What Went Wrong - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
By Shalimar Sahota
May 3, 2012
This will go into a few spoilers, so if you haven’t seen The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, then you might just want to stick with the book.
Disney had co-produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with Walden Media and released the film to success in December 2005, earning an incredible $745 million worldwide. With a result like that, it looked like they had a fantasy franchise that could rival Harry Potter, so they went ahead and adapted C.S. Lewis’ following story, Prince Caspian.
A year has passed since the Pevensie children stepped through the wardrobe to visit Narnia. Peter (William Mosley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are in England and on their way to boarding school. On the platform of the London Underground, the walls strip away and they suddenly find themselves transported back to Narnia. However, in Narnia, 1,300 years have passed and it is now ruled by the Telmarines, led by Lord Miraz (Sergio Castellito). The Pevensies discover that Miraz’s nephew Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) is the one who summoned them, hoping that they’ll help him win back the throne taken from him by his uncle.
The film had a monumental production budget of $225 million. Director Andrew Adamson returned to direct the sequel. In wanting to make it more epic in scale, he said in an interview with IGN (while still shooting the film), “Believe it or not, this one I wanted to be bigger and I am regretting that decision now.” He commented on the reason for his decision, saying, “This film is bigger than the last one because I learned to do things last time and so I've created new challenges for myself, to make it more complicated and bigger, which creates a better experience for the audience as well.”
The book itself was not so simple to adapt. “About a third of the book is told in flashback,” said producer Mark Johnson. “We found that didn’t work for us. So we made some changes there, but all sympathetic to the book… we’ve also brought the girls more into the action.” The latter refers to Anna Popplewell, who was rather upset that in the first film her character Susan was given a bow and quiver full of arrows, but not really given the chance to use them. Caspian’s age is hinted in the book as being about Peter’s age (Peter is aged 14 around this time). The decision was made to have Caspian played by the older Ben Barnes (who turned 26 during shooting), largely to match William Mosley as Peter, who had turned 20. The film also suggests a possible romance between Caspian and Susan. A night raid on Miraz’s castle, something lightly hinted at in the book, is also a new inclusion to the film.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was released in December 2005, making use of the Christmas slot that was previously occupied by the Lord of the Rings trilogy from 2001 to 2003 (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events tried in 2004, but it was far from a bona fide replacement). Disney targeted the film towards church groups due to its Christian allegories, with some churches promoting the film and even organizing trips to the cinema. Coupled with the benefit of playing over the Christmas holiday meant that it spent nine weeks in the US top ten.