From Page to Screen: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian

"A New Age Has Begun"

Book Release:  1951   /    Movie Release:  2008

(Unlike other reviews on the site, the 'From Book to Movies' feature has to reveal spoilers to make sense.)

Link to the Book Review

   Introduction / Brief Movie Thoughts

After loving the book, I really had hoped they would have followed it closely. Instead they made almost everything about it different, expanded it to include more fighting and action scenes and side plots, which instead of making it more intriguing, made it more complex and dull. There had already been plenty at stake with the story, I thought.

Apparently the directors thought a lot of testosterone had been missing from the book.

Instead of having the two kings Peter and Caspian get along with respect and honor, they have them fighting the entire movie in a cliche, insecure way. Struggling over who should be leader, be listened to, plan the battles, Peter clearly having some sort of issues with his replacement, Caspian feeling threatened, etc. In fact, it seems they made them the main plot theme of the movie.

Aslan is rarely around and his brief appearance was shortened much from the book. In the book he was introduced again before the kids met Caspian - this time it was after and only Lucy sees him. I think they said perhaps three sentences to each other. Peter gives up on waiting for the famous lion with ease too it seems, again a pride issue that wasn't in the book.

They changed quite a bit for this movie - almost all the sequences, the themes and messages, some of the characters and points.  I'm not sure why they felt the need to change so much, but I think it failed. The book was excellent, the movie had trouble holding my attention. It bored me a bit - without the background I didn't get as invested in the characters. And every time any kind of action scene popped up the same cliche type battle music sprung up, cheapening the effect.

   Biggest Differences

Unlike with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, they changed a huge amount in the making of this movie.

Listing just some of the differences -

  • The beginning of the book has the children at the train station waiting to start back at school. The movie starts with Caspian's story. They did it in reverse a little, which I think lessened the impact some. They also seemed to change up Caspian's story and how he finds out things and the order, to where it was told quickly and resulted in some confusion and less of a bonding.
  • It starts with the kids where Edmund and Peter are in a big school fight. Again, they wanted to put in more testosterone, I guess.
  • The biggest change was that the group decided to be the initiators and went to attack the castle. In the book they did not do this and that idea had been abandoned, using the woods and that area of Narnia for their protection and advantage.
  • We get to see Susan kill several people in this movie for some reason, while in the book she didn't even kill the first guy in the boat. She also actively fights in wars now. In the first book (and movie) this wasn't recommended to them. Trying to make girl power for the movie sequel I guess?
  • Much further is gotten with trying to bring back the white witch in the movie than the book. An actually cool scene.
  • In the movie they add an attraction between Caspian and Susan, while in the book this is completely absent.

Peter was quite likeable in the book - but here he comes across as obnoxious and smug. Susan has turned into a Xena warrior type who kills at least 20 men and she still has the same basic, drone personality as the first movie. Lucy had spirit and spunk in the first movie, but in this one she's always serious and morose, when she's finally seen after the first third. Edmund is the same as before, I guess, but he's so in the background you forget he's there.

   Glad the Movie Kept

It kept some of the very basics and most of the characters from the book, even if they did not always make it out on the other side the same.

   Who is the Big Winner?

The book, by far. Although the movie had more action sequences, it's because they added a lot more story and new side plots. Sometimes having an excellent story is enough - there is not always a reason to add multiple layers to bog it down. In this case it made it seem more long winded and dull, and as a result of that less emotional investment.

   Movie Trailer