Posted by: Dr P | June 11, 2008

Prince Caspian

“My name is Prince Caspian … and I’m worth it!”

Throughout the two hours plus of this film, we were gagging for old floppy head to say this. The dashingly gorgeous Prince Caspian X (that’s Caspian the tenth, not his surname. Only Malcolm X is actually called “X”) is a walking advert for L’Oreal. He shimmers, he glistens, he flops … *sigh*. Had Lewis been more prescient, he could have called this one “The Iron, the Gel and the Curling Tongs”.

The second big screen adaptation of the Narnia books of CS Lewis is set some 1300 years after the events of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Of course only about 12 months has passed back in the “real” world, where the Pevensie kids (Susan, Peter, Edmund and Lucy, the former Kings and Queens of Narnia), are heading back to school after the holidays. Imagine their surprise to be suddenly transported back to Narnia. Well, they don’t recognise it as Narnia at first, as they are sent back to their former grand castle of Cair Paravel, which now lies in ruins!

OK, backtrack. The film actually opens in a dark and horrid Narnia, where the evil Telmarines, led by the usurper Miraz, have assumed control and driven the true Narnians into hiding. Prince Caspian is the rightful heir to the throne, but his uncle Miraz is plotting to kill him and take charge. Caspian’s tutor, who has educated him in the old stories and ways of Narnia, helps the young Prince to escape on the night Miraz’s first son is born. In desperation, Caspian flees into the forests, and is seized by a dwarf and a talking badger (like that ever happens) … but not before blowing the ancient horn which is said to have belonged to Susan and is also said to summon the former Kings and Queens.

This neatly brings us to the main point I wish to make. The film really begins when Caspian blows Queen Susan’s horn. By the end of the movie, she clearly wants to blow his! I ran that gag by Lynsey and had the following exchange:

Lynz: “tut tut! it’s a kids’ film, shame on you! oops apostrophe in wrong place!”
Me: “no actually it *is* a kids’ film – a film for many kids. if it was a kid’s film, it would belong to one child … or a little goat. Well, actually it is a film about talking animals …”

Yes indeed, talking animals. In addition to the more mythical type creatures such as minotaurs and centaurs, we also get a whole army of talking mice, badgers, bears and so on. Plus dwarfs (note – it’s dwarfs not dwarves). The mice in particularly are absolutely lethal. It did provide some amusement where I nudged Big G during one big battle scene and said “it’s about 15,000 men against 5 kids, some mice, a jumping badger, and some particularly nasty ferrets”.

I have to say there was virtually nothing in this movie that I recall from the book, except for one bit near the end which I obviously can’t talk about for reasons of spoilerage. I’d need to go and re-read it to see if this was a faithful adaptation or just loosely based on the events in the story. It matters not, it’s a pretty entertaining film, if slightly slow-paced for the first hour. Aslan aka the Big Lion aka God only appears right at the end, which is possibly a good thing, as he then manages to summon all kinds of mystical creatures to aid the overmatched allies. There are tons of religious references (obviously, as the whole Narnia series is basically the Bible, albeit slightly more believable) and also some pretty good tense scenes between the main younger actors. There is also a quite tender scene right at the end between Caspian and Susan, which was only partially ruined by Big G leaning over to me and whispering “Paedo!”.

Talking creatures – 7
Hair gel gags – 8
Horn jokes – 10
Overly-sentimental animal death scenes – 9
Prince Caspian: is he worth it? – 7
Prince Caspian: would I? – 3
Prince Caspian: would Susan? – 10

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