In case you didn't already know, I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Narnia fan. I grew up reading the Narnia books and I still try to read them every couple of years (hmm, if I can read Harry Potter every year, I should do the same for Narnia). I also watched those BBC versions of Narnia on my VHS player faithfully (mainly because I had crushes on Peter, Edmund and Caspian). My sisters and I used to pretend that the back wall in our closet led into Narnia (I mean who didn't?) So it was with great excitement that I looked forward to this movie as soon as I heard that Narnia was being made at the box office. But I got scared when Disney pulled out after Prince Caspian and it looked like the series was heading the way of Davy Jones Locker. But then Fox rescued it and more movies were to be made depending on how this one did. Well, after seeing it, it will be a miracle if there are more.
Be warned: Due to my outrage, I am going to spoil this movie heavily for you. You have been warned.
Before I blast what I hated, let me talk about the things I did love about the movie. First off, Ben Barnes as Caspian is just gorgeous. They couldn't have picked a better person to play him. Unfortunately it doesn't seem as if this movie has made him into a huge star like it should have. I liked the actor picked to play Eustace, Will Poulter. This is the first thing I've ever seen him in and I think he played the part very well. The other version of Eustace from the BBC movies was a bit chubby so it kinda ruined how I saw him when I read the books. I think that Poulter will be able to hold his own as a lead character if the Silver Chair ever gets greenlighted. I also loved the scene when Aslan transforms Eustace back into a boy. It's done way less graphic than what is said in the book and we see it happening live and not in a flashback. I cried when I saw him pawing the ground and what it was representing. While I wasn't happy with most of the changes, there were some that made sense and I could accept. The whole plot about Edmund constantly feeling second in command, first to Peter and then to Caspian makes absolute complete sense. It's hinted briefly in the books but the story comes out more evidently in the movie. Also Lucy's jealousy about Susan is understandable as well though as to why anyone wants to be Susan is beyond me. I did like the brief reference to Jill Pole BUT it's clearly stated in The Silver Chair that Eustace and Jill were NOT friends before the beginning of the book because Eustace was part of the gang that tormented Jill and he doesn't change until after he gets back home from this voyage.
However there were some changes in this movie that I absolutely hated. I understand that a movie cannot be 100% faithful to the book. I get that the director and screenwriters cannot please the fans 100%. But for everything that is good and pure, if you are going to take one of my absolute favorite books of all time into a movie, do not ADD things that do nothing to the plot!
First off, the whole reason for Caspian's voyage has been changed. Instead of hunting for the seven Lords because he promised this when he became king, Caspian is searching for them on a rescue mission. It's dumb. I'm sorry. The original plot had enough purpose already. There is only supposed to be one talking animal on the ship. This is important because in the Silver Chair, Eustace feels terrible for eating the venison because he had one talking friend, Reepicheep. Instead there are several, including a minotaur who cracks jokes??? When they get to the Lone Islands, I can accept the rushed landing and sidestepping going on the grassy island. But the entire sequence involving Lord Bern is RUINED. Why is he in jail??? And he's never made into a duke. And don't get me started on the Green Mist. WHY???? And that family that joins the crew of the Dawn Treader? I was seriously rolling my eyes.
There's a lot more I could talk about: the merging of Lord Octesian and Lord Restimar on the same island, how events were NOT done in the order that they were in the book, the White Witch continuing to pop up, Lord Rhoop NOT returning to the table BEFORE they get to Aslan's country, how Ramandu's daughter is a star herself, this whole thing about magic swords, Reepicheep's quest to get to Aslan's country is diminished, Caspian getting to Aslan's country, etc etc.
This pains me because I wanted to love the movie. I want Narnia to be huge in popularity so that the other books can be made into movies especially the ones that never got brought to live by the BBC versions before. But sadly, after watching this movie, I can't find myself recommending it. Just because there are Christian values in the movie does not make it a good movie that I can recommend to other Christians. Ok, I won't lie, I will still probably get this movie on DVD because I have to complete the set. However, it is going to be a miracle if The Silver Chair is going to be made and IF it's going to get made I beg the writers to PLEASE follow the book. There is a reason why the books are so popular and why so many people went to go see LW&W. Because you followed the book!!!!! Learn from history!!!!