“The Defanging of Aslan”

Steven D. Greydanus interviews the men behind Prince Caspian.

And he finds them making some rather dubious claims.

Unlike presidential candidates, the films’ producer, Mark Johnson, doesn’t even want to talk about change … at least when it comes to Narnia.

“I’ve produced a lot of movies based on books,” he said, speaking at a New York press event with other Narnia filmmakers. Citing titles from The Natural to The Notebook, Johnson said, “We made big changes in all of those in order to adapt them to film. It’s clear with The Chronicles of Narnia that you just can’t tamper with them that way. They’re too important to too many people. They are in many ways written almost filmicly. I think the themes and just the world of Narnia … you tamper with it, you make changes at your own risk.”

Is this spin? Well, yes. The fact is both films “tamper” with the books … Prince Caspian even more than the first film…

I can’t wait to read Greydanus’s review of the film. Nobody I’ve read thought more carefully about the deviations of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, changes that weakened the character of Aslan considerably.

Alas, right now only subscribers can read that piece, which is called “Lewis Lite.” The intriguing teaser reads “Prince Caspian Is Inspired by the Second Narnia Book but Fails to Adapt It.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, at the C.S. Lewis blog, (via The Hogs Head) Dr. Michael Ward interprets some of what Prince Caspian (the book!) is all about. Man, I’d love to read Greydanus’s assessment of that!

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • gaith

    Say what you like about the “Golden Compass” movie, it’s well documented that director Chris Weitz tried to be as faithful to the underlying themes as he could; and fought to keep a “Dust is sin” line from Asriel in the shooting script.

    These folks have a much more audience-friendly (read: fewer important female characters) property, so why they’re toning it down is somewhat puzzling. Maybe they, too, have some qualms about portraying blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids as rightful monarchs over various and literally racially diverse adults, and are wary of laying the nationalistic theology over that too thickly… Aslan doesn’t just represent Christ, as the article notes; he stands for Imperial Britain also.

  • petertchattaway

    “They are in many ways written almost filmicly”? I thought Doug Gresham had been telling people that Prince Caspian had to be revised the way it was because it wasn’t written all that filmicly.


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