Movie Review: Prince Caspian
I have to fess up. I haven’t read all of the Narnia books. I’ve read the first three, so I haven’t actually got round to Prince Caspian yet. It’s sitting on my book shelf, so I will one of these days… But I have seen the movie! So while I can’t tell you what the differences are between the book and movie, I can tell you how much I enjoyed the movie.
A year after The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the kids are still in London, still trying to work out why they aren’t in Narnia anymore. Peter is getting into fights and Susan is avoiding the attention of a boy who’s keen on her. Meanwhile in Narnia, many years have passed since the kids were last there. Another kingdom has invaded Narnia and the Narnians have gone underground. The heir to the throne, Prince Caspian, is on the run from his wicked uncle who wants him dead. As he runs, he blows the magic horn that was given to Susan. This brings the kids back to Narnia.
What follows is the build up to war. The Narnians join forces with Caspian and get ready to fight the evil kingdom, the Telmarines. The Narnians are horribly outnumbered. They are going to go down hard. So where’s Aslan? Why isn’t Aslan there to help?
The major theme of this movie is faith. Peter wants to fight this fight. He believes Aslan has abandoned them. He thinks he needs to do things his way, all on his own. And when he does – lives are lost. It is only when they put their trust in Aslan, when they believe that he will do what is good and right, do things go well.
Many times in life, we feel overwhelmed. We feel the whole world bearing down on us like an invading army. It’s at those times, when it feels like we’re at our most desperate, we don’t think God is on our side. We feel we need to do things our way. We feel like we have to abandon our faith in God because we have no other option.
But Jesus has said that he will never abandon us. He will look after us. And we know that Jesus will return. In James 5:7-8 it says “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” Jesus will return. And we are to be patient and stand firm as we wait. Just as the Narnians were to put their trust in Aslan, we are to put our trust in Jesus. Jesus knows what we are going through. He cares for all his people. And though it’s difficult to remember that sometimes, it doesn’t stop it from being true.
When it comes to Narnia, I am just wondering what makes this series so different from Harry Potter & why the Narnia series is condoned and the Harry Potter series is condemned by some, considering that the two would appear to be quite similar.
Yeah Dave, I think that’s a good call. The Harry Potter books and movies have come under a lot of attack for being un-Christian. I think this has a lot to do with a) who wrote the books and b) who does the magic.
The Narnia books are written by a guy who was very public about his Christianity. I think to some extent this has translated to people backing off the depictions of magic etc in Narnia.
Secondly, as far as I’m aware (keeping in mind I’ve only read 3 of the books), the only people who perform magic in the Narnia books are bad guys. In Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, only the White Witch performs magic. As she is the bad guy, her “evil” magics are okay. We’re not supporting her or condoning her.
However, in the Harry Potter books, every one is doing magic. Especially the good guys. This would fly against Christian teaching about magic (like in Acts 8:9-25). Some would further argue that impresionable young minds will want to be like Harry and start performing witch craft etc.
What do I think? I think the Harry Potter books are obviously fiction. I think they present a fantasy world where magic works in much the same way as science does in our world. The aim of the author is not for children to start practicing witch craft or worship false gods but to enjoy a good story. And there are great themes at play such as the triumph of good over evil.
I don’t think Harry Potter should be condemned because of its use of magic. Enjoy it for the many positive things it has to say.
In Lord of the Rings we have sympathetic characters who use magic, and that book is not maligned by the anti-Harry Potter crowd. I haven’t read Harry Potter, and I can’t say what their objection is. I can say that both Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books are emphatically Christian in their outlook. Narnia wasn’t just written by a guy who wore his religion on his sleeve, it was written as a plain and deliberate allegory for Christianity.
Lord of the Rings is not an allegory (Tolkien hated allegory, and didn’t care much for Lewis’s Narnia books), but it is an extended meditation on the Christian virtue of hope. Don’t look for that theme in the movies, they took a lot of it out. But if you watch for it in the book, it is very clear what Tolkien is doing.