Friday, May 23, 2008

Prince Caspian

The M is back in Houston dealing with her father with Alzheimer's. There is lots to say about this subject: about the stranger-than-fiction family dynamics, about parent-to-child role reversals, and about the deep spiritual movements and searchings associated with the end of life, but I don't feel the freedom to write about them publicly. What should I do? Should I start keeping a private journal? If so, what is the purpose of this journal, if not to make public one day?

Anyway, I am having more good times with the boys while she is gone. Yesterday after school, we had a couple of frozen pizzas for dinner and then went to see Prince Caspian at the movies. There were a few parts where I had to cover Jono's eyes, but overall it was really good. They enjoyed it a great deal and came home so excited I had trouble getting them to bed. Jono, in particular, was going on and on, "...and my fourth-favorite part was...".

The screenwriters have taken some liberties to iron out the timeline, which in the book is somewhat non-linear. There are also a few simplifications to the beings reawakened by Aslan's roar at the end. In the book, Aslan calls Bacchus, the Roman god of wine (like the Greek god Dyonisis) to lead the attack on Miraz's army. Bacchus has underlings, the Maenads and Silenoi who were female and male worshipers of Dyonisis from Greek mythology. In the book, these characters controlled vines of ivy that could grow instantly that was used to destroy a strategic bridge. In the book, there were also Dryads, or tree-nymphs, that were humanoid spirits of trees, again from Greek mythology. All these characters are done away with in the film.

Today's audience (including myself) is not familiar with Greek mythology like the readers, especially Europeans, were in the 1950's. In fact, I remember being annoyed by these characters when I first read the book. So to relate to today's granola, all natural audience, Aslan simply awakens the trees to fight, and the river itself to destroy the bridge. The Dryads are again replaced with flocks of flower petals blown in the wind, which momentarily take on human semblances. The special effects for these characters, especially the river-dude, are absolutely fantastic.

The White Witch from "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" also makes an appearance. As Caspian struggles to survive, he is tempted to turn to black magic, or to employ witchcraft to help him in his cause. In the film, this is personified by an appearance of the White Witch, imprisoned in a sheet of ice, who calls out to Caspian and Peter for a drop of their blood. This would set her free from her imprisonment so that she could "help" them. Fortunately, they don't fall for it.

The dwarf Trumpkin is used for comic relief, as in the book. But unlike the hillbilly character of the book, the film's Trumpkin uses sarcasm and a deadpan delivery. He is very funny.

Well, this post has turned into a film review. Therefore, I must conclude with this: the Orangehouse gives it three thumbs up.


Redlefty said...

My 5yo daughter's absolutely dying to see it. She has to wait just a little bit longer!

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

I took my 12 year old, but left the 8 and 5 at home.

But I am reading the series aloud to them now, and all are really loving it.

My daughter can't stop asking, "So, Mommy, what was your favorite part of Prince Caspian?"

The Reeces Pieces...definitely. (Though I really liked the movie too.)

Orangehouse said...

Oh yes, there is a romantic vibe between Susan and Prince Caspian that culminates with a kiss at the end. I found it unnecessary.

We have read the whole series a few times. The Last Battle is a bit difficult for them to understand because of the formal style of the dialog. The boys' favorite is The Dawn Treader, but they also like The Silver Chair.