This review of the Prince Caspian movie brings up some very good points. I’ve already resolved (let’s hope it sticks) to read the Chronicles of Narnia books, at least up to Prince Caspian so I can know what C.S. Lewis was really trying to convey. Side note: I think I’m a lot more Mennonite than one might think (I take serious issue with the use of violence by the kids in the Prince Caspian movie. There’s kind of a “kill potentially random people first, ask questions later” philosophy…)
Here’s an excerpt from the review (by Thomas S. Hibbs):
The real problem with the film, I’m saddened to report, has to do with Aslan. This is due in part to the book’s relegation of him to a more marginal role than he had in the first book. On screen, he seems almost like one of the other animals — more powerful, certainly, but not all that mysterious. Except for when he roars, he is more cuddly than fearful. His admonitions to Lucy about the importance of fidelity to him come off as formulaic….
By contrast, in the film, the parting culminates with Susan’s sorrow over leaving Caspian. The scene is sweet and innocent enough, but it cultivates in the audience the mundane sense of unrealized romantic possibility, rather than the grand appreciation, both terrible and wonderful, of a cosmic romance of redemption.
It will be interesting to see if Aslan comes off as a new-agey, process theology-y… font of untrue, non-comforting “wisdom”, or if that’s just the movie version. You might be able to tell that I’m a little upset. It wasn’t all that bad, but even just one or two occurrences of Aslan saying something like, “we can never know what ‘would’ have happened, only what ‘will’ happen,” is enough to make me think that Aslan is starting to sound like a Deepak Chopra wannabe. MINOR SPOILER ALERT (for the rest of the post): Of course I would expect someone as supernatural as Aslan to know what WOULD have happened if he’d intervened sooner. If he honestly had no clue, then maybe he SHOULD have intervened sooner. Why else let people die, kill, and be killed if there’s something you can do to stop it? Aslan is supposed to be the Creator of Narnia (sound like Anybody else we know? If Aslan never knows what the alternatives to his choices are, then that means he never knows if he’s making the best (aka “right”) decision. So he’s open to mistakes. In the words of my friend Veronika, “Unhh uhh, NO THANK YOU, friend!” I wouldn’t feel 100% comfortable putting all my trust in someone who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, if you know what I mean? In other words, Aslan is supposed to be Jesus in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, so for Aslan to be portrayed like this is… a little bit pathetic (definition #4, in particular).