Thursday, May 22, 2008

Release Day Contest Winner and Prince Caspian: A Rant of Unusual Proportions

If you stopped in earlier and saw no names, just placeholders, you were looking at a draft version of the post. Sorry -- my bad.

Thanks so much for entering my Law of Averages Release Day Contest. The winner of a beach bag, Bermuda photo calendar and a "Discover the Wylie side of romance" t-shirt is... *queue drumroll*

~ * ~ * KRISTY * ~ * ~

And because I had such positive response to the contest, I decided to throw in two runner up prizes. The following two win a Bermuda photo calendar.

and JANE

Please email your mailing address TO THIS LINK and I'll pop your prizes into the mail asap.

And now, my rant:

I took my eight year old son to see Prince Caspian. This movie is being advertised to children though it is rated PG - parental guidance - for some fighting.
Okay - some fantasy fighting we can handle, right? We're not that over-protective...

Well my heavens, the opening scene is a woman on a bed, screaming as she gives birth. We see the splayed legs (the bits were hidden behind a fat bed-post, thank God, but it was obvious what was happening.
WTF?!!? Gee, explain that one to the son, HOW? (he was quite freaked by that, btw)

And had I known that the movie was over 50% fighting -- and I'm talking swords, bows and arrows, hand to hand combat -- all of it very brutal, I would not have taken eight-year-old boy.
The plot was painfully thin, the camera closeups a second too long (and that second turned wow moments to utter cheese) and the acting second rate (yes, yes, I know they're kids - but even the grownup centaur could have used a little better direction).
I understand that the story is a metaphor for Christianity/coming of Jesus to save man, but my GOD, I felt like I was getting my face slapped with it.
The business of Aslan (the lion) not coming to help them for no good reason except "things don't happen the same way twice" (or something to that effect) had me thinking WTF?? Why not, oh powerful LION? Why did you let half the Narnians get slaughtered in battle? What lesson was learned except that Your Almighty Ferociousness has entirely bad timing and a sadistic streak. Where the hell where you? If the movie/book was to serve as a vehicle to instil faith, it fell ridiculously off mark.
How do I leave a movie like this and explain it to my son who's asking - "Why didn't Aslan come and protect them at the beginning?"
"Well son, Lions work in mysterious ways..."

Have you seen it? I invite you to leave your reaction in comments, whether you agree or not.


Shelley Munro said...

No, I haven't seen this one. I don't think it's on in NZ yet. It certainly doesn't sound like a kid's movie. I AM looking forward to Indiana Jones. I'm gonna drag hubby out to see it. We hardly ever go to the movies but he promised!

Maureen McGowan said...

It's crazy how violence like that is deemed acceptable for children, yet show a nipple or something and it's rated R.

I know I read all the Narnia books one summer when I was 9 or 10, but I only really remember the first one, well. Perhaps there's a reason for that... (other than the fact I re-read it during a kiddie-lit class in University) But I'm quite sure I didn't love the other books in the series the same way I loved The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I just bought a book of essays on the Narnia series (buddy Diana Peterfreund did one of them). I'm looking forward to reading them. Might spark some memories (and maybe some of the essayists will pose questions such as yours... I know the series has been the subject of a lot of academic/literary as well as theological debate over the years, but I can't pretend to know much about it. Even whatever my prof said in my kiddie-lit class, I forgot not long after my exam... My brain's like that.

Leah Braemel said...

Thank you, Wylie! I'm not the only one who felt disappointed! Gizmo Guy and I saw it last night and walked away shaking our heads. I didn't get the whole Aslan thing either but I didn't feel like any 'Christianity' lesson was slapping me, though I've heard others complain of it. We didn't have little ones to worry about but yeah, I didn't like that opening either - though it was completely gratuitous and inappropriate for a young audience.

*Spoiler alert*

I know it confused Gizmo Guy that Prince Caspian's mother gave birth to his nephew. (Did anyone else see the Hamlet-like ripoff storyline or was it just me?) It got to a point in one scene where Gizmo Guy and I simultaneously said "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die" and then started laughing, much to everyone else's annoyance.

All through the movie, I kept flashing back to Lord of the Rings - so many of the scenes were almost exactly the same - the trebuchets and the battle itself were very similar to both Helms Deep and the Battle of Pelennor Fields, the "water" scene had Gizmo Guy saying "If there are horses I'm gonna puke", and lo and behold, not horses, but yup, the water takes a shape. And the 'gnomes' instead of hobbits, the walking trees (Ents, anyone?)

I know Lewis and Tolkien were 'critique partners' so to speak, that they'd read their work out to their group of friends, but come on, who ripped off who? I'll take LOTR over Prince Caspian any day. And I LOVED the book "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" as a kid where it took me multiple readings to get into LOTR as an adult, so I was really disappointed. I expected far better.

If anyone asks me, I'll tell them to save their money and watch something else, maybe recommend they rent a DVD of Return of the King.

Amy Ruttan said...

I haven't seen it. I haven't read the book either.

I really need to read the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia books before I see the rest of the movies.

Thomma Lyn said...

I haven't seen it, but I read the Chronicles of Narnia books when I was a kid and don't remember much about any of them but the first one.

Sounds like Aslan dropped the ball in the movie big time. Not much of a lion, sounds like. My big Alpha Cat would have done a much better job! :)

patrick said...

haven't seen Prince Caspian yet but definitely looking forward to it... i'll have to look over the book one more time just to remind myself how the original story goes

Anonymous said...

Yea! I'll send you my address. I read Law of Averages and thought it was great. I'm looking forward reading more of your work. (I also want to move to Bermuda and meet a rock star;-)

Wylie Kinson said...

Shelley - me too! It's been too long since we had an Indy fix. He looks pretty good for his age :)

Maureen - I never read the Narnia books until I was an adult, but didn't really like any as much as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Those essays sound very interesting.

Wylie Kinson said...

Leah - two instances of 'slapping religion in my face' were when the water turned into a figure that looked and awful lot like God and when Lucy faces the entire bad-guy army and pulls her little dagger -- the army kind of stares at her stunned and all I could think of was the line "And a child shall lead them" -- then of course the lion appears behind her.

And yeah, I'll take LOTR anyday. Much better execution, imo, in both book and movie form.

Wylie Kinson said...

TL - I have no doubt that your Ballacai would have KICKED A$$ ;)

Patrick - I must admit, I've been wondering if my reaction would have been any different had my son not been sitting next to me, thus me worrying over the in/appropriateness of his being there for then entire 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Wylie Kinson said...

Kristy -- thanks so much for your kind comment and congratulations. I hope you'll like the prizes, which I'll pop into the post next week.

Leah Braemel said...

Leah - two instances of 'slapping religion in my face' were when the water turned into a figure that looked and awful lot like God and when Lucy faces the entire bad-guy army and pulls her little dagger -- the army kind of stares at her stunned and all I could think of was the line "And a child shall lead them" -- then of course the lion appears behind her.

LOL, Wylie. When we saw what the water turned into, Gizmo Guy whispered "Look, It's Gandalf!" And I don't know my bible enough to know that line so it went straight over my head. I just thought it was stupid. And "Look, the Eagles are coming, the eagles are coming!"

Julia Smith said...

I loved it. Love the books, love the film series so far. In fact, the thing I love most about the films is that they carry the serious danger tone that the books had. It was always life or death in the books, and I appreciated that, even when I was a kid.

I don't worry too much about the Christian allegory thing - in fact, I find it annoying, really. It takes away from Aslan being his own god figure in his own world of Narnia. The thing about why didn't Aslan save them earlier - people/magical beings have to solve their own problems and not rely on the god figure to swoop in and make everything okay. Picking up the sword has consequences in Narnia as it does on earth.

Jane said...

Thank you, Wylie. I haven't seen Caspian yet, and I don't remember much about the first movie and I've never read the books. I do remember that some conservative groups were boycotting the release of The Golden Compass claiming it promoted atheism, but they have no problems with the religious themes in the Narnia tales.

M. said...

my eleve y.o. son went on opening day with his class as part of their media literacy unit, after reading the book and watching previous incarnations of the film for comparison. his comment was 'don't let my (7 y.o.) brother see it' (who, BTW, enjoyed the first narnia installment). also, he didn't really identify with any of the characters, which is unusual for him.

this discussion reminds me of a recent post at thebookbinge.blogspot, wherein questions were asked about 'how does something get classified as YA, and for what age is it appropriate?' the interesting part was that someone in the biz explained that the 'inside' definition of YA was 'appropriate for 12-18', yet the guidelines provided by booksellers etc. for the same items was 'intended for 9-12'. the discrepancy was explained as technical reasons which are hard to fix.