Prince Caspian (2008)

Rated: PG for epic battle action and violence.
Length: 140 minutes
Grade: BBB+B=B
Budget: $200 million
Box Office: $474 million (141 U.S., 278 Intl., 55 DVD)

Written by: CS Lewis, adapted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (You Kill Me, The Life and Death of Peter Sellars, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Directed by: Adam Adamson, (who wrote/directed Shrek 2+3, and adapted/directed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Peter Dinklage, and Sergio Castellitto.

It’s been one year in England since the last movie, but it’s been 1300 years in Narnia, which is in an uneasy coexistence with the humans of Telmarine. When the rightful king of Telmarine, an uncrowned youth, flees from his murderous uncle into Narnia, war erupts, and the quartet of heroes are recalled to lead Narnia once more.

Entertainment Value: B
Solid. Outstanding animation (CGI), especially on the water demon at the end. The actors are believable despite their youth. The story, of course, is gripping. Anyone who knows the book will feel like this was a fine adaptation of it. One thing that bothered me was the inconsistency of the character of General Glozelle, who seemed to be sort of good then awful then sort of good again and so on.

Superficial Content: B
Drugs/Alcohol A, Sex/Nudity A, Violence B, Language A, Illegal Activity A
PG is correct, but a young PG, like 5 or 6 probably. Spencer watched it, but we skipped a few parts with Ethan because they were scary. Battle sequences, people getting killed (no blood), a fairly scary scene of black magic with monsters, and the movie opens with a woman in childbirth pains. If you’d led them watch Errol Flynn…

Significant Content: B+
Certainly the familiar themes of Narnia are here. It’s important to do the right thing, even if it is personally costly or risky. Heroes are people who simply make these right choices. Trying to do things on your own power is dangerous. It’s far better to know who God is (Aslan) and rely on His power. Have faith and do not doubt what you know to be true, even if you’re the only one who believes it. Courage is not dependent upon your size. Revenge is an extremely dangerous and poisonous motivation.

Artistic/Thought Value: B
Largely because it was so beautiful. Of course there are very interesting things to be drawn from the comparison of Aslan with God or Jesus. There is this wonderful scene when Lucy finally sees Aslan that he asks her why she didn’t come to him even though the other children didn’t believe her, and her response is simply to apologize, which is exactly the right response to any failure of faith.

Discussion Questions:
~Why is it possible for the four children to be good co-rulers of Narnia, but Miraz and others succumb to the greed of wanting all the power for themselves?
~Who in this movie is motivated by revenge, and how does it affect their decision-making? Who is motivated by greed? Is greed really any different from revenge?
~How is Aslan like God, and how unlike Him? What about Jesus?
~Do stories like the Narnia ones captivate children’s imaginations in a useful way or in a dangerous way? How do they stimulate creativity? How might they make the real world less interesting?
~When Lucy asks about the trees dancing, what vision of the Creation is she imagining? Do you think that heaven will look morel like Narnia when the children arrive or when they leave?
~GK Chesterton explained that fairy tales primarily remind us that the world we actually live in is a pretty stunning place. That faeries fly is no more wonderful than that grass is green, except that we’ve gotten used to it. Would you want to live in Narnia? Do you think you would eventually become accustomed to it and lose some of the sense of wonder about it?
~Why is Lucy able to see Aslan, but not the other children? Why does she apologize to him for not coming to him?
~How might the time disconnect between England and Narnia parallel the difference between God’s time and our time?
~Why are non-talking bears so surprising to Lucy? Imagine that the Apostle Paul returned to America in the year 2008 having last been on earth in the first century. In what ways might the church surprise him as the changes in Narnia had surprised the children?
~Caspian says he doesn’t know if he’s ready to be king, and Aslan says this is why he is. Is self-doubt a healthy component of a political leader? Why or why not? Do you see self-doubt in our politicians? How might it relate to their ability to follow God?
~Presumably, part of what makes the occasional loss of Narnia bearable to the children is that they have each other to reminisce with about it. How does having other people who have experienced the same things as us and believe in what we believe in make the loss of some of those things bearable? How do such commonalities also alienate us from people who haven’t had them and make us feel alone among them? How is their experience of Narnia like a Christian’s experience of Jesus?
Overall Grade: B
Solid, and based on a classic book.

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