Created on 6/7/2008
Finally, a day or so later than planned I went to see Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian. The cinema was still doing very well for a weekday, but at least, this time, we could get in.
The film is based on the second novel in C.S. Lewis's much loved CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series, PRINCE CASPIAN. This story has the four Pevensie children--Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley)--once again whisked away from England during the Second World War and propels them into the realm of Narnia, This is the place where the siblings once ruled as royalty.
The Pevensies realize almost at once that 1,300 years have passed since they last left this strange and wonderful place. This world is now controlled by the Telmarines, mostly cruel and curiously Spanish sounding human beings who long ago banished the magical creatures of Narnia to the wilderness. Perhaps they didn’t like their English accents. When the heir to the Telmarine throne, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), survives an assassination attempt plotted by his scheming uncle, Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), the noble youth stumbles across Narnia's exiled enchanted population, and finds himself their leader in a war against the Telmarines, aided by Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
This second part of the story is darker and more action-packed than THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE. This 2008 sequel, once again directed by Andrew Adamson, is driven by the struggle between the Telmarines and the banished Narnians, resulting in many fierce battle sequences. I’m a little concerned that the younger members of the audience, who are almost bound to gain entry to the film, might find it a little too scary to avoid some sleepless nights.
While the newcomer Barnes and the established quartet of Moseley, Popplewell, Keynes, and Henley are all in fine form, CASPIAN is largely enhanced by its supporting cast, which includes indie mainstay Peter Dinklage as the dour dwarf Trumpkin and the rightly revered British comedy genius Eddie Izzard as the voice of the swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep, for me the best turn in the film.
There are brief returns to their roles from the previous film for Liam Neeson, as the voice of Aslan, and Tilda Swinton, as the suitably threatening White Witch, actors who bring their familiar personas to this engaging and entertaining second chapter in the NARNIA saga. The genre of this film is described as science-fiction/fantasy, but it feels much more the latter. There isn’t much science making any sense in the film.
Ben Barnes starring role Prince Caspian is only marred for me by the director-writer, Andrew Adamson, and his weird decision to make the ruling class of the Telmarine kingdom all speak as if their native language was Spanish accented English. The result was sometimes strange to listen to. Whilst on the sound side of the film, we should look at the music, which is ably composed by Harry Gregson-Williams. He does a fine job even if his work can sometimes be a bit safe and a little predictable
Walden Media, who made the film for Disney do have a slightly off center, unconventional attitude to their role in the creative industries. I quote from their website with editing for reasons of space;
“Walden Media — Our Company
What inspires you?
Most likely the same things that inspire and excite those of us at Walden Media. Great stories from great literature. A passionate and compassionate author. Characters we can fall in love with. A tale that enlightens us.
We started Walden Media with a simple goal: bring the kind of books we all love and admire to the screen. And that's what we've done with films based on classic books like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe..Some of our productions and publications are inspired by real-life stories like the incredible career of Jim Thorpe, or the wonders of deep-sea exploration.
But we are inspired by you. You and all the teachers, parents, librarians, community leaders, and most of all, the kids who read and love great books. We do our best to listen to you. You let us know what's "hot." But more importantly, you have a deep understanding of which books and stories are enduring, the ones that celebrate lasting values. The stories that we all love…..
As planning gets underway, our in-house education specialists take a look at how this particular production can spark excitement in the classroom. Then we partner with teachers, museums and national organizations to develop a comprehensive educational program that teaches a range of topics and appeals to different learning styles.
Teachers can find inspiration for the classroom with tools like activity guides and enhanced DVDs. How about a robot-building competition? Or a writing workshop simultaneously broadcast to movie theaters around the country, with our directors, writers and stars participating? We provide seminars and forums for teachers to trade ideas on using media in the classroom.
Like all educators, we want to instill lifelong enthusiasm for learning.”
There does appear to be a link between the message implicit in the writing of the original book author, CS Lewis, and the aims of Walden Media. They both appear to devoutly believe in a broadly Christian message, which permeates their undoubted creative abilities.
Clive Staples "Jack" Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), was a British writer and scholar. His writing was diverse and included Christian themes and fiction relating to the unending fight between good and evil.
One of CS Lewis’s closest friends was J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. Lewis had been baptized into the Church of Ireland but had lapsed. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and others, at about 30, Lewis re-converted to Christianity, This conversion had a major and lasting effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.
Lewis's works are still in print in more than 30 languages and have sold many millions of copies and many of the titles have been popularized on stage, in TV, and in movies.
I watched the film purely as a viewer and didn’t think too deeply about its message until I returned home. On that basis I rate it a very good film indeed. As the famous film mogul Sam Goldwyn said, “Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.”