Wednesday, June 04, 2008
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I've read most, if not all, of the The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, and I saw The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in theaters.
I saw this with Brian, and as usual we compared the film to the source book. I just finished re-reading it.
While this movie took more liberties than LWW did, I really enjoyed it. The plot was obviously updated for a 2008 audience (Susan is both an action hero and a romantic heroine, when in the book she's not really either; Edmund is the master politician to Peter's master warrior, which is in the book but not as obviously so) and certain elements were shortened, lengthened, or moved around, largely to make the title character more of a hero in his own story. Caspian and Peter butting heads is actually more believable than Caspian demurely submitting to a king who is a) essentially a fairy tale's fairy tale and b) biologically younger than he is, as he does in the book.
"Fairy tale's fairy tale?" Well, yes. Caspian is the underage, usurped heir to the Telmarine throne. Centuries ago, not long after the Pevensies (the kings and queens of old) left Narnia, the Telmarines conquered the land and made every effort to exterminate the Talking Beasts and other mythical creatures. Those who remained had varying levels of faith in Aslan and the kings and queens, and Caspian himself was raised to believe that there were none left at all. Caspian is as shocked at being saved by a dwarf as the dwarf is at being saved by Queen Susan.
If you're a stickler for letter-perfect faithfulness to the book, you won't like this as much as LWW. But if you're here for a summer epic, sit back and enjoy. Brian has said that the changes actually improve on the story, and I largely agree.
Go see it.
You don't need to have seen the first movie, but it does help. Most of the necessary exposition is handled up front, so don't let having missed LWW stop you.
That said, go see LWW.
The rest of the Internet
Beware of spoilers...
The IMDb Page.
The Wikipedia pages for the movie and the book.
Good, but not great, reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.