J.D. Lafrance
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: 3-Disc Special Edition DVD Review

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: 3-Disc Special Edition

December 22, 2008

Director: Andrew Adamson,
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Ben Barnes, Warwick Davis, Peter Dinklage, Liam Neeson, Sergio Castellitto, Eddie Izzard, Ken Stott,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

With the success of the first Chronicles of Narnia film, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005), a sequel was inevitable but could Disney get everyone back who made the original so memorable? For the most part, the answer is yes but seeing as how Prince Caspian (2008) is an adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel of the same name, certain characters wouldn’t be returning and new ones would be introduced. Hopefully, the laws of diminishing returns would not apply. This new film did not have as strong an opening weekend as the studio had hoped but ended up performing extremely well at the box office with $419 million worldwide, thus ensuring a continuation of the series.

It’s been a year since Peter (Moseley), Susan (Popplewell), Edmund (Keynes) and Lucy (Henley) were in Narnia and they long to return. As if to answer their wishes, the subway station they are in is magically transformed into a beach in Narnia. They find out that in Narnia time, over 1,500 years have passed and the magical creatures are almost extinct. A malevolent race of humans known as the Telmarines rule the land led by King Miraz (Castellitto). He tries to assassinate his nephew, Prince Caspian (Barnes) so that he can become king.

However, Caspian narrowly escapes and takes refuge in the nearby forest where he finds solace with the remaining Narnians. Not surprisingly, he’s not too popular with them because of what his people have done. Caspian pledges to help the Narnians regain their freedom but his people quickly prepare to wipe out the Narnians once and for all. The wild card thrown into the mix is, of course, the four children who fight alongside Caspian and the Narnians.

As one character puts it, Narnia is a much more savage place and quite different from when we last saw it. Everything is in ruins and all the magical creatures, that once thrived, are very much in the minority. There seems to be a much greater emphasis on plot and story and less on character, which is a shame because what made the first film so enjoyable was the interaction between the four children. In Prince Caspian, they’re too busy giving orders or strategizing. That being said, Peter Dinklage is very funny as a sarcastic dwarf while Eddie Izzard provides the voice for a very precocious mouse.

Prince Caspian is certainly a darker film than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, with much more at stake. Creatures that were once enemies are now allies against a common foe. In some respects, this film has the same kind of epic battles and sieges as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), only without the proper balance of compelling characters and large scale battles.

Special Features:

The first disc features an audio commentary by director Andrew Adamson and actors Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley, and Anna Popplewell. They talk about doing some of their own stunts and riding horses while Adamson points out which scenes were shot in various countries. They shot the majority of the film on location as opposed to the first film which relied mostly on sets. Everyone tells all kinds of filming anecdotes on this engaging track.

The second disc starts off with “Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns,” which takes a look at what motivated Adamson to make another Narnia film. Originally, he wasn’t interested in making another big budget film on such a large scale than the first film but enjoyed working with the four children and found a way to personalize the material.

“Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life” examines how the filmmakers translated the book’s sometimes sparse descriptions into detailed sets. It’s nice to see that they used actual locations and constructed sets whenever possible.

“Big Movie Comes to a Small Town” takes a look at filming a small town in Slovenia. It is surrounded by mountains and has a beautiful river that the filmmakers used for a crucial set piece in the film. At one point, a crew of 1,200 people moved into this small town to work on the film.

“Previsualizing Narnia” examines the prep work done with rough, computer animation so that the filmmakers could have an idea of what the film would look like.

“Talking Animals and Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia” takes a look at the fantastical creatures in the film and the role nature plays in the story.

Also included are 10 deleted scenes with audio introductions by Adamson. This footage fleshes out certain characters and the relationships between them but ultimately was repetitive or unnecessary.

“The Bloopers of Narnia” is a collection of blown lines, physical slip-ups and goofing around that is fairly amusing to watch.

“Secrets of the Duel” examines how they shot the film’s climactic swordfight between Peter and King Miraz, including all of the prep work that went into it – choreography, costumes and gear.

“Becoming Trumpkin” takes a look at how Peter Dinklage became his character, including the make-up applications.

Finally, there is “Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik,” which examines an average filming day for this veteran genre actor, including hours in make-up and so on.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 85%

Website: http://adisney.go.com/disneyvideos/liveaction/princecaspian/


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