Rating: 5 of 5
To begin with, if you’ve read the book, let go of everything you know. This is a completely different creature. But it’s good. It’s very good.
I so don’t even know where to begin. I’ve read the book, possibly 2 dozen times. I knew the film departed from the book much more than the first film departed from the first book. So, I was concerned about what Caspian would be. It is utterly and completely different. It is also sort of perfect, absolutely everything the book would be and needed to be in film form. I always believed Peter Jackson when he would talk about the LOTR and said that the film was a different entity from the book. I just still never quite thought he got the film right. Even with the first Narnia, which I adore, there were moments they just didn’t quite get right. This time they absolutely got it.
So much so that I can say this is the best adaptation I’ve ever seen from a book to a film.
Perhaps, because they were bold enough to entirely depart from the plot structure of the book they were able to capture the spirit of it, the things it meant and what it needed. In the book the war goes badly for Caspian before the Pevensies arrive. So, when they were storming the castle I knew it had to go badly. It’s utterly and completely different, but in a film that is how you bring your characters to a place of being downtrodden and discouraged. It totally works. And I loved it.
I can’t tell you what your experience will be with this film if you haven’t read the book. It’s impossible for me to detach myself from everything I know about the book, about Narnia and be objective and speak of it just as a film.
I could say that the music is great. Which it absolutely is. The final song is so beautiful and sort of unexpectedly magical and so perfect for the moment. I completely lost it and started crying. Though, I am prone to crying.
The story, though largely departed from the book (in case you hadn’t realized that by now), is well crafted. It’s a long movie but it moves quickly.
Andrew Adamson is so much better as a director this time. He gets this world now and the characters, surprisingly. Because every time “secular” people make a “christian” film they always lose something of faith; they don’t entirely understand how to translate something they don’t share. There were two moments where I was afraid he missed the mark but I’ve come to give him some credit. One I realized, this is what the film needs to be. The other is open to interpretation and I’m ok with that. He got the moments that were important; the ones that really meant something and he was true to them, even borrowing from later books to make his point resonate – What will happen is another matter entirely.
His action was fantastic and varied so even the battle scenes didn’t get old or tired. Some of his shots were gorgeous or moving in the way they ought to be.
He and the actors get these characters. There were so many more dimensions to the kids, conflicts that made absolute sense and were interesting. They explored elements of what would it really be like? For Peter to go from High King to just a boy going to school. For two boy kings to struggle with authority and leadership and each other. What would happen to a kingdom that suddenly lost its kings and queens.
There were characters I thought didn’t get to do quite enough. Lucy, though she did what she needed to. She also has one fantastic line: Or have you forgotten who really defeated the White Witch. Trumpkin, though Peter Dinklage is so brilliant in the moments he did have that I can’t complain. Reepicheep, though he’s so fantastic a character what is enough?
I did adore Edmund. He’s given this fantastic moment; it’s so completely and perfectly his moment.
I also liked Susan as a warrior queen.
It’s not a young kids movie. It’s dark at times, sad and hard but also wonderful, strong, noble and it’s everything the film needed to be.