Detailed Review: Prince Caspian DVD/Blu-ray
NarniaWebber ‘Griffle’ has posted an exaustive review of the Prince Caspian DVD and Blu-ray Disc!
A few highlights:
1) A description of the controversial “Crossbow” deleted scene with Caspian and Susan.
2) Douglas Gresham talks about the sets, and reads C.S. Lewis’ descriptions from the book.
3) One feature on Disc 2 includes pre-visualization of shots from Voyage of the Dawn Treader!
Read on for info on all that and more…
BD Picture Quality: 10/10!
DVD Picture Quality: Unavailable
BD Audio Quality: 8/10
DVD Audio Quality: 8/10 (Based on grades set for standard definition sound)
BD Extras: 9/10
DVD Extras: 7/10
— DISC 1 —
The picture quality on the Blu-ray Disc (BD) release is nothing short of perfect. I don’t really feel like I have to say anything else. I can’t really review the picture quality of the DVD as all my DVD players have an up-scaling function that makes it look better than it really is. The picture quality on the BD is among the best I’ve seen though. It’s right up there with Speed Racer and the HD DVD of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
I’m sorry to say that the dialogue problem reported on in the Swedish reviews I translated is a real problem both on the DVD and on the BD. Dialogue is really hard to hear in a lot of scenes, especially when it comes to battle scenes. I found that it could be remedied by turning up the volume a bit though, and as we’ve all seen the film a couple of times now, we all know when to turn the volume up and when to lower it again.
Anyway, the DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio track on the BD has great surround sound and the music sounds really powerful as it envelopes you. It’s not particularly hard to dream yourself away to Narnia. My Blu-ray player has all the currently available decoders onboard, however I only have a 5.1 setup of speakers, so I can’t really review the sound based on the 7.1 track. Don’t know if it’s downscaled to DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio or what, but it sounds really, really good and it’s definitely DTS HD sound whatever the case may be.
Whatever you think of the dialogue problems it is fixable with the use of your remote. I usually adjust the volume with the remote anyway, so this wasn’t that much of a problem at all for me. Maybe it’s a bigger problem for you, maybe it’s not.
The first disc of the DVD set opens with these trailers:
* Disney: “Movies… Magic… More….” trailer
* Disney Blu-ray trailer
* Trailer for the platinum edition release of Pinocchio
* Trailer for Bolt
* Trailer for College Road Trip
Audio Commentary: Adamson, Ben, Will, Anna, Skandar, and Georgie
This is one of the best extras of the set. I don’t wanna ruin it all for you. But I’m gonna give you a taste of what you’ll find here: Georgie says something like “This is the train station fight from the book,…is it in the book?” and Skandar and Andrew says “no”, “no”. William thinks the petals in the dryad scenes are real. LOL
It bothers me a bit that whenever Georgie says something it’s like no one is listening, and if they are they say something quick and then changes the subject. Lots of changing of subjects when Georgie says something. Poor Georgie. I don’t think they do it on purpose though…
At the end Will kind of jokingly says that “we’ll be back for The Last Battle.”
It’s not at all that giggly that the reviewers of DVDForum.nu think it is. It’s really charming, funny and full of anecdotes. You really feel that the children are comfortable around each other, like as if they were siblings in real life.
Circle Vision (Blu-ray exclusive)
If you access the Circle Vision feature on the Blu-ray Disc, you’ll first be taken to a menu where you can choose between four Circle Vision photos and six identical clips from the Night Raid Fight each with an Audio Commentary.
* “Telmarine Casualty”
* “On The Scaffolds”
* “Gateway Alley”
* “Courtyard Nightshift”
Castle Raid Fight Clips With Audio Commentary:
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Director Andrew Adamson (06:47)
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Special Makeup And Creatures Howard Berger (06:47)
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Visual Effects Supervisor Dean Wright (06:47)
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Stunt & Fight Coordinator Allan Poppleton (06:47)
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Producer Mark Johnson (06:47)
* Castle Raid Fight – Audio Commentary By Costume Designer Isis Mussenden (06:47)
Howard Berger says he thinks of Skandar as his surrogate son, Isis Mussenden does her whole commentary with a half-whispery voice (maybe that’s how she talks), Mark Johnson reveals that the gate held up by Asterius was originally intended to have spikes at the bottom of it (that would’ve been quite gruesome), Allan Poppleton lets us know just how much work the stunt team put into the sequence, Andrew Adamson introduces himself as director but ends up doubling for Dean Wright who has his own commentary. Lots of VFX talk in other words. I’m not complaining.
The Circle Vision photos are 360 degree photos with little clickable circles spread out all over them.
Some of these circles have a stylized lion’s head design in them and take you to photo montages with commentary by the crewmembers above, or causes pop-up boxes to appear with interesting facts about the production. The most interesting of the circles are the ones with video playing in them though.
Altogether, the feature has approximately an hour worth of behind-the-scenes video material having to do with the creation of the Battle Raid Fight Sequence. (Not including the Commentary clips or the Photo Montages)
Circle Vision Interactive – Index:
* Birth Of A Sequence (02:44)
* Designing The Castle (01:57)
* Castle Connectivity (02:16)
* Preproduction Meeting (01:19)
* Ben’s Stunt Training (01:28)
* Archery Training (01:06)
* The Telmarine Dress Rehearsal (02:52)
* High Falls (03:13)
* Anna’s Stunt Stairs (01:05)
* Prepping The Creatures (02:05)
* Atmospheries (01:16)
* Background Fights (00:53)
* Anna’s Stunt (01:42)
* Digital Arrows (01:06)
* Creature Discomforts (02:35)
* Shane Range Hits The Gate (01:47)
* Faun Stunts (00:50)
* William Is A Quick Learner (00:58)
* Anna’s Digital Double (01:49)
* Rolling On Balls (01:36)
* Witness Cameras (00:47)
* William’s Horse Stunt (01:16)
* The Crew Becomes Nocturnal (02:27)
* One Big Happy Department (02:47)
* Post-Vis (00:57)
* 3D Camera Moves (03:11)
* Added CG Characters (01:54)
* Set Extensions (01:22)
* Flying Gryphons (00:55)
* The Castle Miniature (01:45)
* Harry Gregson-Williams (01:25)
* The Ultimate Miniature Shot (01:55)
* The Smoke Pass (01:02)
* The Landing Pad (01:19)
* Streamlining Post-production (02:22)
Of these short video clips, the last 11 all having to do with post-production, are the most interesting. At least to me. There are three clips having to do with miniatures (The Castle Miniature, The Ultimate Miniature Shot & The Landing Pad) that alone make it worth buying the BD for. Sure, they’re short, but at least you get to see the beautiful castle miniatures up close.
I want to point out that it’s not like you can spin the 360 degree photos around just by clicking left or right on your remote. You have to first highlight the arrows located at the left or right edge of the screen and then click on the arrow to get the view to turn.
— DISC 2 —
All extras on both discs of the Blu-ray release are presented in high definition.
The second disc of the DVD set opens with these trailers:
* The Cheetah Girls – One World (Disney Channel Original Movie)
* Trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahua
* Teaser Trailer for Walt Disney Pictures all new traditionally animated film The Princess and the Frog, coming to theaters 2010
Inside Narnia: The Adventure Returns (34:38)
EPK style fluff piece that manages to be informative yet boring at the same time and never gets in-depth with anything. It’s all over the place. Lots of talk about the bar having been raised for PC, Andrew is compared to the general of an Army, lots of fawning for Andrew, Andrew lets us know he thinks they’ve re-invented the wheel with Aslan for PC. Personally I think Aslan in PC looks a lot worse than he does in LWW. I’d compare Aslan in PC to the wolves in the scene where fox is turned to stone in LWW.
This featurette briefly covers: tick checks, sand flies, the scale of the production, the international cast, bad weather & waiting for the sun to come out, the span of different age groups for the creatures, the makeup, Andrew’s CG background, CGI, locations, sets, miniatures, Reepicheep, Trufflehunter, Shane Rangi, bonds, Georgie and loss of imagination, stunts, Susan in battle & Goodbyes.
* The answer to the question “Who did you miss the most Georgie?” Anna and Will screaming “Pick me! Pick me!” in the background. You have to watch it for the answer.
* We learn that Pierfrancesco Favino (Glozelle) knows how to speak several languages used by the cast and helped translate for Andrew.
* We get to know that some of the scenes with the CG Aslan where finished in the last minute. (Which IMO sadly shows)
* We learn that Anna Popplewell specifically asked Andrew to include more fighting for Susan in PC than she had in LWW.
Sets of Narnia: A Classic Comes to Life (23:35)
A lot better and more interesting than the Inside Narnia featurette. This one has both Roger Ford and Douglas Gresham discussing the locations and sets. You can’t go wrong with these guys! Roger shows location/set photographs to Gresham and they talk about each set. Gresham reads lines from the book describing the locations/sets. Changes between the book and the film are discussed. Concept art images of the sets are shown in-between the segments.
* The set decorator discussing the fact that she actually looked into if it was possible to hire a “standard” treasure for the treasure chamber scene. There wasn’t enough, so they hired pieces, made molds from them and ended up making around 2500 pieces of treasure.
* Roger thinks Aslan’s How is a strange name for the location.
* They used the same mold for the stone table that they used for LWW.
* Anna thinks people will believe the Bovec river water is CG as it looks so beautiful.
Big Movies Come to a Small Town (23:13)
“The newest development that I have heard about is that a big movie will be shot in Bovec. The lead actress will be the Soca river.” – Darinka Kravanja, 96 years old.
“Big Movies Comes to a Small Town” is the best of all the featurettes and it covers the productions shoot of the Bridge/River of Beruna sequences shot in Bovec, Slovenia. The title of the featurette is very fitting as that’s what happens; a crew of 1200 people move to a small town with a total population of 1600. Granted, everything can’t go as planned…
As the crew invades the towns restaurants during the first night the restaurants suddenly find they’re out of food to serve…
“Accommodation is science-fiction.” – Vanja Sepec, Accommodations Coordinator
‘Big Movies Comes to a Small Town’ has interviews with the towns oldest inhabitant, the towns mayor, the location manager, the line producer of Propeler films (logistics for the film), people responsible for nature conservation, representatives from Primorje Group (responsible for the building of the bridge), director Andrew Adamson and Production Designer Roger Ford to name a few.
“I always feel slightly worried when we take over small towns cause’ I’m sure that not everyone in a small town wants a huge movie crew coming in sort of making a noise and disturbing things.” – Anna Popplewell
The featurette can easily be compared to ‘According To Plan: The Harrowing and True Story of Dead Man’s Chest,’ an hour long documentary found of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest DVD, as it has the same feel to it.
* 900 crew
* 300 extras
* 100 trucks
* 370 vehicles
* 40-50 permissions needed to shoot at the location.
* A promise to help re-direct the river after damage created by a recent landslide.
* Crew accommodations spread out across a 70-80 kilometre area. 28 villages, 95 different apartments.
* Sim Evan-Jones (A.C.E.) editing the film in a fire station, in the same room as a pool table.
* Flooding of the river nearly causes it to take the bridge with it.
* Skandar tries out “canyoning” (?), floating/falling down a small waterfall in what looks like a water-tight sleeping bag. He has his helmet on of course. 😉
* Andrew gets a painting of the river area from the mayor and the mayor gets one of the Telmarines masks (+ helmet), which has been signed. I wouldn’t mind having one of those myself. 😉
Previsualizing Narnia (10:03)
Covers the Pre-Viz process for PC. Briefly touches upon Storyboards. You get to see Pre-Viz sequences for the battle, the White Witch scene, the Night Raid. Something called “Post-Viz” is discussed. Post-Viz is when you take all the Pre-Viz elements you’ve already done and composite them into live-action shots creating a rough version of the finished result. Pre-Viz for LWW is compared to the much more detailed Pre-Viz for PC.
“The thing that you can get with Pre-Viz is…ah…timing…there is also…you know… an accuracy to the geometry that down the road becomes technical data that can drive camera systems.” – Rpin Suwannath (Pre-Visualization Supervisor)
“Even in the outline of the script the Raid was listed as being developed in Pre-Viz.” – Rpin Sunwannath (Pre-Visualization Supervisor)
Interviews with Michael Makara (Lead Pre-Visualization Artist), Rpin Sunwannath (Pre-Visualization Supervisor), Federico D’Alessandro (Storyboard Artist), Josh Campbell (Film Editor), Sim Evan-Jones (A.C.E., Editor), Dean Wright (Visual Effects Supervisor),
* The Pre-Viz team realizes that they’ve made the end battle for PC look almost exactly like the battle in LWW.
* Dawn Treader Pre-Viz is discussed. Brief glimpses of two sequences for Dawn Treader are shown. The first shows the shadow of a dragon gliding over water, the other shows the sea-serpent bursting out of the water, attacking the camera.
“There are sequences in Dawn Treader where we’re like how are we gonna do this because it just so big, so epic…” – Federico D’Alessandro (Storyboard Artist)
“It’s pretty fantastic that before a single frame is shot on Dawn Treader, we’ll be able to watch the entire movie” – Michael Makara (Lead Pre-Visualization Artist)
Talking Animals & Walking Trees: The Magical World of Narnia (4:43)
Extremely short and shallow featurette about the creatures and magic of Narnia.
Interviews with William Moseley (Peter Pevensie), Mark Johnson (Producer), Isis Mussenden (Costume Designer), Dean Wright (Visual Effects Supervisor), Eddie Izzard (Voice of Reepicheep), Anna Popplewell (Susan Pevensie) & Richard Taylor (Specialty Wardrobe, Armour & Weapons).
* Dean Wright tells us that he brought the stuffed beavers used for LWW to the wedding of K.C. Hodenfield (Fist Assistant Director) and Hair stylist Roxy (can’t find any more info on her, but she worked on LWW).
* Mark Johnson and Isis Mussenden get all emotional and talks about the ecological statement in PC.
“…Kids need to get back in touch with nature” – Isis Mussenden.
Deleted Scenes (11:17)
10 deleted scenes are offered here (in HD if you get the Blu-ray). You have the option to view them with or without Audio Introduction by Andrew Adamson. There’s also a Play All function.
1. “Escape” – A longer version of Caspian’s escape from his room. We see Glozelle turning around looking straight at the wardrobe. He then opens it to find…clothes. This also has more of Caspian and Cornelius sneaking around the corridors of the castle.
2. “Apple Orchard” – The Pevensies are walking up the slope leading to the Cair Paravel ruins as they pass some apple trees. Peter picks one and hands it to Lucy. They talk about their sandwiches and Peter says he left his in his bag, that he left at the train station, that he left in England. This is a longer version of the scene featured in the PC video game. Might be a different take of what’s in the game as well, haven’t had the chance to compare.
3. “From the Balcony” – A longer version of Miraz and Prunaprismia on the balcony. Prunaprismia asks Miraz where Caspian is. This is from a different take as Sergio manages to not have the fake baby touch his fake beard. In the movie it does, and it makes it quite apparent that the beard is fake.
4. “Dryad” – The Pevensies and Trumpkin is walking in a forest area not in the film and spot a dying dryad. It tries to manifest itself but don’t have the strength and falls apart. The dryad is unfinished CG, might be Post-Viz work.
5. “Aslan’s How” – A really short scene showing the kids, Trumpkin, Trufflehunter and Glenstorm at the edge of the forest near Aslan’s How. Glenstorm tells of the history of Aslan’s How. Ends with an unfinished effects shot of centaurs walking across the field.
6. “Training Archers” – This scene shows Susan training a group of dwarfs, fauns and a satyr (all in blue pants) how to use a bow and arrow. They’re quite bad at it so she says “…Rome wasn’t built in a day” and they get confused as they haven’t heard the expression before. Caspian arrives to show off and impress Susan, but she picks a target he can’t hit; a pine cone. He misses and she shows him how to do it. They spot the Telmarine soldier. There’s some light flirtation here, but nothing more serious than what’s in the film. In the commentary Andrew says he shot this scene although he already knew that he wasn’t going to use it, so he kept the fact that he was shooting a replacement scene at the same time hidden from Ben and Anna. By the time he shot this he had already picked up on the fact that the whole love story didn’t work and that it wasn’t something that the fans appreciated.
7. “Leaving For the Raid” – Fauns, satyrs & minotaurs are slowly walking down the field in front of Aslan’s How in the sunset. Centaurs are still at the site of the duel with unfinished FX applied to their below waist area. Glenstorm and his wife bow their heads against one another, saying farewell. She tells him to look after their sons. Lucy gives Peter the eye and heads back towards the How. A nice scene actually.
8. “Breaking in” – Susan and Trumpkin climb down the rope leading to Cornelius’ room. Trumpkin almost falls, but Susan grabs him by the beard; they walk inside.
9. “The Nursery” – Shows how Susan and Peter ended up in Miraz’s room. As they pass through the nursery they walk up to the baby lying in the cradle. Peter asks “Where did that come from?” and Susan replies “Mum never had that talk with you?”
10. “Picking Marshalls” – Peter and Caspian have a nice talk about the future. Peter admits he’s thinking about a career in medicine. Bulgy Bear reminds Peter that he has to pick his “Marshalls at the list”. Trumpkin tells Peter to not pick Bulgy Bear as he will just suck his paws. Reepicheep then offers to do the job. Peter tells him a lot of humans are afraid of mice and that it would be unfair to Miraz . Bulgy Bear ends up being one of the chosen ones, but Peter reminds him that he has to remember not to suck his paws. Trumpkin: “Oh! He’s doing it right now!” Peter: “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Caspian: “Are you sure you are?” Both Reepicheep and Bulgy Bear are Post-Viz created creatures.
Listening to the commentary, you get the feeling that there’s more scenes that were cut but that weren’t included on the DVD/BD.
The Bloopers of Narnia (3:04)
Three short minutes of people falling, horses falling and of creatures falling. Not much else is offered here. There are a few half-funny moments but overall this is a pretty disappointing feature.
Secrets of the Duel (6:41)
Details of the armour and weapons, polishing of the armour and weapons, dress rehearsals & camera techniques.
Interviews with Andrew Adamson (Director), Roger Ford (Production Designer), Richard Taylor (Specialty Wardrobe, Armour & Weapons), Rob Gilles (Key Armour/Weapons Standby), Andrea Wood (Key Costumer), William Moseley (Peter Pevensie), Allan Poppleton (Stunt & Fight Coordinator), Karl Walter Lindenlaub (ASC, BVK, Director of Photography)
* Allan Poppleton is the right size to double for Sergio so he is Miraz in some shots of the Duel.
* An Iconix camera is built into a stunt shield for claustrophobic action shots.
Not very in-depth but still quite interesting. Maybe they could’ve made it a bit longer?
Becoming Trumpkin (4:46)
When Mark Johnson calls Peter Dinklage’s manager to asks if he’d be available and interested, the reply was “Is he available? Is he interested? Absolutely! In fact, he’s still wondering why you didn’t hire him for The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe”.
We get to see Peter getting covered in latex (all sorts of materials) for the making of his makeup appliances (noses, ears, beards, moustaches)
Interviews with Andrew Adamson (Director), Peter Dinklage (Trumpkin), Howard Berger (Special Makeup & Creature Design), Anna Popplewell (Susan Pevensie)
This is all too short and it has too little of Peter Dinklage in it.
Warwick Davis: The Man Behind Nikabrik (11:11)
This is one of the absolute best features. We get to follow Warwick for a day:
* 4:37 am – 1 hour awake – Puts on the costume, off to breakfast.
* 5:30 am – 2 hours awake – Makeup (approx. 2 hours)
* 5:45 am – facework.
* 6:45 am – almost done.
* 7:30 am – ready for rehearsal
* 7:45 am – 4.25 hours awake – Arrival at Fern Forest Set (Czech Republic)
* 8:15 am – still rehearsing fern forest scenes.
* 8:45 am – back to makeup where the beard is applied.´
* 9:30 am – makeup is done, Warwick is asleep
* 10:00 am – on set.
* 12:15 am – “makeup still looking good, yeah?”
* 1:30 pm – Warwick is going to lunch, moustache is removed so he can eat comfortably.
* 1:45 pm – 10.25 hours awake – Lunch
* 2:15 pm – Post lunch check; makeup has to be fixed after lunch.
* 6:30 pm – 15 hours awake – Been waiting for hours.
* 6:45 pm – makeup removal is begun
* 7:30 pm – leaving set, going home.
Interviews with Warwick Davis (Nikabrik), Sarah Rubano (Makeup) and Andrew Adamson (Director) & Ben Barnes.
* The prosthetic nose applied to Warwick’s face is based on the nose of Howard Berger.
* Someone asks Warwick if he got his shoes from costume and he replies that they are his own shoes so he got them from…his wife.
* Warwick’s record for the longest day is 17 hours!
* At the end of the day he manages to get a prosthetic ear to stick to the mirror.
This is all fun and really interesting, it’s a shame there’s not more of this.
Easter Egg: Shane Rangi (7:21)
This is a great little easter egg. Shane Rangi is one of my big heroes and here we get to see him play 6 different characters:
* Wild Bear
* Bulgy Bear
* Dead Red Haired Minotaur
Shane is so cool and never complains he’s superman! All he says is “Sweet as..” This is one of the best special features on the disc and it’s hidden. What’s up with that?
Easter Egg: Skandar Keynes – Blonde Cam (2:17)
The second best of the easter eggs after the Shane Rangi feature. This is so funny I laughed out loud through most of it. Andrew asks Skandar towards the end of it if he during any part of the shoot had read the script and Skandar replies that yes he has…once!
Easter Egg: Sibling Rivalry (0:49)
William and Anna have a fight about who saves Trumpkin. Georgie lets us know who she thinks saves him. Short but fun easter egg.
Easter Egg: KC – First Assistant Director (01:44)
A bit more info on who KC is and what he does. Lots of responsibility sums it up.
Easter Egg: Monster Cam (00:58)
A camera is placed inside the mouth of a minotaur suit (?). Sort of a hidden camera thing without a point. Slightly funny.
Easter Egg: Toastie (01:15)
This short easter egg is all about Toast. Ok…
— BOTTOM LINE —
Overall, I think they’ve done a pretty good job with both the Blu-ray Disc and the DVD. I’m more than satisfied. If you have a Blu-ray player or if you’re thinking about getting one, there’s no discussion about the fact that the Blu-ray release is vastly superior to the DVD both when it comes to picture and sound,…and extras for that matter. The Circle Vision Interactive feature is really cool and you can easily spend hours with it. That is if it doesn’t stop working as it has done twice for me now.
If you don’t have a Blu-ray player, go for the 2-Disc or 3-Disc set; you’ll have lots of fun with it, and the commentary is worth the money spent on it alone.
Huge thanks to Griffle for writing this review and providing pictures! The Prince Caspian DVD/Blu-ray releases November 17 in the UK and December 2 in the United States.