Disney just released The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian, on Blu-ray and DVD, in multiple editions to choose from. Having its basis firmly entrenched in the medieval worlds of gods, kings, trolls and centaurs, along with having a fairly successful predecessor (The Lion, the Witch and the Warddrobe) to follow, The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian, could have been a by-the-numbers sequel, and still found its audience. Disney’s series of fantasy adventure movies, based on C.S. Lewis’ classic The Chronicles of Narnia, also has a built-in audience of readers who’ve read the classic tale.
However Andrew Adamson, who also helmed the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, took a decidedly different path in crafting the sequel, although many of the basic plot elements remain. In doing so, he’s created an intriguing world of honor, with a strong moral center. However, while Prince Caspian takes on a darker, more serious tone than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and while both films only touch upon the religious subtext of the C.S. Lewis classic, the timid desire to make these films “family” friendly, gives them a lack of depth and emotion that special effects simply can’t make up for.
Oddly enough, in the case of Prince Caspian, the addition of more groundbreaking special effects and action than its predecessor, help the film become a pleasant visual trip, best watched in Blu-ray HD. The story follows the Pevensie children (played by Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell), as they face a perilous mission and a test of their faith and courage. They find a world in which 1,300 years have passed. The White Witch is gone, the realm is ruled by a cruel tyrant and Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) has been missing for over a thousand years. The four children embark on a journey to restore magic and glory to the land.
For holiday family viewing, the effects, incredible audio, solid score and detailed sets, make the film something to put on and enjoy. However, the thin storyline and lack of character development, won’t capture the imagination of most viewers.
Because of the inherent quality that the Blu-ray format possesses, along with the sheer depth of space on the discs, most releases to the medium contain bonus materials that are incredibly fun to watch, and The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian is no different. The 3 Disc Blu-ray set is packed with featurettes, interviews and deleted scenes. The set also includes a special DisneyFile, a digital copy of the movie that can be viewed on a variety of portable devices anytime, anywhere. I downloaded the digital copy from Disc Three to iTunes, just to get a sense of the ease of use and quality, and I was pleased.
Disc One contains an insightful and thorough commentary by director Andrew Adamson, accompanied by Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell. There’s also an incredibly detailed and thorough collection of featurettes titled Circle-Vision Interactive, containing text pop-ups primarily surrounding the creation of the castle battle sequence. This unique feature allows you to decide how you’ll navigate through the pop-ups. Disc One also contains BD Live content and trailers.
Disc Two contains the majority of the bonus material, including:
- Ten Deleted Scenes from the film
- The Bloopers of Narnia, which were some funny out-takes from the cast and crew
- The featurette Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns, a making-of short that was very interesting to watch in the format
- Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life, which details the massive set pieces utilized during filming
- Big Movie Comes to a Small Town, a featurette focused on the town in Slovenia where the large-scale battle sequence was lensed
- The featurette Previsualizing Narnia looks at the digital storyboards for the ambitious action and CG sequences. As a designer, I always enjoy these behind-the-scenes looks at digital creation
- Talking Animals and Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia, another short that looks at the CGI special effects elements ofr Prince Caspian
- Secrets of the Duel profiles the weapons and defense training techniques the actors endured, while preparing for their roles
- Becoming Trumpkin and Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik, two brief featurettes profiling actors Peter Dinklage and Warwick Davis, the two main little people in the cast
- Rounding out the extras on Disc Two are some fun easter eggs.
Bonus Content Rating
Check out clips from the film below.
Meeting the Mouse
Fighting the River
Check out Bonus Material clips below.
On set with Warwick
Logistics of a Sword Fight