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3-Disc Collector's Edition
MPAA Rating: PG (For Epic Battle Action and Violence)
Running Time: 149 Minutes
Starring: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell
Screenplay by: Andrew Adamson & Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Retail Price: $39.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Andrew Adamson, Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell, Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns, Sets Of Narnia: A Classic Comes To Life, Big Movie Comes To A Small Town, Previsualizing Narnia, Talking Animals And Walking Trees: The Magical World Of Narnia, Deleted Scenes, The Bloopers Of Narnia, Secrets Of The Duel, Becoming Trumpkin, Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik, Digital Copy
Specs: 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (22 Scenes)
Released: December 2nd, 2008
"The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. It is a lengthy movie, and even though it fills up the entire disc (with the exception of the previews), I was a bit disappointed by this transfer. There is some very slight edge enhancement, as well as some blemishes here and there. But the visual quality is annoyingly inconsistent: the transfer either has way too much contrast in many of the heavily lit scenes, or is rather murky in the night-oriented scenes. Not helping are the bevy of edge halos and noise, plus shimmering, which are incredibly distracting.
Sadly, these instances diminish the transfer - but there are nice things about it which don't make it a total loss. Detail is pretty excellent, and color saturation is very bold and fitting. Fleshtones, while a little bit orangey at times, still look pretty good overall. In conclusion, the transfer is more than watchable, but I was hoping for something much stronger and consistent. An epic of this caliber deserves a top-notch visual presentation, but I guess that's what the Blu-ray version is for.
Dialogue is also very crisp and always easy to hear, too. But helping bring some balance to this track is the fantastic musical score from Harry Gregson-Williams. The famed composer really strikes the listener with the thundering compositions for the action-heavy sequences, but his more quiet and solemn score pieces resonate just as well and give the appropriate tone. All these sound elements are well-adjusted though and mold rather flawlessly. I would certainly say this is near-reference quality for a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.
Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish are included, as well as subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
As expected, this is a nicely packed set. The sole extra on the first disc is the Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Andrew Adamson, Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skander Keynes, William Moseley and Anna Popplewell. If you (or the young ones) have the patience to sit through it, you'll find a rather solid track that achives an excellent balance. The wry Adamson pinpoints a load of details, be it from actors in small parts to locations to the bevy of effects that fill up the fantasy. The actors joining him are enthusiastic, and share plenty of entertaining production stories. Everyone here has a good rapport, and are clearly proud of their work on the film. Again, there is a nice mix of the fun with the technical. Big and casual fans of the film won't be disappointed if they give this track a go.
The second disc has all the video-based supplements. Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns is a near 35 minute look at the film's production. This is a remarkable and engrossing documentary that hits all the bases: the film's plot, the success of the first movie, Adamson returning to direct because of the kids (aww!), the wardrobe, the make-up, the locations, the actors, the special effects and much more. It's overwhelming how large of a production this was, and Walden Media honco Cary Ganat's comparison to Adamson is a general is well-suited. This is a great watch.
Sets Of Narnia: A Classic Comes To Life lasts nearly 24 minutes, and focuses on the film's immense production design. Co-producer (and stepson to author C.S. Lewis) Douglas Gresham sorta acts as a guide to this piece, noting how his stepfather's writing was sparse, and thus encouraged the reader to use his or her imagination. Still, the writing and illustrations were used as a jumping off point, and it's pretty thrilling to see all the work and creativity gone into finding locations and building sets. Actors and production members comment on the sets, all while Gresham reads from the source material and illustrations are shown, and then we see the creation and final result. I believe this production cost in the ballpark of nearly 200 million dollars. It certainly looks it.
Big Move Comes To A Small Town runs 23 minutes, and is a downright entertaining look at how the production invaded a small European town to film a key sequence. In addition to showing the prep to film this sequence, we also hear from local townspeople and their thoughts on the movie - and making their guests feel welcome. Well edited and well produced, as it gives varying perspectives on location shooting.
Previsualizing Narnia runs 10 minutes. It's interesting, but a bit technical in nature as it focuses on the film's complex visual effects. Of course, there was a lot to plan with this film, and we see storyboard artists and computer guys play their part in visualizing the film before things are shot. Definitely a necessicity, and this is a tribute to the technical crew's often unsung work. Talking Animals And Walking Trees: The Magical World Of Narnia lasts roughly 5 minutes, which gives a glimpse at some of the film's key secondary characters brought to life with special effects.
10 Deleted Scenes are available to view, with audio introductions from Andrew Adamson. In total, with the audio intros, these last 11 minutes. The moments are short and fleeting, and Adam's reasonings for their cuts make sense (not to mention it's a long move to begin with). The Bloopers Of Narnia is 3 minutes worth of cute moments.
Secrets Of The Duel is a near-7 minute look at the filming and prep for the duel scene, and if we haven't already learned, there's a lot of thought that goes into such things on a big movie. Becoming Trumpkin focuses on character actor Peter Dinklage being in the film - his offering of the role, his make-up and even some comical moments. It lasts about five minutes. Around rounding the disc out is a look at another actor in the film - Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik. Running 11 minutes, it's a fun and interesting look at life on the set. We see David wake-up, do 3 hours of make-up, followed by periods of filming and more make-up, before it's time to take off all the make-up and call it a day.
Finally, the third disc is a digital copy of the film for your computer and/or digital media player.
It might be the end of the road for the Narnia franchise, since "Prince Caspian" did not meet the lofty financial expectations set by its predecessor. Still, I'm sure whatever viewers missed it in theaters will check out the DVD. While the transfer does disappoint, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track is outstanding and the supplements are entertaining - giving a detailed overview of the creation of an epic. This is a DVD set with a lot of value - not to mention the film, like the first, is solid family entertainment.