Summer Film Series – Vol. 6, No. 8: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA – PRINCE CASPIAN
August 12, 2008, at Movies 10 in Plano, Texas
The Chronicles of Narnia have such a special place in my heart, so I’m always looking forward to the films. And Prince Caspian is a treat for me because I don’t have as much familiarity with the story as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In essence, Caspian could only succeed with me because everything about it would be new. I expected to love it based solely on its inclusion in the Narnia series, and I assumed I would treasure it as much as I do the first film in the series. A good assumption. When the trailers for Caspian first appeared, Kolby called me to make sure I knew about it. His statement was, “Since I only know about Narnia because of you, I thought we should see the second movie together, too.” How could I say no to that?! Of course, arranging schedules with a busy 13-year-old is impossible, so after 3 months in theaters we finally had a chance. My response was a little different than Kolby’s, but ultimately we were both satisfied with this second film, and Caspian left us curious and excited for future films.
After an initial opening with the four returning Pevensie siblings, the heart of Prince Caspian‘s story began in a medieval setting, all dark and dank inside a castle. There was a little exposition regarding a power struggle in which Caspian is unwittingly forced to flee into the woods to avoid assassination, and in the midst of these scenes we come to understand that the Pevensies have been summoned back to Narnia after hundreds of years (which equaled only one in their time). There is much exposition, in fact, which served to help the audience understand Caspian’s crisis and the state of Narnia since the events of the first film. Kolby admitted to being a little bored with the beginning of the film, not caring so much about historical narrative and anxious to see the Pevensies’ place in the story. I, of course, was fully engaged from the first moment. Although I had read the book as a child, I really had no recall of it. And that made this experience so much sweeter. By the end, both Kolby and I were caught up in the relationships and (naturally) the struggle between good and evil. The “big battle” was nowhere near the scale of Wardrobe but was satisfying and quite a lot of fun for the both of us. Often I judge the enjoyment of a film by the look in Kolby’s eyes, and Caspian brought wide eyes and edge-of-the-seat posture throughout the bulk of it. A success, by all accounts!
My own experience was a bit beyond the look and feel of the film. In the books, I hold Aslan as my favorite character, even when he is not physically present. In the 2005 film version of Wardrobe, Edmund rose to favorite status, with all credit due to the actor for the fullness of his characterization which turned the whiny child of the books into a rich personality of redemption. The focus of Caspian is Peter: his struggle with remembering a life as High King then being forced to return to the life of a British teen. Throughout this second film, I found more and more to love in Peter, a character I had formerly overlooked. Again, I credit this to the actors (all of them) for fully realizing what C.S. Lewis created so that a child’s memories could finally be reconciled to the truths of the stories. Prince Caspian brought my love for Narnia to a new level and gave me great excitement to see the remainder of the series to come to life. And that makes this second film a new favorite of mine.
image from Rotten Tomatoes