My youngest brother and I traded a night of sleep for the first opportunity to see the new Narnia movie. I don’t regret it. Though I went in with no real expectations and the knowledge that no movie could take the book’s place in my affections, Prince Caspian surprised me. In a good way.
Perhaps coming into it already knowing about the flirtations and romance, plot changes, and added elements such as the raid on Miraz’s castle enabled me to not be distracted by such. Overall, I enjoyed it. It is not as good as the book, but that is in part to do with genre and interpretation, not with actual quality.
No, it is definitely not the book Prince Caspian. Yes, I found the Susan/Caspian romance unbearable. No, they did not include Aslan nearly enough. Yes, they hit the nail on the head with the adjustment the children had to make returning to Narnia and finding it a wholly different world than when they left. No, I disliked the change which made Peter a weaker character and Susan a stronger one.
All criticisms aside, there is much of the real and true Narnia there (for one, the centaurs are fantastic!). You do not want to leave. The parting is made a bit easier by spending the last minutes of the movie saying goodbye with the children and stepping through the doorway from Narnia into the English tube station. Yet we all wanted to stay. None of us could.
For me, the most powerful moments of the film were unexpected and early: when the four children stepped onto the beach near the ruins of Cair Paravel the haunting strains of music from the first film began to play. The disbelief and joy on the Pevensie’s faces as they realized they were back and began running down the beach, laughing and playing…the bittersweet beauty of the music…I actually cried and I am not one to cry over a mere sentimental moment. This was beautiful. Not because of the beach or the literal melody being played. More than that, it spoke deep in my heart and roused the desire implanted in every believer’s heart to be Home.
As Lewis writes,
“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
Narnia gives us glimpses of the beauty and stirs up our hunger for its Source. We all want to be Home. Sometimes the homesickness and loneliness for the place we know we belong can be unbearable. Any success through the arts of keeping that desire burning bright within us deserves recognition. Though I doubt such was the filmmakers intent, for me they got it just right.