Saturday, 28 June 2008

prince caspian

Saw Prince Caspian last night with family and friends and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The reviews have been generally favourable and we felt it lived up to our hopes and expectations. I will need to give more in depth reflections later but some initial observations are that this is better than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (and that was good). The acting is accomplished, with strong performances from the supporting cast; the plot is tight and well structured; there is plenty of humour; the characterisation has real depth and the CGI is more convincing.

In many ways this is a straightforward action adventure and the 'magic' is less central to the plot. The battle sequences are lengthy and at times quite graphic, particularly the single combat fight between Peter and Miraz, and the emphasis is on the skill, physical power and bravery of those engaged in combat. Only near the end does Aslan intervene and it is striking that the two things Aslan does are almost identical to two events in Lord of the Rings; the river suddenly flooding to wash away enemies and the trees 'waking up' and joining in the fight.

I did wonder whether the film should have been rated PG given the amount of violence on screen. Those with younger children might want to wait for it come out on DVD. I am doing some reading on violence in films from a theological perspective, prompted by seeing No Country For Old Men, and hope to post something on this soon.

There is an interesting theological question raised specifically in the film: why doesn't Aslan intervene earlier? Lucy even asks Aslan whether if she had come to him earlier fewer lives would have been lost. I need to go back to the book to see how this is handled in the text.

The film is long at 147 mins but the time flew passed and we all kept awake despite the film not finishing until 10:15pm.


Jonathan Evens said...

One interesting aspect ofyour observation about the similarity of the scenes with the river suddenly flooding to wash away enemies and the trees 'waking up' and joining in the fight to scenes in Lord of the Rings is the extent to which Lewis and the film retain the pagan mythology of these events whereas Tolkien integrates these events into his own mythology and doesn't leave the sense of their original source in the way that Lewis does.

Malcolm Doney has an interesting exploration of Lewis' inclusion of characters drawn from pagan mythology in his interview with Douglas Gresham in the Church Times. In responding, Gresham flags up Lewis' positive understanding of 'pagans' in the sense used in Romans 1. 18-20 and talks about Lewis' attempt to "put the mythological characters and creatures in their right places, all under God's command."

Philip Ritchie said...

Thanks for your comment and reference Jonathan. I haven't had time to read the Church Times interview yet. Have you seen the article by Hugo Foxwood in Third Way entitled 'Print The Myth'?