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The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian: 2-Disc Collector's Edition

01/05/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian in the USA - or Buy The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian in the UK

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pub: Disney BUA0090201. 2 DVDs 144 minute film with extras, Price: about 6.00 (UK) if you shop around. Stars: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Mosely, Anna Popplewell and Ben Barnes.

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If you held off buying the 'Prince Caspian' DVD until now, you should have been able to figure out you could buy the associated books with it at much less than the original retail price combined together. For those of us who are budget conscious this is probably the only way to afford them all.

In many respects, 'Prince Caspian' was always going to be one of the more darker Narnia books to film. Director Andrew Adamson certainly doesn't hold back from this and adding an extra battle at the castle is a stark reminder that war has casualties on all sides.

CS Lewis' book was used more as a template with a little more dimensionality with the relationships between the four Pevensie children and potential rivalry between Peter and Caspian. The blending together does avoid Trumpkin having to tell the Pevensies what's been going on but doesn't really get around what the dwarf was doing being caught before meeting Caspian himself and knowing there were plans afoot.

Maybe I'm jumping ahead here. Mostly cos I hope most of you read the Narnia books when young. For those who didn't, it is centuries since the Pevensies hunting the white stag and return to our reality and, a year later, they are adjusting to life around World War Two period no longer being Narnian royalty.

They are drawn back to Narnia when Caspian, escaping from his uncle Miraz, blows Susan's enchanted horn. However, they appear in the ruins of Cair Paravail, and it isn't until they rescue Trumpkin that they discover the Telmarines have over-ridden Narnia and all the inhabitants are hiding in the forest. Finally, after meeting with Caspian and the forest dwellers, they attack Miraz' castle before going back to the book plot where Peter goes one-to-one with Miraz himself. Aslan plays an even more subsidiary role even than the book version but his presence is felt when he's there.

The body count in this film is extra-ordinary high with the Pevensies contributing a lot of it themselves. Susan has an endless supply of arrows and uses them as weapons even without shooting them her bow. Peter, Edmund and Caspian rely more on the tradition swords. There are many varieties of Narnians here as well although mostly male.

There are only a couple female centaurs and even they remain on the sidelines. There's a famous line in the books where Aslan explains to Lucy that wars aren't for women but it does beggar the question as to where they've all gone? Then again, maybe the same could be said of the Telmarines as we only see Miraz' wife.

Having said all of that, the film of 'Prince Caspian' holds together very well and gives high hopes for the third in preparation right now.

The extras are plentiful and delightful It's interesting hearing how Adamson decided to omit some scenes simply because it messed with pace and explained better elsewhere without destroying the essence of the story. As the scenes show reduced special effects, it also provides an insight into what things looked like without all the extra detail.

Saying that, these extras do show the amount of work that was done in creating the film and you have to respect all of that incredible effort. Having read the two making of books - see elsewhere on site for the reviews of 'The Crafting Of Narnia' by Weta Workshop and 'The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion' by Ernie Malik - first, I have to say they and these extras complement each other.

There were two odd things that might have people checking the DVD settings when there are several minutes of the Slovians talking in their native language with no sub-titles and another where English speakers were given sub-titles when their accents weren't that broad.

'Prince Caspian' gets better with repeat viewings which in my mind tends to suggest that you don't absorb it all in one sitting. Can't wait for 'Voyage Of The Dawn Treader'.

GF Willmetts

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