Saturday, May 24, 2008
I am currently reading Prince Caspian aloud to my two youngest (and anyone else nearby.) I felt the need to read it thanks to a particularly insightful and funny email I received from my daughter in Virginia. After seeing Prince Caspian, and being, to put it mildly, disappointed, she sent a passionate defense of her opinions. She has since regretted her strong views, so I will not post them here, but know that they were brilliant, and I came away thinking that "cute" was probably not a good word to start my thoughts on the movie. A bit of fuel to her flame, shall we say.
I hadn't read or listened to the book for a few years, which in my brain means I never have read it. Oh, I can remember the characters and the big things, but the Lewis-esque subtleties were forgotten. It is enjoyable to read the book again with all these thoughts in my mind. I am almost half-way through, and I am not disappointed in the movie yet. But the waking of the trees and the role of Aslan are just beginning. That's where the problems were most blatant for some movie critics.
I must admit, though, I am not a purist when it comes to books becoming movies. A movie IS a different art form, and a director will, by nature of the beast, put his or her oar in to mix things up a bit. Most of the time I don't mind, though. I was happy that Anne of Green Gables looked EXACTLY like she was supposed to, but The Inheritance is SO much better as a movie. The book doesn't even have the father character in it, and he is one of my all-time favorites.
I found I was in good company. Frederica Mathewes-Green posted an essay last week (here) discussing movies that are better than their books. Now, be prepared to disagree a bit with this one; she chooses some beloved texts in her analysis. My daughter's response to her Prince Caspian review? "Hurumph."
And, just in case you haven't seen this recommendation before, here is a GREAT Narnia resource:
The Chronicles of Narnia, Complete 7-volume set, unabridged audio
Readers: Kenneth Branagh, Michael York, Patrick Stewart, Lynn Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Alex Jennings, Jeremy Northam.
Kenneth Branagh's reading of The Magician's Nephew is worth the price of the set. But you get Cadfael (Jacobi) and Mr. Knightley (Northam), too.
My husband is the only family member who has not seen the movie. I will go with him to celebrate his final day of school on June 10th. We'll have finished the book by then, and I will be much better prepared to comment. And I won't start with, "It was cute." I've learned my lesson.