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CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE: PRINCE CASPIAN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Some 1300 years Narnian time since their last visit, the kings and queens of the land discover that in their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct, Narnia has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz (Sergio Castellito). The four Pevensie children (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley) meet Narnia's rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), who has been forced into hiding as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne. With the help of a kindly dwarf (Peter Dinklage), courageous talking mouse Reepicheep (Eddie Izzard), the badger Trufflehunter (Ken Stott) and Black Dwarf, Nikabrik (Warwick Davis), the Narnians, led by the mighty knights Peter and Caspian, embark on a journey to find Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson), rescue Narnia from Miraz's tyrannical hold, and restore magic and glory to the land.

Review by Louise Keller:
Like the first of the franchise, the strength of this fantasy adventure lies in the juxtaposition of two separate worlds and our ability to view Narnia through the eyes of the four young protagonists. The characters are engaging, the special effects extravagantly impressive and the New Zealand and Eastern European settings stunning. Yes, Prince Caspian is terrific and there's plenty to enjoy, but someone needs to tell the filmmakers that length does not make a better film. Quite the contrary. In this case, the film's length has compromised its heart.

In the flash of an eye, we are taken (with the Pevensie children) from London's Strand tube station back to Narnia, where 1300 years have passed since their last visit and much has changed. 'Things never happen the same way twice,' Aslan the lion with the magnificent mane wisely says, as Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy once again find themselves swept into an adventure involving Prince Caspian's reclaiming of his throne. Ben Barnes is a suitable choice for the tall, dark, handsome and athletic Prince who is shepherded to safety from his scheming, ambitious uncle Miraz, powerfully portrayed by Sergio Castellitto. There are power struggles, large-scale battles and there's even a hint of romance between Caspian and Anna Popplewell's Susan, who has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Georgie Henley's Lucy is appealing as the youngest Pevensie: it is her innocence and ability to believe that allows her to see what the others do not.

The plot confuses at times but the carefully described reality of Narnia with its talking animals (the swashbuckling mouse voiced by Eddie Ezzard is cute), stately centaurs, dancing trees and little people (headed by the always interesting Peter Dinklage) has plenty of charm. Tilda Swinton's White Witch makes a striking cameo appearance behind a spectacular wall of glass and I liked the special effect involving water and a giant Neptune figure. The climactic battle scene is effective but goes on forever, and as the Pevensies' reinhabit their school uniforms and return to their London lives, the way is paved for yet another instalment. Let's hope the filmmakers take heed of the pitfalls encountered here.

Available on single and 2-disc limited edition DVD with an army of bonus features including never-before seen additional content.

Published November 27, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
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Mixed: 2

CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE: PRINCE CASPIAN: DVD (M)
(UK/US, 2008)

CAST: Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Sergio Castellitto, Warwick Davis, Shane Rangi,

VOICES: Liam Neeson, Eddie Izzard, Ken Stott

PRODUCER: Andrew Adamson, Mark Johnson, Perry Moore, Philip Steuer

DIRECTOR: Andrew Adamson

SCRIPT: Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (novel by C.S. Lewis)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Karl Walter Lindenlaub

EDITOR: Sim Evan-Jones

MUSIC: Harry Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Roger Ford

RUNNING TIME: 150 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 5, 2008

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: With stunning bonus features only available on Disney DVD, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN will also be released in a 2-disc limited edition with never-seen-before added content, making it the must-own DVD of the year!

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios

DVD RELEASE: November 27, 2008







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