DVD Release Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Based on one of C. S. Lewis’ classic and religiously symbolic novels in his Chronicles of Narnia series, the film, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, hit movie theatres in May of this year. Produced by Walt Disney Studios and Walden Media, directed by Andrew Adamson, and written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and Andrew Adamson, it will soon debut on DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def, as well as a special two-disc Collector’s Edition. Interviews and deleted scene extras are featured. Included is a special Disney File, a digital copy of the movie that can be viewed on a variety of portable devices. A release date of December 2, 2008 is anticipated for the United States and Canada.

The Chronicles of Narnia novels are considered classic children’s literature and also C. S. Lewis’ best known work. Lewis used traditional Christian themes and symbolism to enhance the messages of his stories with the help of some ideas from Greek and Roman mythology, as well as traditional British and Irish fairy tales.

casp3.jpgAs we sit down with our popcorn and prepare to become engrossed in another of C. S. Lewis’ brilliant creative visions and anticipate being drawn into this timeless fantasy coming to life, we may recall that about a year has passed — or so we think, since the English Pevensie children, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popperwell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) have magically passed through a wardrobe and into the mystical and wondrous land of Narnia and then back home again to their World War II era England in the novel and movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The film begins and we immediately witness the vivid imagery of the hurricane-like wind picking up, the train station the siblings were entering to return to their boarding school begins suddenly to crumble and, once again, without warning, the foursome is whisked away mystically to a magical scenic land.

Initially, the baffled children don’t have a clue as to where they may be, but begin to question whether they may be once again in Narnia, the land of talking animals, magical happenings, and good battling evil.

Looking around, they can sense the feelings of Narnia and they begin to discover fragments of what used to be the land they once ruled as kings and queens — only now it is in ruins, and rather than one year, 1,300 Narnia years have passed.

The Golden Age of Narnia has somehow come to an end. Narnia has become a savage place which is controlled by the Telmarines; the humans who banished the magical creatures of Narnia to the distant wilderness. The mighty lion, Aslan, has not been seen in a thousand years. The corrupt King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto) rules brutally over the land and is determined to ensure that his bloodline will remain in power and control. He plots to kill his own nephew, Prince Caspian so that his own son will be next on the throne.

casp6.jpgPrince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the young heir to the Telmarine throne, enters the scene and we soon learn that he was forced into hiding because of his evil uncle’s plot to kill him. Prince Caspian summoned the Pevensie children to Narnia by blowing Susan’s horn. Prince Caspian feels that the children are desperately needed to help defeat the evil Telmarines and King Miraz.

The foursome is then faced with a thrilling perilous adventure and an even greater test of their courage and faith this time around as they will ultimately help lead the exiled Narnians in an uprising. The siblings endure both physical and emotional battles. The supporting cast of the valiant dwarf, Trumpken, the swashbuckling mouse, Reepicheep, Aslan the lion, King Miraz, and the White Witch are extraordinary, heroic, scary, and impressive. Some of them bring their familiar personas from the first movie to this one.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was shot in New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic with the post production taking place in England. This epic and emotional film is enhanced with lovely settings with stunning visual effects and sound, costumes, CGI animation, and amazing creature make up. This film is considerably darker and more action packed than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and is rated PG because of the violence in the battle scenes.

casp2.jpgI recently had the distinct pleasure of interviewing two of the actors, Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) and William Moseley (Peter) by telephone to talk a bit about the making of the film as well as personal dreams and goals. Recounting playing the part of Peter, William Moseley noted that he has had to remind himself that “Peter isn’t William.” He said he has had to “Get myself out of the way of the character,” which he especially reminded himself during the battle scenes.

Moseley recalled the days when he was a child of eight years old and he would read a chapter of the series to his dad and then his dad would read to him. He grew up with the Chronicles of Narnia and said he later studied it in school in English literature and read the series all over again when he got the part. “It was a real dream come true to get the part,” he gleefully added.

For Ben Barnes doing this film has been “a journey of self discovery” he admitted candidly. “I was a massive Narnia fan as a kid.” He too had read the books and said he loved the stories. For him it was also “a dream come true” to get the part in the film. Barnes said it was also interesting getting to know the other actors who had been working together apart from him in the first of the Chronicles of Narnia series to be produced as a movie. He said since the film was shot chronologically, he didn’t get to know some of the other actors until later in the film when shooting the later scenes.

casp4.jpgMoseley expressed his pleasure in working with all of the people he has met along the way and spoke about days that were very long and filled with hard work but tempered with “jokes and fun to make the day go quicker.” His absolute highlight was to be with people who “were very kind” he said.

When Barnes was cast for the role of Prince Caspian, he was thrown immediately into horseback riding practice, fencing and stunt rehearsals, and dialect lessons. Besides the challenge of just getting up in the morning after long days of filming, Barnes found the greatest physical challenge to be a horse stunt “where I didn’t know I was going to do it until one or two weeks before the stunt. On a galloping horse, I had to jump on his back. I was really nervous, really scared. Luckily, I managed and got up on the horse and it all worked out.”

Barnes, who will start filming soon for the next film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is scheduled for release on May 7, 2010, has said, “Who wants to rest? I want to make films, so we’ll see what’s on the horizon.”

casp5.jpgMoseley said that The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian was his favorite of all seven books in the series. In asking Moseley what his life will be like for him after Narnia, since he won’t be in the next film, he said he hopes, of course, to continue acting with the added hope of directing one day.

“I am inspired by every genre of film on every level. I absolutely love acting; it’s my passion. It’s not often that your work is what you love. I only hope I can keep going. It takes my breath away,” Moseley said.

Perhaps that is just what this film will do for you and your family — take your breath away! I brought my teen-aged daughter, Mary-Catherine to the movie earlier this year and we were thoroughly entertained. I plan to purchase the DVD with its added features for us to delight in again as a family.

By

A Catholic wife, mother of five, award-winning journalist, best-selling author, photographer, lover of nature and a lay Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa's Order).

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  • http://catholichawk.com PrairieHawk

    It’s hard to say “no” to Narnia, that’s for sure. It is a blessing that our culture has been able to produce such beautiful editions of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books in recent years. These movies have given hope to millions, and who knows what they have stirred in people’s hearts? They are our allies in the work of evangelization.

  • daughterofeve

    I’m glad they kept Aslan the same as He is in the books. I really hope they continue to do so in the next movie “The Dawn Treader”
    I love both the movies and the books.

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