Editor's note: My friend Jackie has shared her thoughts regarding the second installment in the cinematic Narnia series, "Prince Caspian." I had planned to write one myself, but honestly, most of my additional thoughts would be filed under "things not worth quibbling about."
I cannot agree with the "complete disaster" view but neither can I subscribe to the "totally successful" attitude either. As far as Prince Caspian as a movie goes, it was a very well-done, entertaining, realistic, decently-scripted film. I enjoyed it on the strictly entertainment level.
As far as Prince Caspian the book-goes-movie aspect, it was a certain disappointment. For the most part, my complaints weren't so much the major additions; because even though the film makers weren't "purists," I can appreciate the difficulty of making the shortest book of the entire series into a two-hour flick (much less the 2 1/2 hour one it was).
Rather, my primary beef was with what they left out
In the book, the children's journey to meet Caspian with Trumpkin was highlighted with the "Aslan sightings." Through the entirety of their travels, each character has to first see
Aslan, i.e. submit to and recognize the Mover of events in Narnia. They have to personally dedicate their purpose and will to Him before they are ready to enter into battle for His kingdom. Only then, fighting in Aslan's name, is there any true hope to win against the Telmarines. Because the Pevensies have gotten their perspective straightened out before they enter battle, their conduct through the rest of the story is noble, courageous, purposeful, and humble.
Notably, the movie did not even have Aslan appear until the virtual end and was, for me at least, a crucial missing element. However, being the optimist that I generally am, I must say one final redeeming word for the movie. The script writers (and I wonder if Gresham had a hand in this) confirmed the above-mentioned truism by their re-writing. It was very obvious that, since the children (Lucy always excepted) did not get their perspectives straightened out by Aslan before joining up with Caspian -- because they did not rededicate their purposes to Him -- everything they did turned out bad. Naturally they would fail militarily and, more importantly, personally. Example: Peter's purpose isn't for Aslan, it's for himself. Hence he and Caspian naturally butt heads.
However, I don't believe the solution was expressed strongly enough. Yes, the characters were finally brought to the point where they knew they needed Aslan and they knew that only he had the ability to get them out of their mess. However, the turning point wasn't strong enough for my taste. It was nothing like that great scene in the book where everyone can finally see him!
Also, on a minor note, the whole Caspian-Susan thing was so predictable and so ridiculous -- not in the least-wise for its predictability. I could quibble about other things that I was not happy with but I won't waste time on it. I'm sure there are other major things missing but this is what stood out the most to me.