Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – Apples to Oranges
Twenty five years ago, I stopped reading C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series after the first book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, because my childhood self got impatient when another wardrobe didn’t show up within the first few pages. This blog post gave me the opportunity to redeem myself by continuing to read the Chronicles of Narnia with the next installment, Prince Caspian and compare it to the 2008 Disney film.
Prince Caspian has two concurrent storylines, the four children’s journey back to Narnia after a thousand years’ absence and Prince Caspian’s quest to become the rightful king. All characters ultimately merge together as they join forces to bring peace back to the lands and justice for all creatures.
Which version did I enjoy best? Drum roll please ….. the Movie!
A few minutes into the film, Prince Caspian escapes the castle through a secret exit hidden in his wardrobe. I found my inner child shouting at the TV screen, that’s all I freaking wanted. The movie had brilliantly found a way to give a nod to the first book by having a major character leave one environment through a secret passageway. It was a fast scene but made a huge impact.
The movie was able to delve more into the characters and the storylines because the film was over 2 hours. Most significantly was the movie’s ability to show the repercussions of no longer living in a fairytale. In one moment, the characters go from royalty and having a pre-destined purpose in Narnia to being returned to England as children struggling to find new meaning in their lives. Most of them are miserable that they are young again and have to do life all over without the crowns in a land recovering from war. Peter seems to be the one who is suffering the most PTSD and thus has the strongest character arc in his Prince-to-Poor-to-Prince themed storyline.
Other positives for the film included the stunning visual effects of Narnia and all the mythical creatures. The character of Reepicheep, with Eddie Lizard's voice, stole the show from the major characters in all of his scenes. Plus, the spark of a romance between Caspian and Susan was adorable. Finally, seeing Tilda Swinton as the White Witch, even for just one scene, was worth the price of admission.
With the magic of Disney, they made this book come to life…. Look Squirrel!
Since I often get distracted by shiny objects, I went down an internet rabbit hole when I was doing my research for this post. Did anyone else get déjà-vu when they were reading the final battle scene when all hope is lost and the trees come to the rescue? Or was it just me because I had recently read the Lord of the Rings again? Both of these novels have memorable battle scenes where nature pays a key role in deciding the victor.
I am apparently the last to know that C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were friends and even in the same “critique group” called the Inklings. Both of them finished writing their stories by 1949 but Prince Caspian was published in 1951 while the Return of the King was published in 1955. It’s a mystery if they both decided to write these tree scenes as a joint effort or as a commentary on nature versus industry or if it was all a happy coincidence but I would have paid money to be a fly on the wall during one of their Inkling meetings.
Next month, I will complete my Chronicles of Narnia blog series by comparing the book and film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because unfortunately there is just one more Disney movie in this seven book series.
Which version did you enjoy best?
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen
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