Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just a Kiss?

The movie Prince Caspian opened in theaters last Friday, and our family enjoyed going to see it that afternoon. Having seen some previews and read the movie companion book, I knew that the details would be different then those in the book, but it was still disappointing to see just how much things were changed in some places! However, the music was beautiful and the effects superb, making it exciting to watch.

One thing that I particularly didn't like, was the small romance between Caspian and Susan. It was entirely made up, with no allusion to anything of the kind in the book! Thankfully, there wasn't too much during the action of the movie, though they had some glances and somewhat flirtatious behavior. The ending was a different story! The Pevensie children learn that they must leave once more, and difficult good-byes are made. Susan and Caspian know they won't see each other again, and though somewhat sad, they accept it, Susan giving a witty remark about how it wouldn't have worked anyway as she turned to go. It's the mature thing to do - just accept it and leave. But wait - love can't be repressed! The music builds as Susan flies back and kisses and hugs Caspian tenderly. There. Now she can go. And Susan leaves, knowing she'll never see him again.

Isn't there something wrong with this picture? True love is not about being caught up in the moment; it's about commitment, and oftentimes restraint. I know, the scene was another "Hollywood addition", but it really detracted from the overall story. The character Susan lived in the 1940s, yet the film makes her look and act like a teen from the present. She's supposed to be "Susan the Gentle," not a passionate warrior-princess! It's saddening, because many young girls who secretly wish to be like Queen Lucy or Queen Susan are left with the idea that, if you love someone, it's okay to give in to the romance of the moment.

Another thing that disturbs me, whenever there's kissing between unmarried actors and actresses in movies, is the fact that the people portraying the characters are not married and have no commitment to each other. They are simply playing out the part written for them in a script. We may see it on screen for only two seconds, but, as any actor knows, there's always practice involved for each part, and one rarely gets anything right on the first time. No telling how many re-takes are involved.

"But what's the big deal?" one may object, "It's just a kiss! At least it didn't go beyond that!" It's true that almost every movie has kissing in it, and most don't stop there. Our culture has become so desensitized that now it is increasingly hard to find decent movies. At least in the older movies, the couple turned away or the camera zoomed out. Now, film-makers give us a close-up shot.

I'm tired of it. Why don't we want to protect the purity of actors and actresses, especially teens like Anna Popplewell? People say that it's just a "stage kiss" with no emotional strings attached, but with each one, I'm sure they remember. It's giving a little, sacred part of yourself away, something that is meant for your spouse.

You can tell a story without showing the intimate details of love. It has been done, with good directors upholding Christian values in their films, ones that leave the viewer not with images of passionate romance, but with a feeling of cleanliness and having enjoyed a good, sweet story.

To me, a kiss is not "just" a symbol of love. It is a symbol of commitment. That is why, with God's help, I'm going to wait to give such a gift of true love and trust until after I hear the words, "I now pronounce you man and wife."


Ella said...

I haven't seen or read Prince Caspian yet...but I know enough that there wasn't a romance between Caspian and Susan. (Though, I did figure they would add something in; Hollywood usually does.)

I quite agree with you on this subject. It is hard to say. I mean, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy movies that have kisses in them, but nowadays they are prolonged it drives me crazy. Thus, why I stick with older movies (or new decent ones)

I just watched The Inheritance this morning. I would encourage you to watch it. There is kissing at the end, but the camera pans away. I thought it a nice touch.

Purity is so mocked anymore. In older movies, you don't find it as much, but it is still there. It is hard to see that teens do not have good encouragement in the realm of purity!

But you know, with it all, I come away when I see a kissing part saying. "That's great, but I only want to kiss one guy." And as that time hasn't come yet.....

Bonnie S said...

Well said Anna! I agree, it's dissapointing when Hollywood adds unecessary things like that.

Maiden Of Virtue said...

I agree. There are different ways to do that without "making fun" of saving your first kiss for your husband.

I wish more movie makers would stop to think about that.


Anonymous said...

Hard for me to agree with the kissing comment. My closest friends that I went to college with, and many of them will be the same ones around when I return for Seminary, are the ones that share kisses and hugs - both male and female. I suppose it's the way a person is brought up? For me a kiss is given to anyone you have affection for, frienship or what have you. The only time it is odd for me is when I know a kiss is expected from me when I'm going to be meeting someone for the first time. My previous boyfriend's family is proper British and I knew when I met his grandmother I would be expected to hug and kiss both cheeks. So it's only odd to me if you're not friends.

Maria Pauline said...

Thanks for your take on this! I can understand that they have to make a movie based on the book rather than word for word, but it does bother to read about the other storylines they have added, especially Susan and her ungentleness. Besides, wasn't Lucy the valient one?

Anna Naomi said...

Ella: I still watch movies with kisses in them - it's hard to find ones without them - but I do wish they'd leave them out. I have seen (and read!) The Inheritance and really enjoyed both. Have you read the book?

Amber Lee: I guess I may not have been plain - I was talking about kissing on the lips, not kissing on the cheeks. I understand that in some cultures it's appropriate and required to kiss both cheeks, like you mentioned, and in Biblical times, they "greeted one another with a holy kiss". It probably is a lot how you grew up. However, I was talking about romantic kissing on the lips.

Maria Pauline: Yes, it is annoying! I didn't like how much they made Susan fight in the battles in the movie, whereas in the books she was with Aslan and Lucy. I understand some changes they had to make, but this??

Luke said...

I agree with your disappointment with the kiss at the end. But when I thought about the rest of the books in the series, it may be setting up for the last book where Susan's character is revealed (don't want to ruin it for those who haven't read the books).
This book/movie was kind of dark anyway, so the writers of the movie may have tried to add the romance to offset the fighting. But whatever their motive, it did tend to take away from the innocence of the book.


Sloan said...

Hi Anna-

My Dad is going to take us to go see Prince Caspian this week and all of us girls are SO excited. Kissing on the lips?! Blechhh!!! Kind of dissapointing that they put that in the movie. Well, at least we are brought up differently! Amen?

Sloan <><

Anonymous said...

Anna Naomi: This might sound like an odd suggestion, but if you wanted to both learn about another culture AND watch kissless movies - I suggest getting some Hindi/Bollywood movies with subtitles and watching those. You will find those movies (and also movies from the mideast) shouldn't have kissing in them, because of the culture.

Vanessa said...

Good for you for standing up for purity in this world!

Sammybunny said...

my biggest beef with this movie was how they portrayed peter! It just broke my heart for them to make him all moody/mean/and angry. In the books, he was very charming, pleasant, and high king! Not some spoiled brat (well at least that's how I took it). That was the biggest disappointment to me. Other than that, I did enjoy the movie but I was slightly disturbed by the romance between Caspian and Susan, not necessarily because of the kiss but because IT WASN'T IN THE BOOKS and to me their characters should have clashed romantically (not friend-wise). I dunno...

Linda Marie said...

I haven't seen Prince Caspian yet (it doesn't premiere here until July 2!), so I don't know what I'll think just yet, but I've seen the trailers and the kiss and the fact that Susan is in a battle are the things I wonder if I'll like. I'm not so sure if Susan would have done either of them.
Interesting thoughts on movie kisses. I have also thought about the actors that have to kiss for real (with retakes and people "judging" them). That part of acting doesn't seem very fun to me. Also, we are so used to seeing kisses in films that we don't react to them as much as we "should" anymore, it doesn't mean as much with a kiss in Hollywood. I usually don't go all warm and teary eyed (just sometimes!) when the characters kiss. However, sometimes if they shyly hold hands or so I do... :-)

Robert said...

This reminded me of the scene in Sergeant York when Gracie tells Alvin "Well, I don't go around kissing men I ain't gonna be a marrying... it's you I'm a marrying and nobody else in this here world." She knew that it was a sign of commitment.

I haven't seen the movie but I read in a review that they toned down the Christian aspect of the story.

At least in the Jane Austen movies,the couple won't kiss til they're engaged.

Anna said...

I always think it's sweet when characters in a movie kiss, although I do agree with not kissing anyone except the man you're going to marry. (I never kissed anyone but my husband).

I guess I just invent a happily-ever-after in my mind, which the director (or author) may or may not have intended! =)

Anonymous said...

I am not religious, but nevertheless, I think you are quite right on that point. The funny thing is to watch how the attitude of the society towards different things change over the time. I am not sure about it, but I think that at the time of the deaf black and white movies the kisses on the stage were considered offensive and now we see that in almost every film ever produced (I mean even in the movies specifically produced for kids), and that is considered normal. By the way I did kiss a girl few years ago (and I was quite sure we are going to marry; though we never did) and I now wish I didn't do that at this point but it's to late; but I have never though about it before. So maybe these particular changes are not for good.


Anonymous said...

i wached Prince Caspian, sunday afternoon. i do not think it was as good as The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. it was VERY DARK and the kissing yuck, i realy hope the next one will be beter.


Anonymous said...

I've not yet seen the newest Narnia movie, but I'm now doubting if I want to spend $10 on a ticket, I might just wait to rent it. Thanks for your review, Anna.

Amber Lee, I agree with you on the Bollywood suggestion. Have any of you seen "Bride and Prejudice"? It is the Bollywood version of "Pride and Prejudice", done as an Indian musical...and well done at that! Since kissing in movies is considered taboo in their culture, none of the Indian movies have anything objectionable in them (at least in that manner!).

Veiled Glory said...

When the kiss scene happened, I said out loud in the theater, "That's not in the book!" To which many people laughed. They knew it wasn't either...but it relieved some of the social tension.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I just want to say that I admire what you are doing. This is a great site.

My feelings over the Prince Caspian kiss coincide with yours. It was needless, and did not further the plot in any way. Many times romance is put into a movie to help it along. Unfortunately this one could have stood on its own, but I suppose no one told the scriptwriters that:)Thankfully it was done well, and without much ceremony.

However, I am inclined to disagree with your opinion on Susan's fighting. On the whole it was done tastefully and seemed to blend seamlessly with the character Anna has created. Susan did NOT have a she-man, tough girl attitude that we find so often in action/adventure movies. She also was not on the front line alongside the men before any battle. During the night raid she was an extra pair of hands and never once overstepped the "boundaries." Later, Peter sent her to the howe to wait it out, and she only came down when the place collapsed. But looking at the big picture, Susan was fighting to defend her family, her subjects, and the land that she loved. She did so tastefully and expertly, and I think that is to be applauded. I would do the same if my family was in danger, and I am sure all of you would too.

Anonymous said...

I grew up reading the Narnia book. I find it upsetting that children s books are sexualised. It is a children s story and they should not be exposed to this when they just want to watch a nice movie.

Annie said...

I enjoyed the first Narnia movie very much, so naturally I was soooo excited to see Prince Caspian! I wanted to see the four children return again in a second movie. However, there are things I did not appreciate in Prince Caspian.
1. Peter's attitude. Yuck! He was so moody, selfish, and plain mean.
2. It was a "war movie" and not meant for little children. My siblings are not allowed to see it.
3. Caspian and Susan's kiss. *sigh* They just had to ruin it, didn't they? A girl in that time era WOULD NOT have kissed a guy. She knew she would never see him again, but she kissed him anyway?!? It makes me so frustrated. I did not think their relationship (before the kiss) was necessarily unappropriate, but the kiss just ruined it all.

I'm grateful that there are other Christian young ladies who share the same view as I do! Thanks for the encouragement!