Monday, May 19, 2008

Prince Caspian and Queen Susan the Babe

Summer movies are upon us, thank goodness. I didn't know how many months of Drillbit Taylor-type offerings I could take.

We went to Caspian on Friday, very curious to see how the Narnia franchise fared. Danny and I read through the books last fall; Prince Caspian, though, has always been one of my favorites. Something about the kids tramping around the ruins and scavenging their own past always appealed to me.

This version of Prince Caspian kicks off with the birth of Caspian's cousin. Some cousins have lovely relationships, but Caspian's uncle, King Miraz, decides to off his nephew and the rest of the plot skitters on.

Some events are reworked from the original material. Susan's horn is blown much sooner than the book, bringing the Pevensie children back to Narnia a little sooner. This works, though. At the end of the day, we care more (or should care more) about the Pevensie children than we do about Caspian, so seeing them sooner is good. Delaying the introduction of the main characters usually backfires (original Superman being an example).

When we pick up with the Pevensies, we learn that Peter is having trouble adjusting to civilian life. Edmund is a changed kid, Susan needs to learn to deter unwelcome suitors, and Lucy is adorable, as always. All of the children are a bit older than in the book, but it still works.

Peter Dinklage is a most welcome Trumpkin; it is a credit to his acting abilities that he can act through that much rubber. Eddie Izzard (Nagel from Ocean's 12 and 13) voices Reepacheep perfectly.

There are quite a few battle scenes, some veering from the original material; all you needed was some fluff in the air and it looked rather Ridley Scott-ish at times.

All in all, the whole thing was delightful BUT for one little teensy development: Caspian and Susan have a "thing."

This "thing" mainly consists of a lot of eye contact between the two and a parting kiss, but as a Lewis purist, I'm rather against it. Danny and I argued over it on the drive home. On one hand, I can say, "yeah, if you're going to have Fetching Teen Susan and Hunky Teen Caspian, some flirting and whatnot is to be expected." BUT, there's a kind of beautiful innocence in Lewis's books. Danny pointed out that, in the books, the kids noted that once back in Narnia, the air made them change. They weren't British kids, they were Narnian kings and queens. Their old skills came back, enabling them to maneuver a battle better than your average 12-year-old. Susan, having been matured by the air quality, wouldn't have thought to have a "thing" with Caspian.

But I came back with the fact that Susan, even as an adult, is really kind of silly (I'm thinking Horse and His Boy) and it's her boy-crazy nature that contributes to events in The Last Battle.

Those are my feelings, but I strongly urge everyone to see this film; just beware the mushy parts.

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