Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
INTERVIEW—Behind the scenes of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)
How can I be (and feel) forgiven for what I’ve done wrong? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
If God created Satan, and Satan is evil, is evil God’s fault? Answer
Liam Neeson (voice)
Peter Dinklage … Trumpkin
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|Producer||Andrew Adamson, Douglas Gresham, K.C. Hodenfield, Mark Johnson, David Minkowski, Perry Moore, Marianna Rowinska, Philip Steuer, Matthew Stillman|
|Distributor||Walt Disney Pictures|
“Everything you know is about to change forever.”
The Chronicles of Narnia has been called the Christian version of The Lord of the Rings, although J.R.R. Tolkien’s classics were actually a Catholic-Christian allegory. The primary difference is that Narnia was directed largely at children. The first film portrayed the death and crucifixion of Christ, His resurrection, and even the Second Coming allegorically with the Lion of Judah as a literal lion in a fantasy world. However, Lewis’ second and third entries toned down the religious allegory. “Prince Caspian” has a few allegorical elements, but its message is a more simple one about faith. Although still aimed at children, the movie may appeal more to older kids, as the majority of the film revolves around a war and many battle sequences which occupy probably close to an hour or more of the picture.
On a technical level, “Prince Caspian” is perhaps a little more refined than its predecessor. As good as “The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe” was, I felt that the humans were perhaps the least believable, and Adamson’s direction was good but unpolished at times. The best scenes were those that involved extensive CGI. In “Prince Caspian,” Adamson has refined his craft and adjusted more to the human element.
The story itself revolves around Narnia a thousand years after the kings had left. The “mythical” Narnians had apparently been exterminated and become extinct. In its place are humans who look like they are out of the Middle Ages. Caspian uncovers a plot to seize his throne and flees where he encounters the true Narnians he thought were long extinct. With the aid of the four human children (the true kings and queens of Narnia), he wages war against an army of humans, to restore the unity and diversity of Narnia.
As aforementioned, the religious element is reduced significantly from the first film. This, no doubt, delights the secular critics. Nevertheless, there are some good spiritual lessons which are retained. When King Peter sees what has happened to Narnia and sees that Aslan is not present, he tells everyone “it is up to us to do it alone.” However, Peter fails. The Narnians suffer defeat with Peter as leader. Meanwhile the youngest of them, Lucy, insist that Aslan is waiting for them, but no one listens. Only toward the end of the film does Lucy ride out to find Aslan and seek his assistance. The lesson is that we are never to “do it alone.” Only with God by our side can we hope to achieve victory. Also, note that it was Lucy, the youngest and most innocent, who saw Aslan when no one else could. These morals contain the lessons that parents should teach their children.
In terms of the moral content of the film, it is very clear, except for violence which is, at times, relatively strong. I say relatively because most children are so used to violence. Blood is virtually absent (save a few scenes where blood trickles, and a man’s hand is cut in an occultic ritual), but blood or no, death is a plenty. In one scene, Peter even pulls his sword out of a victim, but the sword appears clean! Still, there is a scene, in particular, when the helpless are being slaughtered, and the camera appears to linger. Once again, there is no blood, but we hear their cries and see them all desperately trying to escape. Moments later, we see their bodies laying strewn across the castle floor. Such scenes should be too intense for young children, but alas children seem so desensitized to violence that I heard several children clapping when one of the villains was slain. In the scene, the villain was betrayed by his own men and slain just moments after Caspian had shown him mercy and let him live. The children seemed to take their cue from the villains, rather than from Caspian!
“Prince Caspian” will be likened to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, inasmuch as it is predominantly battle scenes and war. It will doubtless appeal more to older children, and parents of the very young will definitely want to be a little cautious. Since the religious element have been toned down, both by C.S. Lewis and the filmmakers, the movie will have a broader appeal to moviegoers, and perhaps encourage some to see the first film, which they may have skipped because of its Christian message.
Certainly, “Prince Caspian” is more refined the first, but it is a little hard to compare the two, since they differ in so many ways. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a spiritual Christian allegory from start to finish, with magical creatures and children who learn much about life and love. “Prince Caspian” is a fantasy film about war, with a message of faith, and a warning against going it alone. I suspect some will prefer “Prince Caspian,” while others will cling to the innocent of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” In either case, “Prince Caspian” is sure to insure that “The Chronicles of Narnia” continues on, although it will continue without Adamson, who has already called it quits. Certainly, he is trying to go out with a bang.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.