Monday, 26 October 2009


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” - Theodore Geisel

At the weekend we managed to see a movie in between all sorts of goings-on, not the least of which was re-landscaping the front nature strip. We took out all of the dying and weedy lawn and after quite a considerable effort of digging, cultivating, breaking the clayey clods, managed to get it level and all dug up, ready for planting a feature ground cover of Mondo grass. This will have the combined benefits of not needing mowing, not much watering at all, and looking quite good. I can hardly move today, though, every muscle in my body seems to ache! But it was worth it and I am sure it will look stunning!

The movie we saw was “The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian”, the second movie in the series, directed by Andrew Adamson and made in 2008. The Narnia series of books by C.S. Lewis were a favourite of mine when I was a child and I have re-read them in adulthood (mindful during the second reading of the Christian undertones, which were lost to me during my childhood reading). The books remain, deservedly, a set of classic children’s novels and the present series of movies is a wonderful adaptation of the novels. The first in the series “The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was very well done, and I think this second instalment was also extremely well adapted to the film medium. The Fox studios have now rescued plans for the third instalment in the series: “Voyage Of The Dawn Treader”, which will be released in about a year’s time. All of these films of course need to be shot fairly promptly one after the other as the same child actors need be used to preserve continuity.

One of the most stunning aspects of this film is the location that was used to set the action during the first half hour. As the children are transported from war-torn London to the paradisiacal setting of Narnia, the ruins of Cair Paravel looking out onto the sea provide the director with opportunity to set the scene at Cathedral Cove, Hahei, Coromandel, New Zealand. This is a spectacular, unspoilt location of great beauty that truly transports one to another world – perfect for the fairy tale land of Narnia. Other scenic spots abound in the movie and as well as New Zealand, Slovakia and the Czech Republic feature.

I seem to be assuming that everyone knows the story, or that everyone has read the books. But for those who haven’t, the books relate to a magical parallel universe, where in a land called Narnia, a godlike lion (Aslan) rules with fairness and love, while mortals ordinary and extraordinary (including all sorts of mythological creatures like fauns, centaurs, minotaurs, taking animals, dwarfs, etc) live exciting adventure-filled lives. A group of four English siblings, the Pevensie children are drawn into Narnia to help the locals resolve some of the strife they get into.

The children play well, just as they did in the first film and Caspian (Ben Barnes), whom I initially disliked, as the film progressed I warmed up to. The special effects are quite spectacular and the creatures (talking animals, centaurs, fauns, Minotaurs, walking trees, etc) very well done. The romance between Caspian and Susan was an introduced innovation for the film as there was no hint of it in the book and doesn’t really work, but one realises that yes, the ages are such that hormones must be raging and the eyes do wander… I disliked the song at the end of the movie – quite inappropriate and obviously put there for an extra bit of revenue raising (marketing and franchising and merchandising is worth billions nowadays, isn’t it?).

Overall we enjoyed the film. There was fantasy and emotion, a moral, humour and beauty. Well worth seeing it, if you haven’t but even more so, well worth reading the set of seven books that make up the series.


  1. I haven't seen the film, but have read some of the books of the series....they're great with appeal for both children and adults alike. It was good to re-capture the magic of them when reading them to my son when he was younger.

  2. I loved this movie and also the prequel. Looking forward to the story continuing in the third movie in the series.