmodern with reference to Lucy's faith as it is a statement of process theism, where God evolves and grows with us through history and time. Rather than Aslan being the Lord of/over time, a transcendent being, he was portrayed as too immanent by this comment and the comment about his lack of knowledge of the possible (though I was glad that He knew the actuals, what will happen, which is the main distinguisher between God and gods according to Isaiah 40-42).

The movie would have made a clearer statement theologically if it had left out the comment altogether or stayed closer to the book's intention, which seems to teach that as our knowledge of the Lord/Aslan grows or as we behold the glory of the Lord in Christ increasingly, not only is our vision of Him increased, but we ourselves are transformed from glory to glory, just as from the Lord the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).

Thanks again for commenting on the movie, as we all think through the arts and theology in this increasingly postmodern world.


Carrie said...

Oh, I'm so sad I missed out on this! If you watch it again this weekend, let me know!


Anonymous said...

yay!! it's out...maybe we can go together after the graduation! :)


Caitlin said...

Ms. Gretchen,

Nice pictures! Could you send me a few? I had a great time last night. Sorry we didn't get the chance to talk a little more.


Beth Bloom said...

My favorite part of your review: Benjamin's face. :-P Haha!!!!

I think my main problem with the film was Aslan's "background" status - although his character doesn't show up much in either the book nor the movie, I think they could have shown the kings'/queens' dependency on him more. But alas - I am not running the movie industry. ;-) However, I am excited for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader - I foresee it being much better.

P.S. Edmund. is. amazing. He made the movie.

GloryandGrace said...

We just came back from watching it! While I haven't actually read the book yet, my husband really enjoyed it. I wanted to wait until we had seen it to read your review, and yep, we're right there with you! Glad you enjoyed it, too :)

Anonymous said...

Can't talk about the movie yet because I haven't seen it, but about the "coffee". I remember maybe 8 0r 9 years ago when you all came to K.C. (I think it was you and your sisters, well I had International Coffee and your Mom was so concerned you girls would drink it all. So funny.
I love the post of you getting summer reading for your sisters. I love you all.
Aunt Diane (Anna, I always sign my name) :)

Anonymous said...

LOL Gretel! I only skimmed the post before actually seeing the movie, but now I TOTALLY agree about Caspian seeming like the Spaniard from "The Princess Bride". It's too bad too because he is a great character in the book! oOO But I just love Lucy, Edmund and Reepicheep! (and the bundled up kitty) :)

Fun seeing you this weekend, thanks for the books!

Anna (I remembered!)

Beth said...

We took our children to see this movie tonight and really enjoyed it! Paul had read this to them, so we were all anxious to see it. I agree with your comments about the movie and everyone here agreed that the "love" between Caspian and Susan was unneeded and just silly!

Emily said...

I already told you over facebook what I think about the movie, but I do want to just say that I agree with whoever said that Edmund made the movie. Although Peter will always be first in my heart, Edmund was wonderful.


PS--Anna, "Well, we could gather nuts.." haahaa