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March 19, 2009
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
5/6/200826/11/2008Walt DisneyAndrew Adamson
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 7.1MBen Barnes

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All the main actors have returned.
Around a year ago we reviewed the very enjoyable The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. Based on the book by C.S. Lewis it was a great tale transferred quite well to the silver screen with many considering it the 'childrens' version of The Lord of the Rings. When the movie grossed a mammoth $745 million around the globe a sequel was assured, and this time we have The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Prince Caspian begins in modern day with the four youngsters meeting after a brawl at a train station. Soon enough a train rushes past whisking them back to the world of Narnia, but things have changed. Where once a civilization was thriving as they ruled the world all that is left is ruins, and no sign of the civilization they once saved. Can the four, along with the ousted Prince Caspian restore the civilization to its former glory?

One of the biggest positives to this sequel is the fact that all four children (Georgie Henley as Lucy, Skandar Keynes as Edmund, William Moseley as Peter and Anna Popplewell as Susan) have returned to play their roles in this sequel. Their chemistry is evident from start to finish in the movie, and whenever they are on screen the movie seems to glow. There are plenty of newcomers too but Ben Barnes (Stardust) is the major addition to this cast as he plays Prince Caspian, and it's a joy to watch him in this role. No doubt teenage girls will be swooning over him.

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Ben Barnes is brilliant as Prince Caspian.
Andrew Adamson has returned to direct this sequel which was given a staggering $US200 million budget. This money has been put to good effect with some brilliant sets, visual effects and cinematography. Indeed while the movie has a budget only $US20 million more then the original the size and scale of this movie is so much larger with some monstrous battle scenes. While the game has been awarded an M rating, and indeed the subject matter is skewed slightly towards an older audience, you won't find any blood or gore here, nor any swearing so teenagers should be fine watching this movie.

Sadly Prince Caspian didn't do nearly as well at the box office as the original movie with a gross of 'only' $US419 million compared to $US745 million for the original. It's a shame, as the movie is certainly on par with the original in terms of quality. One can only hope that with the third movie now being handled by Fox (rather then Walt Disney) that these four brilliant young actors are retained - even with Michael Apted now confirmed as the new director.

If you haven't seen The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian yet, then prepare for something quite enjoyable, although we do recommend you check out the original movie before watching this slightly superior sequel.

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Peter Dinklage and Warwick Davis in Prince Caspian.
The video transfer on The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is one that can only be described as spectacular. Encoded in the films original aspect ratio of 2.40:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec the image is absolutely pristine - which is exactly as you would expect from a movie released in cinemas not six months before this disc hit shelves. There is not a spec of dirt or film artifact to be found.

For the most part the image is extremely sharp with brilliant colours, and a tremendous amount of detail on the characters, including their fur. There was the occasional scene which seemed a little soft, and we did sense come very minor black crush in the battle scene around the castle, but it was so minimal that you will hardly notice.

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The creatures (in the background) are brilliant.
While the video is impressive, the audio is probably as close to perfection as possible. Using a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 encoding this is a magical experience. The clarity in this audio experience is exceptional. Dialogue is crystal clear, the music by Harry Gregson-Williams (who gamers would know from the brilliant Metal Gear Solid 4) is quite superb and sets the tone of the scenes perfectly while the effects are stunning - particularly the quieter ambient effects such as the water flowing, grasses moving, or armies marching in the distance.

Besides the main DTS-HD track there are several other audio tracks available. First up is a English Descriptive Audio track encoded in 2 channel 192kbps. I listened to this for a while and it was quite impressive with a great narrator. Other tracks include Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 640kbps. While they don't quite have the fidelity of the HD audio track, they are nonetheless very impressive efforts. Subtitles are provided in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic. Sampling the English subtitles demonstrated accuracy to the dialogue, good pacing and a clear font.

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Just cruising down the river.
Prince Caspian has been released on Blu-Ray as a 2-disc set, and there are tonnes of extras, all presented in HD, to spend some time digging through. Let's get to it.

Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Adamson And Actors: The director and the five child actors participate in this entertaining commentary where they provide some good recollections, and some interesting stories from filming the movie. Entertaining.

Circle-Vision Interactive: Creating The Castle Raid (HD): A little awkward to navigate this featurette puts you in a virtual castle where you can click on the icons to look at how various aspects of the castle, and the massive battle were planned, and filmed. It's also possible to see the castle battle with audio commentaries from various people.

While there are only a couple of extras on the first disc - understandable given the length of the movie and the numerous sound formats - there is plenty more provided on the second disc.

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Battle scenes are pretty frantic.
Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns (34:45/HD): A great look at the making of this movie including plenty of cast and crew interviews. There is plenty of behind the scenes footage and details about the production of this movie.

Sets Of Narnia: A Classic Comes To Life (23:44/HD): This featurette looks at transferring the books of C. S. Lewis onto the screen including choosing the locations, many of which were in New Zealand, and creating the massive sets for filming.

Big Movie Comes To A Small Town (23:19/HD): A look at filming the films final river scene in the Slovenian town of Bovec on the Soca river. This featurette looks at moving 1200 people into the town to film the scenes as well as trying to acquire permission to film in the protected area and then even redirect the river!

Previsualizing Narnia (10:09/HD): Pre-Vis is a way of doing a 'rough draft' of the movie before being filmed and this featurette looks at the lengths the filmmakers of Prince Caspian went to in order to create the Pre-vis sequences.

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Georgie Henley is growing up.
Talking Animals And Walking Trees: The Magical World Of Narnia (4:51/HD): This is a far too brief look at the animals and trees that played such a large part in the movie. There should have been so much more here about how the animals communicate and were created for the movie.

Deleted Scenes (11:15/HD): Ten deleted scenes are presented here with brief introductions as to why they were cut by the director. Each is presented in HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

The Bloopers of Narnia (3:06/HD): A series of bloopers from the set as the movie was being filmed. Some are pretty entertaining, but most are fluffed lines or trips and stumbles.

Secrets Of The Duel (6:46/HD): This featurette looks at the duel battle including the creation of the set (compared to an almost boxing ring in the book) as well as training and filming.

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Time to pick up a sword!
Becoming Trumpkin (4:48/HD): Peter Dinklage is brilliant as Trumpkin and this featurette looks at the process of becoming the character.

Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik (23:19/HD): Warwick Davis takes us through a day on the set of Narnia from early morning to filming.

Overall I enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian more then the original. The storyline is engrossing and the movie has a bit more of a mature slant to it with some massive battles. Technically this Blu-Ray disc looks and sounds superb while there are also quite a few extras to keep you occupied for a few hours as well. This disc comes highly recommended.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Walt Disney. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.