Today at CT Movies, witness Mark Moring challenging Douglas Gresham on Prince Caspian. And Gresham’s answers are just fine… that is, if you aren’t concerned that the movie be true to the book, and if you thought the film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was just spiffy.
Gresham doesn’t seem too concerned about asking “What would C.S. Lewis think about these adaptations?” His answer: He’s concerned about what the Holy Spirit would think. So… we should blame the Holy Spirit for the fact that many of Aslan’s regal characteristics were stripped away for the first film? And that the enemy was portrayed as almost fearless in Aslan’s presence? Is the Holy Spirit screwing up the screenwriting process?
Why not just change the title of the film and say, “Inspired by a few details from C.S. Lewis’s book Prince Caspian?” That would be honest, at least.
Even more baffling: Gresham seems surprised to hear that there were any criticisms regarding the portrayal of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I guess that means he never read my reviews at CT or Looking Closer, or reviews by Chattaway, or Greydanus, or… did he read any reviews at all? And yet he calls himself “the severest critic in the world”?
I understand that novels do not always translate well into movies, and that some creative embellishment may be necessary to make Prince Caspian work as a film. And I haven’t given up on Caspian, although the filmmakers’ comments have given me plenty of reasons to consider it. But the lack of concern for translating Lewis’s story to the screen, and for the concerns of zillions of fans who cherish the book, are diminishing my hopes for this movie… and this series. Let’s hope Michael Apted can turn things around with Dawn Treader. But as most of the mistakes in Wardrobe occurred at the script level, I doubt there’s much he can do.
Do you remember how hard Peter Jackson and company worked to communicate with the fans, and how their responses made the fans of the books feel respected and considered in the creative process? I’m not getting that here at all.