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Prince Caspian, 1989 vs 2008

4 comments | 1:19 am | top |
Last Saturday I watched the new Prince Caspian; Kiwi director Andrew Adamson's latest movie. Not having read the book, I am unable to compare the two. However, by whispering the odd question to my sister who was sitting beside me, I was able to get a general feeling for just how closely the film did follow the story in the book. However what I was able to measure the film against, was the 1989 TV movie, Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The old Narnia series will always hold my fascination, as when I was younger we would get out the video-tapes from the public library, and watch them several times.

Looking at the movie itself, I can reccomend it as an entertaining family film - better than most that are coming out these days. The Pevensie sibblings are a bit disrespectful to each other, something you wouldn't find in the book, but that has been added to appeal more to the mind-set of children today. And surely, they've made Prince Caspian too old!

"No... please"... I closed my eyes and clenched my teeth as Caspian and the Pevensie children enter Aslan's How. Caspian holds his torch to a stone channel full of oil, which runs around the cavern. In time-dishonoured fashion, the oil is set alight and the scene is lit up perfectly. Too perfectly. All it does is leave me with a whole lot of questions, such as "who made sure the oil was filled up?", "would it really work in real life?" and "isn't it un-economical?". This over-used "wow-scene" is more suited to such movies as Conan, Lara Croft, Indiana Jones or National Treasure.

Sigh, the seemingly endless jokes and one-liners were annoying too. I can't discredit them on the jokes themselves - I laughed frequently throughout the movie. However I am sure that this is not what C. S. Lewis would have intended. His books were intended for carrying an important message, plus providing hours of enjoyment for the reader - not for offering cheap laughs that could have been had from any old 10c comic book then available.

At many stages throughout the movie, I felt a strong wave of de ja vu, and the phrase "this is Lord of the Rings" flashed in front of my eyes. There would have to be at least ten scenes where it looks like they've copied the scene - but just changed the actors and the set a bit. Perhaps they couldn't help it, as the books do have some seriously big similarities, - but those scenes certainly stood out.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but I can't say that it did the book justice - and I haven't even read it. In terms of quality acting, and edge-of-your-seat excitement, the 2008 Prince Caspian wins hands down. But all things considered, the 1989 Prince Caspian would probably take the prize for best rendition of the book into film, given it's innocence, empathy, and it's close following of the original story.

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Blogger Andy Moore said...

WOW, that is one of the toughest posts I've ever written.

1:48 am, June 29, 2008 
Blogger Jono McGarvey said...

Andy, when you to see a big movie based on a book, you go primed, not expecting it to be close to the book at all. Look at Lord of the Rings, which is faithful to the book on so few points. Look on it generously as another version of the same story, told through a different medium. They will always have the same plot (it is to be hoped) but They often wreck havoc with much else. I have yet to see Prince Caspian, so I am going to hold my full and final judgment til I do. But please do not uphold that abomination that was spawned in 1989 as a good movie in any way. Faithful to the text, maybe, but it still sends shivers down my spine at the thought of it.

5:06 pm, June 29, 2008 
Blogger Jono McGarvey said...

"The Pevensie siblings are a bit disrespectful to each other, something you wouldn't find in the book"

Not having see the movie, I don't know how disrespectful they are, but in the book they are not v. nice one each other either. I would say they even get quite nasty at times.

5:11 pm, June 29, 2008 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Hi Jono. I probably didn't make that very clear... no, I did not expect the movie to closely follow the book. The 1989 Prince Caspian is cool.

Hmmm, nasty isn't always the same as disrespect - but yes, I should read the book...

10:46 pm, June 29, 2008 

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