Prince Caspian was never my favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia. But whenever I read it I still enjoyed it. I wish I could say the same for the movie. It had so many flaws, it’s hard to know where to begin. Not the least was a dramatic departure from the story in the book. I realize that movies often have to make changes. In some cases—Mary Poppins comes to mind—the result is much better than if the filmmakers had slavishly followed the original story. In the case of Prince Caspian, the changes the screenwriters made are mystifying.
The central theme of the novel is the nature of trust. Should the children trust the dwarf? Can they trust Lucy’s idiosyncratic vision of Aslan? Can Caspian trust the black dwarf, Nikabrik? This theme becomes lost in the movie. Instead, the audience is treated to an absurd and disasterous attack on Miraz’s castle, pointless bickering among the children (especially between Peter and Caspian), and an overblown re-appearance of the White Witch from the first movie.
Gone is the sense of light adventure in the novel. Disney seems intent on turning the Narnia stories into modern vehicles for teenage angst. All the children worry too much. None of them, except Lucy, seems to enjoy helping Caspian. One of the attractions of the stories is that they are fun. Prince Caspian is not fun; it is serious, at times even dull. Come on, Disney! Why do you think people like the books?