"Prince Caspian" has already proven to be a financial success, with production costs of $220 million and gross revenues of $420 million (according to Wikapedia). I think it is a creative success as well. There is always some disappointment when watching a movie based on a book in which you have read and loved. There are parts left out - interesting dialogue between Aslan (the Christ figure) and the kids. There are additions - fight scenes that were not in the book. This is still a wonderful movie, and if you liked the first one, you will probably like this one too.
Just to recap, set in England of 1940, four school children - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie - are magically transported from England into a world where animals can talk, where Jesus is a lion, and where the children grow spiritually as they overcome difficulties.
"Prince Caspian" is a year later for the children in England, but over a thousand years have passed in Narnia when the children are magically drawn back into Narnia, ("Drawn into Narnia" was Lewis original title for the book, written in 1949). Narnia has been invaded by a group of humans called "Telmarines." They have conquered the land and have driven the Narnians (talking animals, fawns, dwarfs, etc.) into hiding. The Pervensie children help in the fight to restore Narnia. C. S. Lewis said that he saw this story as a battle for truth, and "Prince Caspian" is more violent than "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." As the children have grown older, the story has become more mature.
The central themes in "Prince Caspian" are courage, self-sacrifice, and faith. Examples of heroes abound, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Greatness is especially found in small packages - a valiant mouse, a faithful badger, and the youngest of the children, Lucy, as the one most open to faith.
There are several scenes in the movie that are just worth pausing and talking about.
While camping out, Susan asks Lucy, "Why do you think that I didn't see Aslan?" Lucy says, "I don't know, maybe you didn't really want to?"
Which brings us the question, how much do we really want a closer walk with God? Are we listening for God's voice today?
And again, Lucy says to Aslan, "You've grown!" Aslan replies, "Every year you grow, so shall I."
How is it that God gets bigger as we grow?
And when Peter and Caspian are debating whether to attack or to fortify, Lucy suggests that they seek Aslan. "Have you forgotten who really defeated the White Witch?" Lucy said to Peter. "We've waited for Aslan long enough," said Peter. He then led the Narnians in a disastrous attack on Miraz's castle.
How many of our mistakes come out of rash decisions and a lack of waiting in prayer?
Many lessons are also taught in this movie by illustrating poor choices - the results of Peter's pride, or Caspian's desire for vengeance, or Lucy's initial fear. But the children work through their weaknesses and grow in faith. In one particularly powerful moment at the end of the story, Lucy says to Aslan, "I knew it was you, the whole time I knew it, but the others didn't believe me."
"And why did that stop you from coming to me?" Aslan asked.
How is it that we let peer pressure keep us from following the Lord?
Prince Caspian is a very good movie. It makes me appreciate the beauty of C. S. Lewis' story all the more. Watch the movie, but read the book first.
Rev. John Donaldson is the Pastor at Newborn & Mansfield UMC and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org