C. S. Lewis’s “Prince Caspian” is, in his words, about the loss of the true religion and its restoration. Narnia has forgotten Aslan, most of the animals have stopped talking, and a rigid, freedom-denying materialism rules. The Pevensey children and a motley crew of “Old Narnians” are charged with restoring the old ways.
Thus, “Prince Caspian” is about our times and the challenge of re-evangelizing Western culture. That’s what my book, The Soul of Prince Caspian: Exploring Spiritual Truth in the Land of Narnia, is about.
The movie, though, which I finally saw yesterday, all but leaves out the book’s culture war themes! It is filled up with battle scenes of tedious havoc (who knows that allusion?), but leaves out completely Caspian’s backstory and the major symbolic episodes. Missing is Lewis’s treatment of the Telmarines’ atheism (“there is no such thing as lions!”), his devastating critique of progressive education, the exploration of walking by faith and not by sight, the Bacchus figure making the important point that Christian cultural influence should lead not to controlling others but to freedom, etc., etc.
I am not too bothered with cinematic additions to a book adaptation when it’s necessary to tell a written story through visual means. Sometimes an addition can even bring out and heighten something in the original story (as the movie does with its handling of bringing back the White Witch; also its depiction of Reepicheep and his fellow mice). But next time, let’s have a director who understands what the book MEANS! (I suggest Ralph Winter.)