Monday, May 26, 2008

Narnia : Prince Caspian

I was first made aware of The Chronicles of Narnia through publicity of the first movie. Ototo-san bought the book and I finish the entire series right before the movie started. The novels became one of my favourite books, especially The Last Battle, which moved me to tears. When The Lion, The Witch & The Waldrobe was released, I generally enjoyed it as much as the book.

A couple of years down the road and then we have the next movie - Prince Caspian. I vaguely remember what was the storyline, hence I read Prince Caspian again early this year to refresh my movie in anticipation of the movie release in May.

Overall, the tone of the movie is much darker, which is kind of expected based on the book. The four young actors and actresses reprised their roles as the Penvensie siblings, while another new actor Ben Barnes was being casted as Prince Caspian. They also featured breathtaking scenery and animated fighting scenes.

The acting was similar with the first, the siblings looking their usual solemn selves, with the exception of Lucy. Sometimes I really wished Susan wouldn't be so sullen. The actress playing Lucy has matured though, but she is cute nevertheless. While Ben Barnes looked good in the movie poster, it is quite unfortunate he could not display a wide range of acting skills due to the limitation of his character in the movie. Tilda Swanson was excellent as ever as the White Witch, even though her appearance was brief. I thought the actor who played Trumpkin did a good job though. Aslan's appearance was very brief, which is quite ok with me, judging that the main character is after all, Prince Caspian and the Penvensie siblings. This movie also introduced Reepicheep, the brave talking mouse to the whole wide world. Unfortunately, he reminded me a lot of Puss in Boots from Shrek.

However, throughout the movie, I didn't feel quite right. Something was still bothering me. It seemed as though what I watched in the movie is not the same as what I've read. After I went back to refer to the book, I was very peeved.

They changed the entire storyline for Prince Caspian.

Yes, the essence of the story is still there, but that's about the only similarities. The story was being dissected into pieces, some portions being rejoined but not entirely connected, while new plots were being included.

The result? A storyline akin to how they made Frankenstein.

Call me a purist but I always strongly believe that if you want to make a movie based on a book, stay close to the storyline. I can understand if certain circumstances may not allow the story to be told exactly like the book (e.g. Harry Potter) but to change the entire story is UNACCEPTABLE.

  • The attack of Miraz's castle initiated by High King Peter was never in the book. I bet they came up with this as a reason to create another sensational CGI effect battle between the Telmarians and Narnians.
  • It was Susan and Lucy who went looking for Aslan. Lucy never went on her own. Personally, it makes a lot of difference to me whether she went alone or not.
  • The sequence where Lucy saw Aslan but not the rest was all wrong! Everyone saw Aslan in the end after crossing the river. That scene enacts the level of faith the children have in Aslan, which also has its own biblical implications. However, I felt the meaning in the book was already totally lost judging by how the screenplay was written and filmed.
  • The sequence involving the White Witch was also incorrect. Not sure why they need to change it. Not too particular about this, but I think they could have approached it differently and yet stick back to the storyline.
  • Prince Caspian and High King Peter could not see eye to eye. That's not true according to the book. Why, oh why???
  • The biggest boo-boo is that they included the element of romance in the movie. There is not supposed to be any romantic affiliation between Prince Caspian and Queen Susan. I was very upset to see that scene. It just felt WRONG!

Overall, I would say that if not for the screwed up storyline, I would probably enjoyed Prince Caspian a little more. I hope they will stick back to the book while shooting the next Narnia installment - Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

1 comment:

Kenneth said...

dear nileey,

based on your review alone, i will NOT be seeing this in the theater. i am not a total purist, but what peeves me, apparently peeves you too. in that case - i take your word and judgment and will not be seeing it.