Prince Caspian DVD Review
Well, it's that time! You've watched the movie in theaters, you've eagerly waited for the chance to have the movie for your very own, and now you can!
This is a rough little review of my first impressions on the 3-disc Collector's Edition for Prince Caspian, and how it compared with the same edition of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and where it excelled, and where it didn't meet expectations.
It was nice and "presented" the film in a good way. I had hoped that they would continue packaging the Special Editions in the same format that they did for LWW, but there was just a typical cover this time. There was a cardboard slipcover and then the actual DVD case. The case featured three discs, with the Disney File on the left and the Feature Film and Special Features discs on the right. The Disney File disc was the only disc that had images or color; the other two were plain gray with silver writing. They were packaged overlapping each other, which made taking them out and putting them back a bit of a hassle.
Disney Digital Copy:
This was a new feature from the LWW DVD's, and you now have the option of downloading the movie to your hard-drive for personal use or for transfer to an iPod or other portable movie player. I found it very easy to use...I just put the proper disc into my computer, followed the instructions, imputed the unique code that is required for access, and selected where I wanted the file to download. I received two files; one regular one and a small one for iPods and such. The large one ended up being 1.7 gigs, and downloaded fairly quickly. Obviously this file has it's limitations as it's protected, but it's nice to have it on my computer so I don't have to tote my DVD's around.
You do need a one-time Internet connection in order to verify your unique code, but other than that, the file acts like a regular video file, within reason.
- Commentary: Another funny and enjoyable commentary from the cast and crew of Prince Caspian. Whereas LWW had two commentaries, PC had only one, featuring Andrew Adamson, Ben Barnes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley. Due to the high number of people participating, the more quiet ones tended to be pushed in a crack; namely Ben and Skandar. But everyone was able to get in whatever comments they wanted, and it was a very good listen.
- Film: I thought the DVD quality was amazing. There were no visible errors or mistakes, even with the sound, which has been reported as being unbalanced enough to make the dialogue hard to hear. Keep in mind, though, that I watched the DVD on a normal DVD player with normal capabilities. But with just that, I was blown away by the crispness and clarity of all the shots. The coloring was beautiful and made every scene a joy to watch.
- Inside Narnia: The Adventure Begins: This was a general featurette that covered nearly all aspects of production, from beginning the films, to how the original four Pevensies have changed between movies. A very nice look into the production of the film.
- Sets Of Narnia: A Classic Comes To Life: Going through each set and location one by one, it shows the progress from book to film, and how they went about making a good transition. A nice touch was Douglas Gresham reading sections of Prince Caspian the book throughout the featurette, and interviewing different crew members.
- Big Movie Comes To A Small Town: This was a twenty minute segment featuring the town of Bovek in Slovenia, and the river Soca, where they filmed all of the river sequences in Prince Caspian.
- Previsualizing Narnia: This was a great featurette that explained the whole previsualization process from pre-production to post-production. The most exciting part for me, though, was at the end when they began to discuss The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and showed three exciting previz shots from that movie along with two pieces of concept art. In this day and age when sometimes it seems like VodT will never be made, it was such an encouragement and so exciting to see actual proof that this movie is being worked on.
- Talking Animals and Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia: A short little fluff featuring the cast and crew talking about the world of Narnia and their impressions of it and the different creatures that inhabit the land.
- Secrets of the Duel: From choreography to filming styles, this featurette covered nearly all the aspects of the Duel, a dramatic fighting sequence near the end of the film.
- Becoming Trumpkin: A little fluff on Peter Dinklage and how he came to be Trumpkin.
- Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik: A peek into a day in the life of Warwick Davis; following him from when he arrived on set early in the morning, till when he left. As Warwick is a genuinely funny and informative man, watching his take on what a day of filming is like was very interesting. It was one of my favorite featurettes on the entire DVD.
- The Bloopers of Narnia: Ah yes, the infamous blooper reel. This one featured a lot of mistakes and outtakes done by the cast and crew of Prince Caspian. From Anna's unprofessional yet hilarious reaction to kissing Ben to William's unseemly tumble down a flight of stairs, you'll find all the clips in here enjoyable to watch.
- Deleted Scenes: This was a new addition from the LWW DVD's, and it was fun being able to watch cut scenes that hadn't made it into the movie. All of the scenes were raw, which meant no CGI work and only rough post-visual effects done to insert objects like arrows, CGI animals and other. That was a distraction, but the shots that required no CGI were nice and in good quality.Among others, some of the deleted scenes featured here were The Apple Orchard, Training Archers and Picking Marshalls. A definite plus having these for viewing!
- Blond Cam: A short but cute little fluff featuring Skandar Keynes going around with a camera and filming all the blonds, with his own commentary in the background. Random, but fun!
- Toastie: Have you been just dying to find out the method behind the madness, or in this case, how the production's working title got it's name? Well, look no further! Here you'll learn everything you need to know about a little New Zealand sandwich called a Toastie , that apparently everyone loved so much that they nicknamed the movie after it. And all this time we thought they called the working title Toastie because in the book, Reepicheep mentions something about "toasted bread and cheese". :p
- Sibling Rivalry: Anna and Will argue over who really saves the day when Trumpkin is thrown overboard to drown by some Telmarines. Was it Anna's quick thinking and accurate archery, or was it Will's fast legs and superb swimming skills?
- Monster Cam: In this fluff, they put a small camera inside one of the costume heads worn by Shane Rangi, so you can see what the world looks like through the eyes (or the mouth, as the case may be) of a Minotaur.
- K.C. Hodenfield: This is a little tribute to the production's assistant director, K.C.
- Shane Rangi: This was another one of my favorite featurettes on the DVD. It features Shane Rangi, New Zealand stunt man and one of the principle stand-in actors for various characters. A very nice tribute to such a hard-working and dedicated man.
Overall, I was very happy with this DVD. The quality was amazing and I loved the special touches that they added throughout the special features that seemed to cater directly to the fans of Narnia.
One thing that puzzled me, however, was the content of the Special Features themselves. We received a very long documentary on a little town in Slovenia that they did a few weeks of filming in, yet fluffs featuring the technical aspects of Narnia, such as costumes, CGI, weaponry, and even some of the actors, were all but completely absent. I had thought that as the title character in the movie, and as someone who would be continuing his role for another two movies, Ben Barnes would receive a certain amount of attention in the special features, yet he's barely visible. Likewise, as someone who loves the costumes and the finer details of Narnia, I missed the fluffs that one comes to expect in movies like this, detailing all the work of the movie simply because they can.
In that respect, it was a bit of a disappointment, but I really couldn't stay unhappy for long. The features offered were more than enough to keep me entertained, and I loved how they put the effort in to getting the featurettes more personal by doing ones starring actors and their impressions of the film.
Note: Since the first release of this review, I've since learned that a second disc of extras was released in Japan, and contained the special features that I'd felt was missing from the US release, namely one on Ben Barnes and some on costumes and miniatures! I was very, very disappointed to learn that this extra disc was given to some regions but not to others. I wish Disney had made it available to everyone, or at least had given us in the US an option between it and the Digital File CD. I would much rather have the extras than a copy of the movie on my computer. Count me to be one unhappy fan!
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