Okay, despite all appearances, I really, really liked this movie.
I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in complete amazement. They almost got it 100% like the book. My only real complaints were 1) the race across the breaking ice on the river (what was that all about?), and 2) the kids just didn't get it. When Peter, at the beginning of the major battle against the White Witch and her forces, ordered Edmund to get the girls and go back to England, I shook my head. My thought was, "Narnia is about to be ruled by some really stupid children." How many times did Peter have to hear the prophecy about the four thrones before thinking, "Oh, so I shouldn't send my siblings back home! That would totally screw things up!" But really, they got it so right, I don't think they could have gotten it righter. Hollywood has screwed up my best-loved books so many times, that the first Narnia movie was a tremendously nice surprise.
Prince Caspian: Not so much.
Someone told me when it first came out that it was "not as good" as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If she meant that it didn't follow the book as well, I am in total agreement. I decided within the first 10 minutes of the movie that whoever wrote the script had not actually read the book. So, in a change from my usual position, I decided to forget the book and just enjoy the movie.
But before moving on, I would like to revisit the "these kids don't get it" angle to say: Peter is still an idiot. Someone who reigned as the High King for something like 15 years, and has only been back to his regular life for a year, should be able to make better choices, or at least not act quite so stupid. It's too bad he will not be in any more movies; they could at least have given him a chance to redeem himself.
Also in the "they screwed up my book" realm: I always wanted Lucy & Caspian to get together. Obviously, it never happened, but it was beyond strange to me that Susan & Caspian had that love interest thing going on-- I was thinking, "Wait! Wait! Wrong sister!" Alas. Okay, that one is not so much screwing up my book as screwing up what I would change about the story. :)
Anyway... now switching from the book to the movie. It was fantastic. From a plot point of view, I thought it was a thousand times better than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The scenery was amazing, again; the battles were very well-done; the transitions from England to Narnia and back again were brilliant. My only real quibble (and it is a small one) is that Peter & Edmund should have been wearing shorts. Boys (even 16-ish-year-olds) in 1940s England didn't wear long trousers; that was a coming-of-age kind of thing, much the same as girls putting their hair up once they reached 18. When I expressed this aloud, Chad was all, "Huh?", so I guess it's just boring bookish types like myself that would have caught such a period anomaly.
So, we will certainly be adding this one to our DVD library. And I look forward to my children one day asking me if the scriptwriter ever read the book.