frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,
frenchpony
frenchpony

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Prince Caspian

Well, only a year late, I finally got around to seeing Prince Caspian. I have to say, I'm not massively impressed. Admittedly, the book is probably one of the more difficult ones to translate to film (The Last Battle would probably be the most difficult, considering that big You Did Not Just Go There moment at the end), both because of its massive timeskip and the somewhat jarring change in tone between Lion Witch and it. But . . . yeah. Even with those strikes against it, the right director can still manage to make a movie that's even more out of place.

Here's how:

1. The movie runs two and a half hours. Just so we're all clear here, that's half an hour less than the running time of any single Lord of the Rings movie, from a book that's about a quarter the length of any given Lord of the Rings volume. That's a lot of scene padding.

2. Despite the padding, a large portion of the exposition -- namely the stargazing scene at the beginning of Caspian's story -- was cut entirely. Not only did this deprive the film of one of the coolest and most well-written scenes of the book, but it meant that the characters had to stop the plot several times to fill in the exposition to each other later.

3. Ben Barnes is certainly a looker, but he's also about ten years too old to be playing the part of Caspian. The whole point of Prince Caspian is that he's a kid. Ben Barnes is an adult, and really looks like he ought to be leading the rebellion against Miraz on his own merits.

4. While ripping off The Lord of The Rings in half the scenes was a solid start, the bits that ripped off The Princess Bride and Cold Mountain were also a hoot and a half. Though I do have to give props for being daring enough to rip off the battle of Petersburg. In salute to that particular bit of chutzpah, I gave a ceremonial yell of "It's a turkey shoot, boys!" and sang a rousing verse or two of "Idumea."

5. Aslan does not come off well in this movie. I'm just saying. He put me in mind of a line from Love and Death: "Well, if God is testing us, why doesn't He give us a written?"

6. Georgie Henley once again manages to capture the finest nuances of Lucy Pevensie's self-righteousness while avoiding all of Lucy's charm.

7. Digital photography is good for many things, but detailed fight scenes are not among them.

Not to be entirely negative, there were some things done well:

1. I continue to heart Skandar Keynes. Despite being criminally underused, he still manages to demonstrate that Edmund is the brains of the Pevensie operation.

2. On a related note, Anna Popplewell's Susan has definitely taken a level in badass. She comes off very well here, brave and loyal to her siblings if not immediately to Aslan. Though you can definitely see that puberty has arrived, aging her out of Narnia and (because Lewis has real issues with women) out of the whole rest of the story. Farewell, Anna Popplewell, we hardly knew ye.

3. I loved the design of Aslan's How. It had just the right combination of age, solidity, mystery, and that complete lack of relationship to the rest of the landscape that signals that this hill is manmade for an Important Purpose.

4. The Talking Beasts came off very well. Nice CGI work, especially on the Minotaurs.

I am kind of intrigued to see what will happen with Voyage of the Dawn Treader. That was always my favorite book in the series, mostly because I liked the adventure, and because all the proseletyzing was concentrated at the end and could easily be skipped. I suspect that it will be an easier book to film, too. It gives Skandar Keynes a more prominent role, there's room for all the big effects that Andrew Adamson likes to put in these movies, and Caspian is a little older, so Ben Barnes won't seem quite so out of place.
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