The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) - 3-Disc Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Disney || PG - 149 minutes - $39.99 || December 2, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Andrew Adamson
Writer(s): C.S. Lewis (novel); Andrew Adamson & Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (screenplay)
Cast: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Sergio Castellitto, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, Pierfrancesco Favino


Theatrical Release Date: May 16, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 8 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Bloopers of Narnia
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Disney’s sequel to the $745 million worldwide hit, is back continuing the story of siblings Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Peter (William Moseley) and Susan (Anna Popplewell) and their adventures in the fantasy land of Narnia. In the first go-around (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), the Pevensie siblings find a magical portal to a magical land of talking animals through a wardrobe closet and once there they fight against the White Witch and save the land of Narnia becoming kings and queens of the land before heading back to the real world.

Now, they are summoned back after Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) escapes an assassination attempt when his uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), finally has a son who can be a direct heir to the throne (Caspian’s father was the king before he died). So, on the run he uses a magic horn which summons the Kings and Queens of Old back to Narnia to help stop Miraz from wiping out Narnia once and for all. They don’t realize it at first, but the Pevensie siblings have been away from Narnia for centuries and now the creatures of the land continue to become extinct thanks to King Miraz.

This sequel introduces some new fanciful characters for the world of Narnia: Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage), a cautious dwarf; Nikabrik (Warwick Davis), another dwarf, is loyal to the “Old Narnia” but has his own plans and beliefs about Caspian being their leader; plus some Satyr’s, a talking ferret, mice and other little creatures who help out in the “Narnia Revolution”.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on a technical level is actually better than its predecessor. It looks and feels a lot like a Lord of the Rings movie and less kid-friendly, even with a PG rating. That said I wasn’t fully invested in this installment. From the opening scene, the birth of the king’s son, to the siblings’ summons, I wasn’t very interested in these characters (vs. Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter).

The story itself is good and fills up the 149-minute running time with little bloating, though it also doesn’t have that signature scene that makes this a memorable film. The climactic moment is a duel between the king and Peter and a subsequent battle between Narnia and Telmarines, neither of which were that impressive visually having a ‘been there, done that’ kind of vibe to it. The battle scenes in the first outing were more suspenseful and awesome to watch.

That being said, I still immensely enjoyed the sequel. Andrew Adamson does a good job in the director’s chair while the screenplay (co-adapted on C.S. Lewis’ novel by Adamson and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely), from someone who has never read the books, is probably good for both fans and non-fans alike.

Prince Caspian features some good performances from not only the Pevensie siblings but even Ben Barnes as Caspian. The film also has some nice cameos with Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan (only appears for 5-minutes), Eddie Izzard as the voice of Reepicheep and Tilda Swinton as The White Witch (another 5-minutes, at the most).

Although I think certain parts could’ve been written better, I did enjoy this film overall. It’s only slightly inferior to the original and even though it doesn’t have the grandeur of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, I think there is enough story to make it enjoyable for both kids and adults. Even with the box office disappointment (raking in *only* $450 million worldwide, no doubt because of the summer opening), a third one is in the works without Andrew Adamson at the helm.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Disney is releasing Prince Caspian on Blu-ray (2-disc and 3-disc) and DVD (1-disc and 3-disc). This review covers the “3-Disc Collector’s Edition”.

DISC 1:
Feature Commentary – Co-writer/Producer/Director Andrew Adamson once again, like the previous movie, sits down with the kids from the movie: Georgie Henley (Lucy), Skandar Keynes (Edmund), William Moseley (Peter), Anna Popplewell (Susan) and Ben Barnes (Caspian).

DISC 2:
Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns (34:43) and Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life (23:42) are a behind-the-scenes featurette covering the cast and crew coming back together once again and the new faces in the latest installment. These go through scouting locations in New Zealand and Europe and just finding the right places for filming.

Big Movie Comes to a Small Town (23:18) is about the production team coming to a small Europe town and the experiences from the viewpoint of both townspeople and the crew. Not sure why this was one of the longer featurettes, but still interesting.

Previsualizing Narnia (10:08) is a basic featurette on the previz process on the movie.

Talking Animals and Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia (4:50) is another featurette, this one going over the creatures found in the first film as well as the new one’s shown in the sequel.

Secrets of the Duel (6:45) goes over the pivotal duel scene between Peter and King Miraz, the training they did and how it was shot. I have to wonder why this along with a few of the other featurettes weren’t just used for one big ‘making-of’ documentary...

Becoming Trumpkin (4:47) and Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik (11:06) are two featurettes that follow the processes of Peter Dinklage playing Trumpkin and Warwick Davis as Nikabrik. The latter featurettes actually was the more interesting one as you get to see the day in the life of an actor on a movie like this, getting up at 4am for make-up, then rehearsals, back to make-up for the beard and back to set for filming.

Deleted Scenes (11:17) – 10 forgettable scenes that were excised from the final cut for good reason. Plus, the movie was already a good 149 minutes, no need to pad that further.

There is also The Bloopers of Narnia (3:06) and, on disc three, a digital copy for use on your PC/Mac or iPod/MP3 device.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with its OAR of 2.40. This looks like a nice video transfer; colors seem about right and black levels look good. I have seen some better transfers before, but this one is satisfactory.

Disney offers a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. It’s not “wow” worthy or anything but gets the job done. Harry Gregson-Williams score comes through nicely and the action sequences sound good.



.::OVERALL::.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a step up from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and while the writing could’ve been better, I still enjoyed the film very much. Disney has released a nice set, though their previous Narnia, the director’s cut, contains a ton more and complete features so as much as I despise needless double-dips, I hope there’s more in store.