Subscribe now

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

August 2008 | Review by Gary Aston

Book Review

This is the second in the motion picture fantasy franchise created from the books by C. S. Lewis. The story recounts the adventures of the four Pevensie children – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy – as they re-enter Narnia to help Prince Caspian fight for his rightful place on the throne.

The most obvious difference from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the feel of the film – Narnia is now a much darker, shadowy and more savage place. Thirteen hundred years have passed since the children last entered and the Narnia they once knew is ruined and crumbling.
Director Andrew Adamson has kept the basic plot of the book but has imported many of his own ideas – which deviate significantly from Lewis’. Some plot changes work extremely well and keep to the spirit of the book.
For example, there is a powerful moment where Caspian is tempted and succeeds in calling back the White Witch – only to be thwarted by Edmund who had learnt the hard way (in the first film) that some powers should not be messed with.
Far less successful is the love interest between Susan and Caspian and the virtual sidelining of Aslan. In fact, Aslan is almost an ‘absent presence’ in the film, only appearing on screen a handful of times. Adamson also loses some of the more overt spiritual themes within the book. Most disappointing for me was the treatment of Aslan’s glorious return, when, in joyful procession, he breathes new life into Narnia.
Having said that, there are still many themes that will provide excellent material for discussion – themes of sacrifice, hope, restoration, suffering and (most significantly) belief. The interplay between faith and doubt constantly re-surfaces in the film, with the faith of a small handful constantly tested by the unbelief of many.
As in the first film, some of the acting is rather wooden. There are, however, some great characters. Most notable are Lucy (Georgie Henley), the sarcastic and grumpy dwarf Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage), and a marvellous Reepicheep, voiced by Eddie Izzard.
Parents should note that although rated PG there are a number of scenes that would be frightening for younger children, and the battle scenes are more intense than in the first film. And therein lies the biggest problem with the film – it doesn’t really know what it wants to be.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe seemed content to stay as a smaller, less epic tale, more true to Lewis’ vision. Here it seems that Adamson has made the epic that he always wanted to. But the problem is that it just isn’t epic enough.
With films like The Lord of the Rings trilogy in recent memory, everything Adamson tries to do has been done bigger and better already. I can’t help feeling that although there are good things in Prince Caspian, purists will leave disappointed while action fans will leave wanting more.
CS Lewis

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Never Enough: Confronting Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel Hope
Sarah Ivill

Never Enough is a well-written, thoughtfully structured series of ‘teachable moments’ based on the author’s own testimony of suffering from eating disorders and a battle between fitness and obsession. Ivill talks of how her need to be romantically loved made…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan and Gavin Peacock

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
A Beginner’s Guide To Church History
Philip Parsons

This book is a must-read for every Christian, which covers a wide period from the apostolic age to the church under Communism. There are numerous excellent works on church history, like Philip Schaff’s eight volumes, or Andrew Miller’s three volumes,…