"THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Ben Barnes as PRINCE CASPIAN
Georgie Henley as LUCY PEVENSIE
Skandar Keynes as EDMUND PEVENSIE
William Moseley as PETER PEVENSIE
Anna Popplewell as SUSAN PEVENSIE
Sergio Castellitto as KING MIRAZ
Peter Dinklage as TRUMPKIN
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
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This summer, Prince Caspian had a troubled time... not just as a character in a film but as a film in a very crowded summer of blockbusters. Due to some unfortunate scheduling, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” found its way into multiplexes between two of the top grossing movies of the year – “Iron Man” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
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Secondly, the story was less known than its predecessor, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” While it was a return to Narnia, it was a sequel that had a lot to live up to. Finally, this film is a bit darker than the first, which I first heard about from the filmmakers during roundtable interviews during the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con.
Still, while “Prince Caspian” wasn’t the monster hit that was the first Narnia movie, it was an excellent film. With the level of filmmaking today, we are now able to see C.S. Lewis’s brilliant vision come to life. I loved the first movie, and it has become a favorite with my family. Recently, we watched “Prince Caspian” on family movie night, and the kids loved it possibly as much as the first.
This film takes place one year after the first, but when the Pevensie children are transported to Narnia, they discover it is now 1300 years in the future. Humans have invaded Narnia and driven the fantasy creatures into hiding. The evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) is trying to hunt down his nephew Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the true heir to the throne. The Pevensie children come back to win Narnia back with the help of the mystical creatures and the new prince.
When it comes to the dark nature of this film, I wouldn’t worry too much for the kids that have seen the original movie and handled it well. Maybe the youngest of viewers might have some trouble with the humans battling other humans (since magical fantasy creatures getting killed isn’t as harsh and real as people in the same situations). However, the deaths are rather bloodless, and it is meant more as high adventure than a war movie. As with any film, you should know your kids before seeing this with them.
The overall plot is simpler than the first film. Narnia has been established, so there’s more time to be devoted to the internal human politics. The Narnians are the underdogs, but they have a chance to band together among species, whereas they were fighting each other in the previous film. There’s more epic action, which includes a siege on a castle, hand-to-hand combat between Peter Pevensie and King Miraz and a grand battle between the humans and the Narnians.
Last film belonged to Lucy, but she takes a back seat to the development of Peter and Edmund, and it is good to watch the two of them grow. Peter Dinklage gets to show his acting chops as the dwarf Trumpkin Still, the Eddie Izzard-voiced swashbuckling, saber-yielding mouse is the character that steals the show.
The “Prince Caspian” DVD is available in a three-disc set, with one of the discs set aside for Digital Copy. The feature disc includes a commentary with director Andrew Adamson and the cast. The second disc is loaded with bonus features, including bloopers, a wealth of deleted scenes and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.
With enough material to constitute its own feature, the behind-the-scenes videos include “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,” “Secrets of the Duel,” “Becoming Trumpkin” and “Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik.”
Narnia fans will devour this film. Casual fans should enjoy it as well. If you had fun watching “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” this DVD is definitely worth a look or more.