Film Review: ‘Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian’

Our Wednesday evening began with the midweek meeting at church; in which we discussed war in the Bible – specifically in Deuteronomy 7. We were reminded that these killings took place at a specific time and the commands were specific for a specific people. In those times, they were living in a theocracy. The main thrust of the message was that as Christians, these issues of fighting wars apply to us in putting sin to death in our lives.

So with these issues in mind we went to watch Prince Caspian. It’s the second film that Walden Media have made in this current series. We didn’t go with high expectations, as most potentially decent films these days are Disneyfied beyond repair.

The film sticks pretty closely to the plot of the book (I think), which I have read but almost completely forgotten about. But apparently have made a few changes, notably an extra battle scene (?).

So how did I benefit from watching this film? Well as most films are these days, it was visually spectacular, it had over 1,500 special effects shots! I still stand by my thoughts that CGI is used too much in films nowadays – will it ever look ‘real’? However I suppose there is no other way of showing a talking, sword wielding mouse (voiced brilliantly by Eddie Izzard).

Obviously the book has many religious references as it is written by C.S. Lewis. Did they come out in the film? I think they did, though according to an Anglican Journal review, ‘the movie is reasonably faithful to the adventure elements of the book, much lighter on the religious faith aspects, which they found integral to the novel, and deficient on character and emotion.’  Apparently the director, “see[s] Aslan more as the spirit of the planet – this living, breathing planet. That’s what he stands for, for me; more what the native Americans would believe.” Well if that sentence doesn’t make you want to stick your fingers down your throat, I don’t know what will.

Anyway here’s a list of The top 5 religious lessons I learnt from ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. A few of these points were simply stolen from this blog.

  1. The new Narnia can be seen as a parallel to the modern world, with its pathological dislike of both religion and the romantic imagination. “Who believes in Aslan nowadays?” asks Trumpkin when he first meets Caspian. Those who “hold on”, like the badgers, are praised: this links with Lewis’s views on religious faith. Faith is another of the major themes of the film.
  2. As mentioned this ‘faith’ is essential to actually seeing Alsan. Only those with faith, who want to see Him, can see Aslan. In Matt 5:8, the pure in heart are said to be able to see God. If we seek Him with all our heart, He will let us find Him. We see Lucy do this early on, albeit not perfectly.
  3. Aslan says to Lucy the things don’t happen the same way twice. Meaning Aslan does not do it the same way twice. This is a lot like how things happen in scripture. As one example, take Moses giving water to the people. At first, God told Moses to strike the rock to get water ( Ex 17:1-7 ). Then later He told Moses to speak to the rock ( Num 20:8-12 ). There are lots of other examples. The infinite, personal creator God is infinitely imaginative. I bring this up because the movie refers to that truth.
  4. There is one bit where Prince Caspian has given up all hope of winning the war and confides in Nikabrik, a black dwarf (not of Afro-Caribbean descent – just the species of dwarf, though in the film there were some pretty cool African centaurs). Nikabrik suggests that he finds a deeper magic, he summons a hag and a werewolf, and claims that they can help him claim his throne and guarantee Miraz’s death. After Caspian agrees, the hag uses black sorcery to summon the White Witch. From inside a wall of ice, the Witch tries to convince Caspian, who had not realized what Nikabrik’s true intentions were, to give her a drop of his blood in order to set her free. Peter, Edmund, and Trumpkin arrive and quickly incapacitate Nikabrik, the wolf, and the hag. There is a tense moment where it appears the Witch seems to have convinced Peter to release her, but Edmund shatters the wall of ice before the Witch can be freed. This is an incredibly powerful moment. The White Witch is portrayed so perfectly in this bit, she is terrifying yet at the same time alluring. This is a really good illustration for temptation. We are tempted and are perplexed and attracted, even blinded by the sin we wish to commit. It isn’t unless we completely ‘cut off our right arm’ or ‘shatter the ice’ as Edmund does, that we can escape from it. Edmund has been led astray by the witch in the past, and it is clear that he is holding no compromises in this instance.
  5. I quickly corrected myself in my own head when I suggested that Aslan and the summoning of the water man thing was a representation of the Son and Father in the Trinity but having read that ‘Aslan is portrayed by Lewis as the Christian Jesus Christ.’ (OK I knew that!) BUT: ‘Aslan’s father (the “Emperor-Over-Sea”) is God the Father.’ It just started to make me wonder. DISCLAIMER this is my no means a sweeping statement I am making about the Trinity, and I know it is an infinitely impossible subject to understand, and there is NO illustration which explains it. All I was saying was that I thought it was a reference to the different persons in the Godhead. *Pheew!*

You need some YouTube after that! Here’s the trailer –

Yeah so if you get a chance, watch it. It has a lot of fighting which may slightly offend more sensitive viewers, but it makes some fabulous thoughts fly through one’s mind, and makes for great discussions. We should pray for more morally challenging, and religiously enriching films.

6 thoughts on “Film Review: ‘Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian’

  1. I really like the point you made about Aslan saying things don’t happen the same way twice and the scripture you have linked to it. It made me think also about Jesus coming back, how it’s well not going to be the same way as the first time He came down.

    Nice blog. :-)

  2. To be honest, I didn’t even think of it when I watched the film, it only came to my mind when I read your blog! I think I’ve neglected to think about the Christian aspects of the film somewhat. My bad.

  3. Actually the film is vastly different from the book in my opinion. They’ve tried to keep some bits the same but the bits that really flow are the new bits they’ve added or completely changed. It’s a new story but a good one. They’ve taken out some of CS Lewis’ original allegories but substituted a much more easily understood one in the attitude of Peter throughout the film. Which was what I found most interesting about it. Peter is portrayed as initially self-confident – Aslan’s not around but he doesn’t see any need for him, after all he’s the one who’s been called back to sort things out, and he’s going to do so in his own strength. But as Lucy points out, ‘It wasn’t you who defeated the witch!’ So he attacks Miraz’s castle – shouting ‘For Narnia!’ and you have that major defeat. Then following the encounter with the witch, which you picked up on, the witch is smashed and behind her appears the image of Aslan. Peter doesn’t say anything but he’s obviously thinking deeply about this. At this point he realises that his trust was misplaced and faith in Aslan is his only hope, so sends Lucy off to find him. And trusting in Aslan’s intervention he prepares for the final battle. At last he charges into the Telmarine ranks – this time shouting ‘For Aslan!’ – and his trust in Aslan is rewarded with complete victory.

    How’s that? :-)

  4. Nice explanation there Thom. It has been ages since I read the book and you’re right, I read elsewhere that they had chosen to change Peter’s characteristics. I think I’m right in saying that he doesn’t have that fight in the train station in the book either!?
    But that allegory really was unmistakably drawn out in the film. We were doing Deuteronomy 9 in Midweek Meeting tonight, this idea is throughout – GRACE!
    Keep reading the blog and jump in with any more valuable ideas. :-D

  5. Pingback: Bookmarks about Caspian

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