Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Initial take on Caspian...and Reepicheep

Having only seen the movie once I feel ill-equipped to give full analysis at this time.

My initial response-

- Not exactly like the book, but basically faithful to the storyline

- Interesting interpretation of their temptation to enlist the White Witch...scary too.

- Italian actor Sergio Castellitto did a masterful job as Miraz

- Peter Dinklage did a wonderful job as Trumpkin

- This rendition of Caspian depicted Peter as a bit more rash and impatient than the book

- The movie is too scary for young children, in my opinion

- It was totally cheesy and so egalitarian-21st Century to have Susan steal a kiss with Caspian before going back to England. Lewis would have never had Susan initiate such a thing...oh well.


Reep has been my favorite fictional character since I first read the Chronicles of Narnia as a young teen, so my imagination's standard for what Reep would look and act like has long been too high for a screenwriter and filmmaker to reach.

I thought Adamson, Markus, and their team of writers did a good job overall with Reep. My opinion might change one way or the other after I watch the film again more closely. They keep to the gist of the book's lines for Reep, but do add and embellish in almost ever sequence. Some of Reep's comments are a bit cheeky, but not all together out of the realm of possibility for him. I was a little disappointed with the climactic Reepicheep scene where Aslan restores his tail. There was a touch too much humor in the almost sacred event. Like I said, any rendition of Reepicheep would be tough to meet 25 years of personal imagination and expectation. They didn't ruin him by any means, but they didn't nail him perfectly either.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite book of the series and it features Reepicheep very prominently. I hope they stick closely to Lewis' lines for him in the movie version of Dawn Treader, there is NO need for improvement. Dawn Treader will be out next summer already.


christianlady said...

We went to see this movie, and I did find it a bit too rough for my little ones (and sadly, we actually had them with us). They did go to the bathroom a lot during the they did miss some of the scenes. I do have to say that what I saw (as I was in the bathroom with them) was pretty good. Your take on it really does match what I saw. The romance side of things really bothered me since it's not at all what was in the story. I recall the older gentleman/half dwarf and Caspian spent some time star gazing in the book.

I appreciate the complexity of Lucy's moment with Aslan. She didn't trust him enough to follow him against the pressure of others. She doubted, and it cost them lives and time. In fact, the doubts of all of the characters were played pretty well, the pride, the doubt, the fears, the vengence and sense of personal gain over the gain of the King. Peter's comment to Susan after she asks "what are you doing this for" and then Peter yells out at the charge, "for Naria" which seems like a lie. Then, later, when he's really following the will of Aslan, he yells out, "for Aslan." I think much of our lives as Christians can be like this. Someone can ask, "who are you doing this for" and we might come up with a reason. However, until we are doing this or that for the King and not for ourselves, we will not really be doing the right thing at the right time. Of course, many movie goers won't be thinking of God at all when watching...


Frontier Forest said...

Haven’t seen it yet but we are going to on Friday afternoon. Interesting that you would comment on “not a kid friendly movie.” That seems to be what I have heard from several critics. I pretty well figure that most of these Hollywood idealist would try to tear down any pro-Christian movie. In your opinion, what is the issue that would scare young folks?

Reepicheep said...

Good points Dawn.

I thought the battle scenes were pretty long and intense. Quite a few individual killings that were obvious. Further, the scene with the temptation of the White Witch was pretty eery. People have to judge for themselves regarding their own kids, for us, we'll wait till it comes out on DVD then allow the older two to see most of it fast forwarding through several spots.

Wayne said...

I was wrong. My first thought after seeing the film (which I liked for the most part) was, "Tony's not going to like how they portrayed Reep." I thought they sort of diminished his character and left him as an object of comic relief - but I might be too critical here. I wasn't too troubled by the changes they made in the story. Caspian (the book) never charmed me like LWW and VOTDT.

Reepicheep said...

Aw schucks Wayne, it's comments like that which will sway me against his portrayal. There's no doubt the writers succumbed to the common "build tension" then add some comic relief trap of modern movies. Reep definitely fills that role, which I didn't like.

Dang...the build up has messed with my interpretive abilities.

Anonymous said...

Oh Tony!
How long ago has it been since you read this book? We reread it over the past month in anticipation of the movie. I know it is impossible for a movie to be exactly like the book, but this was absolutely horrible! The characters were all twisted. (Peter a bully?, Susan the amazon princess?, Caspian the braggart?) The story line was absolutely butchered. This was nothing like the book. You mentioned it kept to the "spirit of the book", which I would challenge (lovingly). There was no repentance, no understanding of faith or the sovereignty of Aslan, no comradery or trust between the good-guys. The attack on failed Miraz (45min) was only a rejected suggestion in the book. Aslan did not lead these characters, their own flaws and selfishness did. Of the primary characters, the only ones that were remotely like the book were Edmond, Lucy, Reepicheep, and Truffelhunter. It was a short story, loosely based on the book, but if you have time to reread the book you will see how tragically unfaithful to nearly everything in the story this movie actually was.

At this point, I dread to see what they will do with "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", the next movie in line.


But alas, have we forgotten that Hollywood serves another lord?


Jim said...

Yeah, I can't wait for the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," which I also think is the best of the Narnia books. I very much hope they get it right.

I still remember the first line in the book:

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

I didn't read any of the Narnia books until I was an adult. On reading the first few paragraphs in "Dawn Treader," I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. I then went and woke up my wife to read the beginning of the book to her. (Although she wasn't quite as appreciative as I expected.)

Reepicheep said...


You're harder on the film that me, but I take your points. Susan as some kind of warrior is pretty lame- but to be expected in this egalitarian age. I guess I figured that was coming and wasn't too shocked when it did. The kiss bothered me more.

You make a good point about the lack of genuine repentance. Maybe another viewing of the movie will lower my rating.

The 30 plus minutes on a battle that never happened in the book stunk also. I guess I viewed it as sort of like what Jackson did with LOR. He took half a movie on Helm's Deep when the book gives little more than 20 pages to it.

Hey, I'm no Siskel or Ebert.

Frontier Forest said...

We thought the movie was great, maybe even better than the “Wardrobe?” Every time we saw the brave and mighty Reep we thought of you. I have a question. What Biblical interpretation did you glean from this scene? Near the end, when young brave Lucy, the only one who seemed to always exhibit great faith, that Aslan would help them anytime they believed and asked, was standing with Aslan at the end of the bridge, she greeted the group by pulling out her small dagger, holding it high in the air, as if to show a victory sign.

Jim said...

Saw the movie last weekend. I thought Reep's portrayal was just fine. (Actually, I thought the introduction really great -- as enemy soldiers disappear under the forest vegetation one by one.)

I didn't think that the movie presented Reep as too comic. After all, he is supposed to be comic in the best sense: a courageous mouse, what's better than that? But even when I read the books, I smile almost every time Reepicheep is introduced, because he provides such an amusing visual picture -- but it's the contrast that is supposed to be jarring, I think. As in "the mouse the roared" sort of thing.

Reepicheep said...

Good comments Jim. Wayne had me tossing to and fro. A week later I think I'm still fine with Reep. I'm a little less fine with the lack of clarity in the temptation scene.

I need to see it again. I will, but only after I see Iron Man and Indiana Jones.

Frontier Forest said...

Brother Tony, your wisdom of interpretation of the Lucy with the tiny dagger scene?

Anonymous said...

It could be the popcorn talking, but I'm back. I will be the first to enjoy entertainment, even somewhat empty entertainment. This thread however saddens me. This movie is almost like the Joel Osteen's of the world that have taken something that is historical, unchangeable, published, authored by another and then drastically changed it. It is packaged ever so sweetly and called by the same name, presented as a legitimate version of the original. The sad part is that most seem to not even know the switch has happened. I know I am going on about a dumb movie, but this whole issue just hits home a bit too closely. Could this be the primary problem in our culture? Not being willing to hold the world around us accountable to the standards we have been given? Are we willing to dig in and challenge the status quo? An adventure movie? Yes. Great? I would debate that, the characters were less than heroic, the story line had flaws, but that is another blog. But was this Lewis's "Prince Caspian"? Absolutely not.

Or perhaps I just ate too much buttery oil flavored popcorn.