I confess to preferring the recent film version of Prince Caspian to its companion piece The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I love it because, frankly, watching male testosterone self-implode on-screen is hugely entertaining not to mention charismatic.
The movie makes some large, but still consistent, changes from the book, mostly to get the Pevensies in contact with Prince Caspian sooner (in the book, they don't show up until the very, very end). Another of the changes is that the story centers around Peter rather than Lucy or Caspian. Unlike the level-headed Peter of the book, movie Peter is hot-headed and tired of being treated like a kid: he's just bursting with testosterone!
And when he shows up in Narnia, his reluctance to listen to Lucy is much less the careful deliberations of a grown man and much more the knee jerk reactions of an adolescent/adult man who thinks he is losing control of a situation: yup, Peter is THAT guy who won't stop and ask for directions. (By the way, to kill a stereotype, I never do either.)
And when he meets Caspian, he immediately takes over. The first time I saw the movie, I wasn't entirely convinced that Caspian (played by Ben Barnes with a delectable accent) would give way so easily. I mean, the guy is over 18! But I think the movie does a good job showing that Caspian has been sat on so much by his uncle—who has also sent away any of Caspian's real supporters—Caspian doesn't really know how to take charge. And I'm very grateful, by the way, that movie Caspian is over 18; I don't mind child actors, but I found the baby-faced Caspian of the BBC version to be fairly annoying.
The emotional problem of the movie is pride, specifically testosterone-laden male pride. Now, I'm no establishment feminist. I adore testosterone-laden male pride: makes for some darn fine movies. And I like Caspian because the problem of male pride is not solved by "feminizing" the hormone-rampaging males. It is solved, rather, through multiple options (as opposed to tunnel "I do know how to get there" insistence), Edmund's discernment and prompt action, and the combat between Miraz and Peter where Peter's aggression is channeled into a useful and probable resolution. Politics, as Caspian knows, is a far more effective weapon against Miraz than battle: the Narnians simply don't have the manpower.
Which brings us to Miraz's court: I love it! It is so . . . Godfatherish. And I don't especially like the Godfather movies. But I love how sneaky and conspiratorial the Telmarine court is. I love the power plays. I love the badness of Miraz, not, again, because I typically like Mafia-type movies but because his badness, in typical Lewis fashion, is so human; the actions of his subordinates are so clever and so evil in such a mundane, human way. And yes, all the stuff that's in the movie about Miraz is in the book.
My brother comments in one of his posts, "And, to be honest, I do find women to be infinitely more interesting creatures than men" in part because fiction about women focuses on "how real people--specifically women--actually relate to each other in the real world" and "revolve mainly around the evolution and devolution of friendships." I suppose I find testosterone-laden male tribulations fascinating for a similar reason: because of the birds' eye view not of evolution and devolution, necessarily, but of adaptation. If Camille Paglia is right and women are fundamentally more earthy and cyclical while men are fundamentally more idealistic and goal-completion-oriented, watching idealistic, goal-oriented men adjust to our very non-idealistic, repetitive world is, well, rather like watching wild animals in a zoo: bizarrely fascinating. If that metaphor seems offensive, try--like watching matadors buying pizza in Brooklyn.
When the adjustment is more or less successful, at least. When it isn't, it's just kind of sad, but then watching women de-evolve themselves out of relationships bores me silly. No matter the gender, I prefer construction to destruction, but that's another post!
For another take on Caspian, my brother's review can be read on his blog.