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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

A triumphant return to Narnia

Today began with a party. Lauren's friend Becky's graduation/birthday party, specifically. I tagged along in order to once again step outside my comfort zone and ... well, interact with people. And it wasn't that bad. There was lots of tasty food that was bad for my teeth (the best kind), and I didn't feel too awkward.

But going to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian overshadows any of that. I've am somewhat ambivalent toward Disney. The company has the capacity to produce terrifyingly horrible movies (like what's up with this Beverly Hills Chihuahua thing? :ermm:) and some amazing movies, like the Narnia series. I love 'em, and I hate 'em. Such is the contradiction of corporate America.

After emerging from the darkened theatre and another visit to Narnia, it is hard not to be impressed with the genius of the producers and C.S. Lewis. The story is romantic, but it also has enough adventure and fantasy to appeal to children and adults. At points I had to laugh--just a little--at the obvious Christian undertones, which I find simultaneously amusing and endearing. Maybe it's something to do with Liam Neeson being a big fluffy lion. He's just so adorable, :wub: and cute, and lethal--oh, and he's also God, and you better have faith that he'll show up when he knows you need him, and not a moment earlier.

Each of the Pevensies carry with them a particular temporal burden. As the youngest, Lucy has the most faith, but her siblings don't always believe her intuition. One criticism I have of this film is that it has too little Lucy. She plays an important role, but it's so small in comparison to the others. Much of the time she seems like she's away from the main part of the action--and while I'm not an advocate for child soldiers, I would have just liked to see more of her. Edmund is strong in his own right, but he struggles to stay out of Peter's shadow. He gets a nice final jab at the White Witch in this film. He's also the quickest to support Lucy when she claims to have seen Aslan, and he faces down the entire camp of Telmarines when he carries Peter's proposal to Miraz. Susan is on the cusp of womanhood; we see her deflect a boy in London and then flirt with Prince Caspian. She questions her commitment to Narnia. I think Susan's story in particular is rather sad, since she never does get to return to Narnia. :( I have a soft spot for her. Peter likewise is growing older and fighting new battles against bullies.

Speaking of battles, the battle scenes were violent in this film. I don't know if it was the weather or the fact that some of the battles took place at night, but I found that aspect of the film much darker. It must be the whole loss of innocence theme. I'm thinking, "This is a Disney film. And we're showing these kids hacking away at human beings." At the same time, I can't help cheering with Susan delivers a well-timed punch in the midst of battle, or when Edmund takes out a couple of guards and then escapes on the back of a giant eagle. It's the little things that help.

If you spend too much time analyzing the themes and the messages of the movie, however, you'll get bogged down in all the moral weight and you won't enjoy the action! The White Witch's scene is essentially a "don't do drugs" message; Aslan wants you to have faith. This film is like an ogre: it has many layers. Peel them away at your own risk. I enjoy the fact that in our increasingly-barren wasteland of entertainment there are movies that still have deep themes. But I also appreciate it when such movies are packaged in a compelling narrative filled with great special effects, acting, and a worthy score. It leaves me with this sensation of actually having not wasted 2 hours watching photons bounce off a wall. Now that's satisfaction.