The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney/Walden Media - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 149 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese/Chinese/Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, Bahasa, Malay
Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes. William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Ben Barnes, Warwick Davis, Peter Dinklage
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Written by: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, and Stephen Mc Feely - Based upon the book by C.S. Lewis
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 2, 2008
"A new age has begun"
The magical world of C.S. Lewis' beloved fantasy comes to life once again in Prince Caspian, the second installment of The Chronicles Of Narnia series. Join Peter, Susan, Edmund Lucy, the mighty and majestic Aslan, friendly new Narnian creatures and Prince Caspian as they lead the Narnians on a remarkable journey to restore peace and glory to their enchanted land. Continuing the adventure of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe with more magic and a brand-new hero, Prince Caspian is a triumph of imagination, courage, love, joy and humor your whole family will want to watch again and again.
I am a fan of the first Chronicles of Narnia film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and looked forward to seeing this sequel when it was released this summer. Unfortunately its release was overshadowed by several other block buster films and I never got around to catching it theatrically. The story picks up several years after the four Pevensie children left Narnia and resumed their lives in England. From the short snippet shown of their lives back “home”, they seem to be having a hard time adjusting to life outside of the Narnian realm. Meanwhile life in Narnia is very different. 1,300 years have passed since the 4 royal children left and things are rather tumultuous. The magic of Narnia and its mythical creatures and inhabitants has all but vanished. The results of war and the subsequent take over by a group of humans known as Telmarines. They are led by a rather brutal and cruel tyrant known as Miraz who will stop at nothing to claim the throne for his own. The rightful heir to the throne is young Prince Caspian, who quickly finds out that betrayal will lead him deep into the now legendary world of Narnia where he will discover that what he believed to myths and prophecy is not only real but may be his only means of claiming his kingdom. Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan are unknowingly and abruptly returned to Narina after being “summoned” inadvertently by Prince Caspian. Their joy upon their return is short lived after they come to realize that the world and people they knew no longer exists. They embark on a journey to restore the magic and glory to Narnia by aligning themselves with Prince Caspian which will throw them in direct conflict with Miraz and his minions.
I enjoyed Prince Caspian and thought that it gave the four Penvensie characters the chance to test their mettle. This was especially true in Edmund’s case and I found his character to be quite different and more likeable. Like the first film there were aspects to the story that had serious consequences for some of the characters. I think that the first film better defined the lines between good and evil. The White Witch was a force to be reckoned and her presence left no doubt as to whom the bad guy was. While I think that Miraz was certainly capable of holding his own, he just wasn’t the menacing and terrorizing force that she was. As the story unfolds other things transpire that further water down the focus on why and who is responsible for the conflict. Aside from Trumpkin and Reepicheep (the sword yielding mouse) I didn’t find the new Narnian creatures to be all that interesting. The first film’s character base was not only more diverse but they had more personality. The film dragged just a little during the second act but recovered nicely in the third. The action based sequences and special effects were excellent. In the end I felt that I enjoyed the first film just a little more. I can’t say that I would rate this one lower but I think that the first film was more appealing for me.
The rating is for epic battle action and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 mbps.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on Blu-ray offers reference audio/video quality and Prince Caspian is no different. This is a near flawless video presentation that delivers exquisite high level detail and rich, deep, image penetrating colors that look gorgeous in high definition. The video has incredible depth and definitive acuity regardless of the camera’s perspective. Fine details like the speckles of dirt and grime on the surfaces of swords, shields and armor was notable. Wide angle shots of the Telmarine castle revealed the varied and rough texture of the stone and wooden drawbridge. The beautiful landscapes where the on location shooting was held looked stunning. Fleshtones were realistically rendered with superb definition and complexional diversity. Blacks were appreciably deep and just shy of the ink like levels of the best high definition transfers I have seen. Shadow detail was excellent which readily conveyed strong three dimensional depth of field during the many scenes shot in darkened areas and low lighting. The scene where Lucy and Susan are laying in the woods near the campfire looking up at the night sky is a fine example. The varying gradational stages visible in the dark trees, the sky, and the surrounding area, as it visually stepped away from the firelight was discernible. Another example is when Peter, Susan and Caspian enter the darkened quarters of the professor during the raid on the castle. The structure and detail visible in the bookcases, furniture and ceiling within the confines of the room gave the scene a distinguishable sense of space. Contrast and brightness are tightly aligned so that dark scenes have strong dynamic range and bright scenes and colors are vivid and visually engaging. This is a spotless video presentation that looked simply marvelous.
I had high expectations for this soundtrack and the lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio mix didn’t disappoint. I was treated to an impeccably detailed, powerfully dynamic, and demonstrative surround sound experience. Multi-layered sound effects were appropriately placed within the soundfield so that their purpose was definable yet never overstated. The front and rear soundstages were integrated with precision which enabled a seamless transfer of panning and directional sounds. Dialogue was supremely articulated with excellent focus, clarity and descriptive intonation. The extended dynamic range of the recording coupled with the inherent high resolution audio encoding rendered the bombastic sounds of battle with superlative high quality sonic detail and authoritative bass transients that are deep, powerful and timber rattling. I found its ability to render fine detail, and subtle nuance to be excellent as well. As viewers I think we sometimes miss some of the intricacies that go into the design of soundtracks such as this. For example, I was able to hear the soft yet discernible rubbing sound made by badger’s fur as he moved about in his den while he and Nikabrik discussed what to do with Prince Caspian. Or the real realistic reproduction of the forest wind as it moves through the trees and the rustling of the foliage as Caspian, Badger and Nikabrik attempt to evade the Telmarine soldiers in the woods. When it came down to it the strength of this demonstration worthy soundtrack is in the large battle sequences. The raid on the Telmarin castle and the final standoff at the tomb delivered an incredibly three dimensional, immersive, aurally stimulating soundscape that was rich in clarity, dynamically charged and enhanced by deep, omnipotent bass response. I recommend that you turn this one up, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Andrew Adamson and actors Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Mosley and Anna Popplewell
- (HD) Circle-vision interactive: Creating the raid – A 360 degree behind the scene look at the complex sequence as it is broken down into a multi-segmented feature that can be viewed at once or separately via a rotating menu
- (HD) Disney BD-Previews
- BD-Live access
Behind the Magic:
- (HD) Inside Narnia: The adventure returns - Featurette
- (HD) Sets of Narnia: A classic comes to life - Featurette
- (HD) Big movie comes to small town - Documentary
- (HD) Previsualizing Narnia - Featurette
- (HD) Talking animals and walking trees: The magical world of Narnia - Featurette
- (HD) 10 Deleted scenes with optional introduction by Andrew Adamson
- (HD) The bloopers of Narnia
- (HD) Secrets of the duel - Featurette
- (HD) Becoming Trumpkin - Featurette
- (HD) Warwick Davis: The man behind Nikabrik - Featurette
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device
The chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an epic style story that is steeped in Disney adventure film tradition. Just like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe it is a rewarding tale about the magical realm of Narnia and the four young siblings who must once again rise to the occasion to protect it against evil. It didn’t have quite the appeal for me that the original did but it offers a good story, excellent special effects and plenty of action. Disney has been very consistent in the quality of their new Blu-ray Disc releases and this is one of their best. It features superlative audio and video quality as well as a comprehensive set of bonus supplements which includes Blu-ray Disc exclusive features. It has been added to my list of highly recommended Blu-ray Discs. Enjoy!
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