My take on “Prince Caspian” the movie

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.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Well, that certainly differs with casual reviews I’ve read elsewhere.
    Which leads me to wonder if, once again, we Christians don’t blush too quickly when a compliment is thrown our way, forgetting that faint praise condemns.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Well, that certainly differs with casual reviews I’ve read elsewhere.
    Which leads me to wonder if, once again, we Christians don’t blush too quickly when a compliment is thrown our way, forgetting that faint praise condemns.

  • Joe

    This is what I feared. I read World’s glowing review and was pretty disheartened by it.

  • Joe

    This is what I feared. I read World’s glowing review and was pretty disheartened by it.

  • Matt L

    I too came away from the movie and was found wanting. I wondered before the release how a book that is (action-wise) mostly 4 kids walking around and a “committee meeting” (battle planning) could make for an exciting movie. Simple enough… change the story entirely. It was a fine movie if watched on its own apart from the story line of the Narnia books, but in the end it is a completely different story. Another observation is that Susan once again is portrayed as a heroine engaging in battle, when in Caspian she is a “wet blanket” who does not fight. This is significant going back to what Father Christmas said in LWW, “‘These are for you,’ and he handed her a bow and a quiver full of arrows and a little ivory horn. ‘You must use the bow only in great need,’ he said, ‘for I do not mean you to fight in the battle.’” Lewis was very critical of women serving in combat roles, this theme, I would say is a very important theme that runs through the series, is lost in the movies.

    For its B grade production value, I’d still have to recommend the BBC adaptation of this and the Dawn Treader for a more “faithful” cinematic adaptation of the books.

  • Matt L

    I too came away from the movie and was found wanting. I wondered before the release how a book that is (action-wise) mostly 4 kids walking around and a “committee meeting” (battle planning) could make for an exciting movie. Simple enough… change the story entirely. It was a fine movie if watched on its own apart from the story line of the Narnia books, but in the end it is a completely different story. Another observation is that Susan once again is portrayed as a heroine engaging in battle, when in Caspian she is a “wet blanket” who does not fight. This is significant going back to what Father Christmas said in LWW, “‘These are for you,’ and he handed her a bow and a quiver full of arrows and a little ivory horn. ‘You must use the bow only in great need,’ he said, ‘for I do not mean you to fight in the battle.’” Lewis was very critical of women serving in combat roles, this theme, I would say is a very important theme that runs through the series, is lost in the movies.

    For its B grade production value, I’d still have to recommend the BBC adaptation of this and the Dawn Treader for a more “faithful” cinematic adaptation of the books.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    This makes me sad, for I love these stories very much.

    I have not seen the movie yet and I am less excited to take my daughter who also has begun to love these stories.

    But what did we expect, Disney is the master of cutting a story for mass consumption and leaving out all the interesting parts.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    This makes me sad, for I love these stories very much.

    I have not seen the movie yet and I am less excited to take my daughter who also has begun to love these stories.

    But what did we expect, Disney is the master of cutting a story for mass consumption and leaving out all the interesting parts.

  • Rose

    I distrust the use of fantasy or science fiction to teach Christian truths. The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious. Jesus Christ lived and died for love of us. Aslan is fictional. In associating the two, we risk muddling the Truth with a fairytale.
    Children may think both are fictional. The same applies to teaching children about the Nativity and Santa Claus.

  • Rose

    I distrust the use of fantasy or science fiction to teach Christian truths. The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious. Jesus Christ lived and died for love of us. Aslan is fictional. In associating the two, we risk muddling the Truth with a fairytale.
    Children may think both are fictional. The same applies to teaching children about the Nativity and Santa Claus.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Right. And let’s get rid of Christian painting too, since Jesus came in the flesh, not in paint (Lucas Cranach, you heretic!). And sculpture, because Jesus wasn’t made of stone.

    Who knows what evils that insidious John Bunyan has brought about through his blasphemous _Pilgrim’s Progress_!

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Right. And let’s get rid of Christian painting too, since Jesus came in the flesh, not in paint (Lucas Cranach, you heretic!). And sculpture, because Jesus wasn’t made of stone.

    Who knows what evils that insidious John Bunyan has brought about through his blasphemous _Pilgrim’s Progress_!

  • Ryan

    “The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious.” Um… like parables?

  • Ryan

    “The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious.” Um… like parables?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I guess, in order to make the world safe for Christianity (forget us poor Christians), we must destroy the imagination, in order to save it.
    Rose: I wouldn’t be afraid of stories that tell Christian truths, so long as they’re told truthfully–and accurately.
    The truths of Christianity are, after all, universally true, even when they’re not recognized as true, and need proclamation. That artistic souls weave those truths into fantasy and fiction ought to be celebrated. God gives those gifts to His glory. They are too often misused.
    A parent can easily teach her child the difference between the fantasy of a saving lion and a saving Christ. But that the child sees Christ at work through the lion is the parent’s task as well.
    Unless you think no parent should ever be challenged in teaching Christ to her child…unless you think that a perfect world can be achieved, where there are no obstacles?

  • Susan aka organshoes

    I guess, in order to make the world safe for Christianity (forget us poor Christians), we must destroy the imagination, in order to save it.
    Rose: I wouldn’t be afraid of stories that tell Christian truths, so long as they’re told truthfully–and accurately.
    The truths of Christianity are, after all, universally true, even when they’re not recognized as true, and need proclamation. That artistic souls weave those truths into fantasy and fiction ought to be celebrated. God gives those gifts to His glory. They are too often misused.
    A parent can easily teach her child the difference between the fantasy of a saving lion and a saving Christ. But that the child sees Christ at work through the lion is the parent’s task as well.
    Unless you think no parent should ever be challenged in teaching Christ to her child…unless you think that a perfect world can be achieved, where there are no obstacles?

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Finally! Everyone else seemed to be praising this movie over the previous one, but it left me a bit unsatisfied.

    *Spoilers!*

    I have thought that one of the major themes of the book was the Pevensey children’s rediscovery of Narnia, young Caspian’s discovery that Old Narnia was real and the Telmarine’s firm denial of old Narnia followed by the realization that it was real –all things that were glossed over in the movie.

    Instead I am left wondering if the movie version of Narnia would have been better off if the Pevensey children had not returned. The older Caspian did not need as much guidance and all that the children accomplished was the foolish castle raid, thanks to Peter’s pride, and finding Aslan and stopping the Witch’s return. The latter two could have been accomplished without the children’s return.

    Usually I try to enjoy movies for what they are and not get too uptight, but this one just hit me the wrong way.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Finally! Everyone else seemed to be praising this movie over the previous one, but it left me a bit unsatisfied.

    *Spoilers!*

    I have thought that one of the major themes of the book was the Pevensey children’s rediscovery of Narnia, young Caspian’s discovery that Old Narnia was real and the Telmarine’s firm denial of old Narnia followed by the realization that it was real –all things that were glossed over in the movie.

    Instead I am left wondering if the movie version of Narnia would have been better off if the Pevensey children had not returned. The older Caspian did not need as much guidance and all that the children accomplished was the foolish castle raid, thanks to Peter’s pride, and finding Aslan and stopping the Witch’s return. The latter two could have been accomplished without the children’s return.

    Usually I try to enjoy movies for what they are and not get too uptight, but this one just hit me the wrong way.

  • S. Bauer

    “The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious.”
    *****
    Fiction is so curious a garment, in fact, that, wearing it, truth/reality can sneak past watchful dragons.

  • S. Bauer

    “The premise that fiction can illuminate reality is curious.”
    *****
    Fiction is so curious a garment, in fact, that, wearing it, truth/reality can sneak past watchful dragons.

  • Jon

    Rose, you have valid concerns. As a parent of small children and as a pastor, I’m cautious about mixing fiction and scriptural fact. For that reason I’m very careful with cartoon/film adaptations of Scripture, too; which parts are fact and which parts have been added by the artist or filmmaker? Will kids know the difference? Will I have opportunity to explain which parts are which?

    Nevertheless, I do believe that “fiction can illuminate reality.” Don’t Christ’s parables serve that purpose?

    And while I acknowledge some risk in using fantasy literature to illustrate Christian truth, I think such literature can help teach useful skills. For instance, in fairy tale or fable, the reader needs to see that this story is more than just a story. That is, the tale says something to us, here and now. That’s a valuable skill when reading scriptural narratives, too. Granted, fairy tales are fiction and Scripture’s historical narratives are fact. But I still need to see as I read the Bible’s true stories that through them God is saying something to me, about his reign or about my life in him. For instance, the Spirit opens my eyes to the fact that Jesus’ story about two men praying in church is about how factual people, including me, relate to him.

  • Jon

    Rose, you have valid concerns. As a parent of small children and as a pastor, I’m cautious about mixing fiction and scriptural fact. For that reason I’m very careful with cartoon/film adaptations of Scripture, too; which parts are fact and which parts have been added by the artist or filmmaker? Will kids know the difference? Will I have opportunity to explain which parts are which?

    Nevertheless, I do believe that “fiction can illuminate reality.” Don’t Christ’s parables serve that purpose?

    And while I acknowledge some risk in using fantasy literature to illustrate Christian truth, I think such literature can help teach useful skills. For instance, in fairy tale or fable, the reader needs to see that this story is more than just a story. That is, the tale says something to us, here and now. That’s a valuable skill when reading scriptural narratives, too. Granted, fairy tales are fiction and Scripture’s historical narratives are fact. But I still need to see as I read the Bible’s true stories that through them God is saying something to me, about his reign or about my life in him. For instance, the Spirit opens my eyes to the fact that Jesus’ story about two men praying in church is about how factual people, including me, relate to him.

  • Bror Erickson

    On the positive side, it does at least remind the culture at large that the book does exist. I imagine with this movie there will be a spike in sales for the actual book.

  • Bror Erickson

    On the positive side, it does at least remind the culture at large that the book does exist. I imagine with this movie there will be a spike in sales for the actual book.

  • Randall Edwards

    I too, was disappointed in the movie. The insertion of the tension of adolescent love between Caspian and Susan undermines the greater themes of friendship, courage, and fidelity. Rather than making the story contemporary, the mis-step makes the story banal. (I think Peter Jackson made the same mistake in LOTR with Aragorn and Arwen). Indeed, the director/screenwriter’s failure to recognize Lewis’ deft critique of contemporary culture, leaves the viewer short-changed and unchallenged to consider the values, delights, and challenges which accompany deep friendship.

  • Randall Edwards

    I too, was disappointed in the movie. The insertion of the tension of adolescent love between Caspian and Susan undermines the greater themes of friendship, courage, and fidelity. Rather than making the story contemporary, the mis-step makes the story banal. (I think Peter Jackson made the same mistake in LOTR with Aragorn and Arwen). Indeed, the director/screenwriter’s failure to recognize Lewis’ deft critique of contemporary culture, leaves the viewer short-changed and unchallenged to consider the values, delights, and challenges which accompany deep friendship.

  • Joe

    I never read the books as a child, but I am reading them with my children now. And it was the movies that started us down this track, so I am thankful for that. My wife and I take turns reading aloud as the kids lay on a pile of blankets and pillows and eat popcorn. We use the movies as a family reward for having finished the books. We’re going this weekend to celebrate having finished the Prince Caspian.

    I think the books are amazing teaching opportunities. My 5 and 7 year olds are very capable of explaining how these tails track with what they learn at home and at church and we talk about the differences. We also talk about the differences between the books and the movies – the kids preferred the book to the movie on the last go around.

  • Joe

    I never read the books as a child, but I am reading them with my children now. And it was the movies that started us down this track, so I am thankful for that. My wife and I take turns reading aloud as the kids lay on a pile of blankets and pillows and eat popcorn. We use the movies as a family reward for having finished the books. We’re going this weekend to celebrate having finished the Prince Caspian.

    I think the books are amazing teaching opportunities. My 5 and 7 year olds are very capable of explaining how these tails track with what they learn at home and at church and we talk about the differences. We also talk about the differences between the books and the movies – the kids preferred the book to the movie on the last go around.

  • Rose

    Thanks to everyone for responding to my post. It’s great to have this discussion. A response–
    Lars, Christian art depicts Jesus, a real person. We don’t hang pictures of Aslam. Nor do we need fiction to ‘better’ our understanding of Jesus’ life.
    Parables do illustrate abstract Christian values such as generosity. But Jesus did not use a talking lion to portray the Good Samaritan.
    My concern runs along these lines: When children learn that Santa Claus is an adult fabrication, do they then also discount the Incarnation?

  • Rose

    Thanks to everyone for responding to my post. It’s great to have this discussion. A response–
    Lars, Christian art depicts Jesus, a real person. We don’t hang pictures of Aslam. Nor do we need fiction to ‘better’ our understanding of Jesus’ life.
    Parables do illustrate abstract Christian values such as generosity. But Jesus did not use a talking lion to portray the Good Samaritan.
    My concern runs along these lines: When children learn that Santa Claus is an adult fabrication, do they then also discount the Incarnation?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Rose (@15), I’m not sure what you meant when you said, “Jesus did not use a talking lion to portray the Good Samaritan.” It’s true, but, well … so? Is the argument merely against parables involving lions?

    Jesus used yeast, a mustard seed, a pearl, weeds, fish, and more to describe the kingdom of heaven and believers in it. When the disciples had a parable explained to them, they didn’t seem distraught by the fact that there were no actual weeds or wheat — they just wanted to understand what Jesus was teaching them.

    As to your concerns with children and fiction, I have several thoughts. One is that, if there’s anything to be done away with here, it is the Santa Claus myth. I would much rather my children deal with the illustrative fiction of the Chronicles of Narnia than be versed in Santa Claus, most of whose lore serves to obscure Christ, not point to him. Besides, I don’t know any children (including myself, years ago), who thought Lewis’ tales — or, really, pretty much any other fiction book in my library — depicted reality. In contrast, Santa Claus is taught as being true, which is, well, a lie. Nothing wrong with teaching kids about the story of Santa Claus, but there’s no good in lying to them.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Rose (@15), I’m not sure what you meant when you said, “Jesus did not use a talking lion to portray the Good Samaritan.” It’s true, but, well … so? Is the argument merely against parables involving lions?

    Jesus used yeast, a mustard seed, a pearl, weeds, fish, and more to describe the kingdom of heaven and believers in it. When the disciples had a parable explained to them, they didn’t seem distraught by the fact that there were no actual weeds or wheat — they just wanted to understand what Jesus was teaching them.

    As to your concerns with children and fiction, I have several thoughts. One is that, if there’s anything to be done away with here, it is the Santa Claus myth. I would much rather my children deal with the illustrative fiction of the Chronicles of Narnia than be versed in Santa Claus, most of whose lore serves to obscure Christ, not point to him. Besides, I don’t know any children (including myself, years ago), who thought Lewis’ tales — or, really, pretty much any other fiction book in my library — depicted reality. In contrast, Santa Claus is taught as being true, which is, well, a lie. Nothing wrong with teaching kids about the story of Santa Claus, but there’s no good in lying to them.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Rose-

    I know I didn’t. That is probably because my parent’s made little attempt to convince me that Santa was real. It was always a fun little fiction, not reality. Parents putting it forth as reality would seem to me to be a mistake. Same goes with any fiction.

    I think adults tend to underestimate children. When it is made clear that x is truth that y is fiction, they generally have little problem recognizing the difference even if x happens to appear in y.

    All fiction have some level of truth in them. In fiction, humans usually have a head, two legs and two arms, gravity usually makes things fall, kingdoms usually have kings, good is opposed to evil and so on.

    It would seem to me that the only way to avoid your concern is for Christians to not write fiction. After all, if a Christian writes fiction, then undoubtedly his Christian world view and theology will permeate the work. Personally, I would rather read Narnia than His Dark Materials.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Rose-

    I know I didn’t. That is probably because my parent’s made little attempt to convince me that Santa was real. It was always a fun little fiction, not reality. Parents putting it forth as reality would seem to me to be a mistake. Same goes with any fiction.

    I think adults tend to underestimate children. When it is made clear that x is truth that y is fiction, they generally have little problem recognizing the difference even if x happens to appear in y.

    All fiction have some level of truth in them. In fiction, humans usually have a head, two legs and two arms, gravity usually makes things fall, kingdoms usually have kings, good is opposed to evil and so on.

    It would seem to me that the only way to avoid your concern is for Christians to not write fiction. After all, if a Christian writes fiction, then undoubtedly his Christian world view and theology will permeate the work. Personally, I would rather read Narnia than His Dark Materials.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Rose, there’s much more to Christian art than depictions of Jesus; indeed much more to it than painting, than even the visual arts.
    Do they then discount the Incarnation? Gracious, no! They learn the difference between what’s real and historical–mature things–and what’s harmless fantasy, a childish thing.
    And, contrary to popular notions, Santa’s not a Christian figure; not Biblically, not even figuratively. He has nothing to do with Christian–that is, Christ-centered–teaching or thought, or anything else that is Christ in Christmas.
    That doesn’t make him a bad figure, though, for children, or for the season.
    Please: He’s been around for a long time. The harm of introducing Santa into Christmas is not that he’s not real, but that he’s all many kids ‘get’ about Christmas. Probably more kids can name Santa’s reindeer than can recite the Ten Commandments. But that’s not the fault of fantasy itself, but of teaching.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Rose, there’s much more to Christian art than depictions of Jesus; indeed much more to it than painting, than even the visual arts.
    Do they then discount the Incarnation? Gracious, no! They learn the difference between what’s real and historical–mature things–and what’s harmless fantasy, a childish thing.
    And, contrary to popular notions, Santa’s not a Christian figure; not Biblically, not even figuratively. He has nothing to do with Christian–that is, Christ-centered–teaching or thought, or anything else that is Christ in Christmas.
    That doesn’t make him a bad figure, though, for children, or for the season.
    Please: He’s been around for a long time. The harm of introducing Santa into Christmas is not that he’s not real, but that he’s all many kids ‘get’ about Christmas. Probably more kids can name Santa’s reindeer than can recite the Ten Commandments. But that’s not the fault of fantasy itself, but of teaching.

  • Rose

    OK, let’s try this.
    Jesus used everyday object lessons to teach.
    The parable involved a situation which could very well be true, although a story. He made that clear by saying, “The kingdom of God is like….”
    The miraculous was reserved for the sacred dimension of his life. The miraculous Jesus was true, his healings and resurrection.
    Comparing the miraculous Jesus to a fantasy miracle
    is a false equivalence.
    It seems “Grossly irreverent toward what is or is held to be sacred”, or sacrilegious.

  • Rose

    OK, let’s try this.
    Jesus used everyday object lessons to teach.
    The parable involved a situation which could very well be true, although a story. He made that clear by saying, “The kingdom of God is like….”
    The miraculous was reserved for the sacred dimension of his life. The miraculous Jesus was true, his healings and resurrection.
    Comparing the miraculous Jesus to a fantasy miracle
    is a false equivalence.
    It seems “Grossly irreverent toward what is or is held to be sacred”, or sacrilegious.

  • Rose

    Susan, Santa Claus is a fictional elaboration of a true historical Christian, Nicholas of Myra. The fictional elaborations to St. Nicholas, Sinter Klaas, have contributed to the forgetting of the true man.
    See http://www.geneveith.com/?s=st.+nicholas.
    It seems you prove my point.

  • Rose

    Susan, Santa Claus is a fictional elaboration of a true historical Christian, Nicholas of Myra. The fictional elaborations to St. Nicholas, Sinter Klaas, have contributed to the forgetting of the true man.
    See http://www.geneveith.com/?s=st.+nicholas.
    It seems you prove my point.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I suppose the Book of Revelation should be rejected too, because it calls Christ the Lion of Judah.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I suppose the Book of Revelation should be rejected too, because it calls Christ the Lion of Judah.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Well, not every person teaches as Jesus taught, that’s true.
    But you’re on the verge of accusing authors of fiction and fantasy of leading children away from Christ, and that’s just not so, least of all according to any arguments you’ve made.
    Yeah I know who Santa is. Or was. He’s pretty much what the culture has made of him, however, and his historical ties are lost.
    I proved only that Santa is a bad stand-in for Christ. It was never his purpose to be so.
    We can never un-cause things.
    And we can never prevent the misappropriation of people, real or fictional, or their attributes. Goodness knows, Christ Himself is a muddied mess to many believers, in spite of what He clearly said. Not because He muddied things, but because we do.
    Teach your children well, the song says. You might even use myths, allegories, fables, and fantasies to do so.

  • Susan aka organshoes

    Well, not every person teaches as Jesus taught, that’s true.
    But you’re on the verge of accusing authors of fiction and fantasy of leading children away from Christ, and that’s just not so, least of all according to any arguments you’ve made.
    Yeah I know who Santa is. Or was. He’s pretty much what the culture has made of him, however, and his historical ties are lost.
    I proved only that Santa is a bad stand-in for Christ. It was never his purpose to be so.
    We can never un-cause things.
    And we can never prevent the misappropriation of people, real or fictional, or their attributes. Goodness knows, Christ Himself is a muddied mess to many believers, in spite of what He clearly said. Not because He muddied things, but because we do.
    Teach your children well, the song says. You might even use myths, allegories, fables, and fantasies to do so.

  • S. Bauer

    The love between Aragorn and Arwen is a major theme of the Lord of The Rings. In fact, it is another example of the longing of the mortal for immortality that runs through the entirety of Tolkien’s mythology in the guise of several man/elf love affairs. Jackson takes that theme and visualizes it clearly for us. I do not think it is banal at all.

    As for Susan and Caspian, although technically it is not in this novel, it foreshadows what will become an important plot point in books to come (at least as far as Susan is concerned). And I think the “loss of belief/regaining of belief” theme is still there but very subtle. It should have been turned up a notch or two. After all, the Telmarines dotry to destroy the Narnians.

  • S. Bauer

    The love between Aragorn and Arwen is a major theme of the Lord of The Rings. In fact, it is another example of the longing of the mortal for immortality that runs through the entirety of Tolkien’s mythology in the guise of several man/elf love affairs. Jackson takes that theme and visualizes it clearly for us. I do not think it is banal at all.

    As for Susan and Caspian, although technically it is not in this novel, it foreshadows what will become an important plot point in books to come (at least as far as Susan is concerned). And I think the “loss of belief/regaining of belief” theme is still there but very subtle. It should have been turned up a notch or two. After all, the Telmarines dotry to destroy the Narnians.

  • kerner

    Rose, I think your point is very valid as a guideline, but less so as an absolute rule. Judicious use of parables, metaphor, imagery happen all the time in the Bible and down through the ages in Christian thought, but it is truew that the more imagination you use, the farther away from the truth you can get.

    Personally, I told my children right away that the only bearded fat man that gave them presents on Christmas was me. Then they got me in trouble at their Lutheran grade school by telling all the kindergarteners that there is no Santa Claus.

  • kerner

    Rose, I think your point is very valid as a guideline, but less so as an absolute rule. Judicious use of parables, metaphor, imagery happen all the time in the Bible and down through the ages in Christian thought, but it is truew that the more imagination you use, the farther away from the truth you can get.

    Personally, I told my children right away that the only bearded fat man that gave them presents on Christmas was me. Then they got me in trouble at their Lutheran grade school by telling all the kindergarteners that there is no Santa Claus.

  • http://www.libertasacademy.blogspot.com/ Kathy in VA

    I’m so glad to see this review, Dr. Veith, because I was so disappointed. I posted my thoughts after we saw it this weekend, but I’ve read so many more positive reviews that I began to think I was way to picky. Apparently not. :)

  • http://www.libertasacademy.blogspot.com/ Kathy in VA

    I’m so glad to see this review, Dr. Veith, because I was so disappointed. I posted my thoughts after we saw it this weekend, but I’ve read so many more positive reviews that I began to think I was way to picky. Apparently not. :)

  • http://www.patrolmag.com Nathan

    I just got back from the movie, and while I vowed, after the Lion/Witch/Wardrobe lukewarm fiasco, not to have such high expectations.

    Unfortunately, fifteen minutes in the movie, I felt absolutely uninterested in the plot-line and confused over what this movie was exactly supposed to be. It was like a movie that was supposed to be one thing, but the only thing that stayed the same was the names of the characters and some general recognizable plot developments.

    Does it bother anyone else that Aslan becomes almost like a super-human calvary for the Narnia world? Charging in whenever things get too bad, but the audience never really understanding what’s so special about him.

    After watching Juan Antonio Bayona’s careful handling of The Orphanage last night, I was completely disgusted with the clumsy mess of Prince Caspian. It was almost like someone slicing and dicing the Bible up, then handing it to you and telling you, “isn’t this nice, it’s the same people you used to know, and look they’re in a nice story”

    One, you’re replacing a better story with a mediocre one.

    Two, by reducing it to the lowest common denominator, you remove any type of bigger idea.

    Democracy wins yet again.

    go see The Orphanage, Dr. V.

    you’d get into it.

  • http://www.patrolmag.com Nathan

    I just got back from the movie, and while I vowed, after the Lion/Witch/Wardrobe lukewarm fiasco, not to have such high expectations.

    Unfortunately, fifteen minutes in the movie, I felt absolutely uninterested in the plot-line and confused over what this movie was exactly supposed to be. It was like a movie that was supposed to be one thing, but the only thing that stayed the same was the names of the characters and some general recognizable plot developments.

    Does it bother anyone else that Aslan becomes almost like a super-human calvary for the Narnia world? Charging in whenever things get too bad, but the audience never really understanding what’s so special about him.

    After watching Juan Antonio Bayona’s careful handling of The Orphanage last night, I was completely disgusted with the clumsy mess of Prince Caspian. It was almost like someone slicing and dicing the Bible up, then handing it to you and telling you, “isn’t this nice, it’s the same people you used to know, and look they’re in a nice story”

    One, you’re replacing a better story with a mediocre one.

    Two, by reducing it to the lowest common denominator, you remove any type of bigger idea.

    Democracy wins yet again.

    go see The Orphanage, Dr. V.

    you’d get into it.

  • Kyralessa

    I thought as a movie it was good, but like others, I didn’t get why the changes were made in the story. In fact, it was extremely distracting to watch while thinking “Er…when in the book did *that* happen!?”

    Like the LOTR movies, perhaps I’ll like this one better the second time. But it still irritates me no end when screenwriters think they can do Tolkien or Lewis one better.

  • Kyralessa

    I thought as a movie it was good, but like others, I didn’t get why the changes were made in the story. In fact, it was extremely distracting to watch while thinking “Er…when in the book did *that* happen!?”

    Like the LOTR movies, perhaps I’ll like this one better the second time. But it still irritates me no end when screenwriters think they can do Tolkien or Lewis one better.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I agree with S. Bauer on how the romance element with Susan was in character.

    I also did see the walking by faith theme given good treatment in this movie. Where disbelief in lions may not have been mentioned so directly (I thought I remembered some allusion to it), disbelief in the old stories was a major theme.

    Overall, I was happy that this movie didn’t fail. I thought that it would be difficult to adapt, and feared that if it failed badly, the rest of the series would be in jeopardy.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I agree with S. Bauer on how the romance element with Susan was in character.

    I also did see the walking by faith theme given good treatment in this movie. Where disbelief in lions may not have been mentioned so directly (I thought I remembered some allusion to it), disbelief in the old stories was a major theme.

    Overall, I was happy that this movie didn’t fail. I thought that it would be difficult to adapt, and feared that if it failed badly, the rest of the series would be in jeopardy.

  • http://www.kogmedia.com patrick

    haven’t seen Prince Caspian yet but definitely looking forward to it… i’ll have to look over the book one more time just to remind myself how the original story goes

  • http://www.kogmedia.com patrick

    haven’t seen Prince Caspian yet but definitely looking forward to it… i’ll have to look over the book one more time just to remind myself how the original story goes

  • http://www.huseland.blogspot.com/ Brian H.

    I’ve seen Prince Caspian twice now, once with my wife and then with my oldest daughter.

    While I think many aspects of the movie are well done, my main disappointment is its failure to capture the heart of the book Prince Caspian. Lewis’ story tells us that the 4 children return to Narnia in its hour of need, but only after encountering Aslan are they changed, encouraged and empowered to defeat the enemy. The movie locates the Aslan encounter at the end. I think this is a major shift from the Narnia story as Lewis created it, towards a more humanistic view. The lines that best illustrate this are when Peter says to Lucy in Aslan’s How:
    “You’re lucky.”
    Lucy: “Why?”
    Peter: “…to have seen Him. I wish He’d given me some sort of proof.”
    Lucy: “Maybe He wants us to prove ourselves to Him.”

    Aslan also seems to say that Lucy’s courage comes from within her:
    Lucy: “I wish I was braver.”
    Aslan: “If you were any braver, you would be a lioness.”
    What is lacking is the sense that Aslan’s presence blesses and changes those who follow Him. I love the line from Prince Caspian, chapter 10… ‘Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her… “Now you are a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed.” ‘
    Here’s hoping that Dawn Treader is more Aslan-centric.

  • http://www.huseland.blogspot.com/ Brian H.

    I’ve seen Prince Caspian twice now, once with my wife and then with my oldest daughter.

    While I think many aspects of the movie are well done, my main disappointment is its failure to capture the heart of the book Prince Caspian. Lewis’ story tells us that the 4 children return to Narnia in its hour of need, but only after encountering Aslan are they changed, encouraged and empowered to defeat the enemy. The movie locates the Aslan encounter at the end. I think this is a major shift from the Narnia story as Lewis created it, towards a more humanistic view. The lines that best illustrate this are when Peter says to Lucy in Aslan’s How:
    “You’re lucky.”
    Lucy: “Why?”
    Peter: “…to have seen Him. I wish He’d given me some sort of proof.”
    Lucy: “Maybe He wants us to prove ourselves to Him.”

    Aslan also seems to say that Lucy’s courage comes from within her:
    Lucy: “I wish I was braver.”
    Aslan: “If you were any braver, you would be a lioness.”
    What is lacking is the sense that Aslan’s presence blesses and changes those who follow Him. I love the line from Prince Caspian, chapter 10… ‘Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her… “Now you are a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed.” ‘
    Here’s hoping that Dawn Treader is more Aslan-centric.

  • Virginia

    My kids and I are watching this for the first time after just reading the book and listening to Radio Theatre’s Prince Caspian. We are halfway through and they have a page and a half in the differences column and half a page in the same column. They are all very unhappy about it. My youngest just said that he doesn’t see the part about God in the movie like he does in the book. I am more disappointed than I thought he would be.

  • Virginia

    My kids and I are watching this for the first time after just reading the book and listening to Radio Theatre’s Prince Caspian. We are halfway through and they have a page and a half in the differences column and half a page in the same column. They are all very unhappy about it. My youngest just said that he doesn’t see the part about God in the movie like he does in the book. I am more disappointed than I thought he would be.


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