Friday, May 16, 2008

Prince Caspian - Re-writing CSL Sux

Only being outside my house on short walks (2) over the past 4+ weeks, I got my beloved to take me out to see Prince Caspian this morning at the earliest possible showing. Having done so, I am sorry to say that the second installment in the Chronicles of Narnia franchise has already succumbed to Peter-Jackson-itis. What do I mean?

While the first film, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, stayed fairly close to the book of the same title by C. S. Lewis, the screenwriters of Prince Caspian, for reasons known only to themselves, decided to veer wildly away from Lewis's narrative. The film careens into an attack by the old Narnians upon the castle of the usurper King Miraz at the behest of High King Peter who seems to have been infected with the same bug that Peter Jackson gave to his film version of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings: he is uncertain, overbearing trying to compensate for it, and given to bouts of ubermensch grandiosity. This is not worthy of Peter in the book, Prince Caspain. It is not worthy of Aragorn ('Strider') in Lord of the Rings.

The one true characterization here (Lucy is worse than book self; Susan is better and gets to kill a great many more Telmarines with her bow and arrows) is Edmund. He is wiser, stabler, a go-to fellow you truly want in your corner. (Even Aslan comes off as an Ubermensch extraordinaire rather than a savior-figure for all.)

Screenwriters need to keep focus groups out of their decision making about rewriting classics like the Chronicles of Narnia. I hate to think how far the next one will go afield.

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