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The Screening Room
prince caspian
THE STUDIO GATE
I rather enjoyed the splendor and epic storytelling of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," despite seeing it theatrically and twice on a trans-Atlantic flight. The film had a pleasant cast and an engaging storyline with a good villain in Tilda Swinton. The 2008 sequel finds the children more grown-up and the world of Narnia again in peril. This isn't in the same league as its predecessor. 

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. This is a review of the 3-disc DVD set.

What worked in the first film is absent here. The kids consistently argue and have lost their charm. The villains aren't cunning and slick like Swinton's White Witch. The digital characters all seem to blend together. At 149-minutes running time, "Caspian" rambles along and I found it tough to sit through the movie. If this was the first film in the series, it would be difficult for an audience to understand the story or the characters.

The Pevensie children, Lucy, Edmund, Susan & Peter, find themselves back in Narnia. Only they find that hundreds of years have passed and it's up to them to save the kingdom with Prince Caspian. They meet up with creatures and an angry black dwarf named Nikabrik.

The audience is required to follow a number of storylines. There's the story of the Pevensie children, who don't seem to have any interest in being back in Narnia. All they seem to do is argue with each other and try their best to look brave in the face of digital creature armies. The kids, though charming, have grown up a bit and aren't as charming as they were in the 2005 film. They don't seem as close knit as they were before, and that closeness was one of the best elements of "Wardrobe." Prince Caspian does the rousing speeches and brandishes his sword, but like the movie, he's long-winded and dull. He should've stuck with a British accent, because his take on Inigo Montoya ("The Princess Bride") isn't believable. Then there are the digital creatures who populate the movie. After a short time, I started losing track of who was who. I think I'm getting burnt out on digital characters.

One of the surprises I found on the DVD involves the soundtrack quality. I don't have the Blu-ray version to compare, but the DVD Dolby Digital soundtrack is rather flat. This may be a minor issue in how the versions were mastered. Dolby Digital on DVD can sound very good, but this soundtrack is lacking in detail. In comparison to other DVD soundtracks, "Wall-E" sounds a lot clearer and refined than "Prince Caspian."

"Caspian" received some good reviews last summer, though it fell far short of the box office draw of "Wardrobe." Critics might've cut the sequel some slack since the first film was very well made. I, on the other hand, found this sequel rather uninspiring.
        
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: Disney. All rights reserved.
DVD Quick Glimpse

cover


MOVIE

Rather slow going adventure that may only please die hard fans

TALENT
Director: Andrew Adamson  

Cast: Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Liam Neeson 

FEATURES
Bloopers, numerous featurettes and "digital copy"

RATING
PG

DVD
Picture: Good
Sound: Good

GEEK OUT
Aslan (Liam Neeson) has a small role in this one

TECH SPECS
Aspect Ratio (1.85:1)

Dolby Digital 5.1

DVD RELEASE DATE
December 2, 2008
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