The movie is based on the popular children’s story of the same name by C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential Christian writers of the twentieth century. It should come as no surprise that a movie based on his book is filled with the same qualities that made the book a classic. Yet Hollywood seems to be in the habit of making movies that appeal to the worst in human nature rather than the best. Thankfully, Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis’ step-son and heir of his literary legacy, produced the movie and was intimately involved in every step of its making. He knew what made the book great and made sure those elements were incorporated into the movie.
According to Mr. Gresham, “The underlying message is what Jack (C.S. Lewis) put in there. Faith, truth, justice, courtesy, chivalry, honor, personal commitment.” It teaches chivalry when Peter spares the king after wounding him, while Hollywood teaches ruthlessness to reach one’s ends. It teaches faith by showing how Lucy seeks Aslan, while the rest try to win using their own strength. It teaches truth rather than the easy way out when Edmund shatters the icy door to the White Witch. It shows love based on self-sacrifice when Reepicheep’s fellow mice-warriors are willing to chop off their own tales as a symbol of solidarity with their leader. Meanwhile traditional Hollywood can’t do much more than confusing love with lust.
What a breath of fresh air to see a movie with these messages!
Since the beginning of human history, people have told stories about heroes with these sorts of virtues. Not surprisingly, this is also what people want to see at the movie theater. Family value-oriented movies consistently do better than movies filled with explicit sex and gratuitous violence. Despite this fact, Hollywood continues to churn out the worst, even when sales statistics argue for the best. We need to continue to support movies like “Prince Caspian,” if for nothing more than the hope that Hollywood will recognize their complicity in causing the moral decay America currently suffers from.
We all want and need to be inspired, and classic stories are great vehicles to deliver messages of admirable virtues through entertainment. Hero stories teach the valuable lessons of praiseworthy behavior, and when the stories are told well, the time goes by quickly. Our whole family was amazed to find out that over two hours had passed since the fast-paced Prince Caspian had begun. When it was over not only did we leave the theater feeling good, but we felt that the price was well worth it. What a marketing concept!
We feel sorry for Thandie Newton. Her children will have trouble telling right from wrong and discerning good from bad. We are thankful that our mothers were more like Nelle Reagan, who worked to instill the value of virtue with awesome tales of heroes.