The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian | 2008
The four Pevensie children find themselves transported back to Narnia to aid the struggle of Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) against his corrupt uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto). Once again, New Zealand is mixed with eastern Europe to provide the landscapes of the fantastic country, though this time there’s more of Europe.
Sets were built at the famous Barrandov Studios, in the Prague suburb of Hlubocepy, including the ‘Dancing Lawn’ (where Caspian meets the varied Narnian creatures) and the interior of Aslan's ‘How’ (the hollow mound containing the broken stone table).
Director Andrew Adamson also opted to have King Miraz’s imposing castle set built outdoors at Barrandov, feeling he’d maybe relied a little too much on digital settings for The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
Pierrefonds itself is no stranger to big and small screens, having appeared in the 1998 version of The Man in the Iron Mask, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Les Visiteurs, Luc Besson’s Joan of Arc, and also as ‘Camelot’ in the popular BBC TV series Merlin.
The city of Prague stands in for wartime ‘London’, with Ulice 17. listopadu alongside the Rudolfinum transformed into ‘Whitehall’ by the digital addition of Nelson’s Column in the background. Taking liberties with geography, the eastern elevation of the Rudolfinum itself became the entrance to ‘Strand’ underground station. The concert hall’s more familiar southern frontage was seen as a ‘London’ club in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and as the exterior of the estates Theatre in Rob Cohen's XXX.
There’s no wardrobe this time around, so the children are transported to Narnia from the tube station platform, as the curve of the tunnel morphs into the natural rock arch of Cathedral Cove, near Hahei on the east side of the Coromandel Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.
Paradise, which was seen in the previous film, appears again as the children are later chased by Telmarines, but other New Zealand locations are pretty inaccessible unless you have access to a helicopter. The riverside, where the children rescue Trumpkin (Peter Dinklage) who’s about to be thrown into the water, is the Moeraki River Inlet, Westland on the South Island.
Stubbornly refusing to admit he’s lost, Peter Pevensie (William Moseley) leads the group through a strange forest littered with with ominous rock formations. These are Bledne Skaly (Errant Rocks), a series of of gorges, crevices, small caves and mushroom rocks sculpted by erosion in Poland's Góry Stolowe National Park.
It’s only just over the border from the Czech Republic and, if you’re visiting, you might want to stay as the cast and crew did at Kudowa Zdrój, one of the oldest health resorts in Poland, with a history dating back to the 17th century.
About ten miles northwest, still just inside the Polish border, is Karkonoski National Park, a popular tourist spot in the Lower Silesia region. It’s here that Lucy (Georgie Henley), convinced she’s seen Aslan, falls into the gorge and discovers the path that leads them to Prince Caspian’s army. This is the Kamienczyk Gorge, a little over a mile southwest of Szklarska Poreba, through which gushes the Kamienczyk Waterfall, the highest falls in the the Karkonosze Mountains.
Conveniently, the 19-room Hostel Kamienczyk stands alongside the falls.
One European location quite a distance away from the others is ‘Beruna Bridge’, where the Telmarines build their war machine but are ultimately routed by the fearsome River God. This was built on the River Soca in the Soca Valley at Bovec, a small town on the edge of Triglav National Park in northwest Slovenia, where the mountains provide a surprisingly good match for the peaks of New Zealand. The Soca was temporarily diverted to allow the building of the bridge – which, by the way, was based on one built by Julius Caesar to cross the Rhine. But you probably recognised that, didn’t you?
The entrance to Aslan’s How, in front of which the great battle against the Telmarines is fought, was built in the countryside a couple of miles north of Ústí nad Labem, in the north of the Czech Republic, near to the German border (and not far from locations used in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe).
Only the first level of the great mound was built. The upper section is CGI but, surprisingly, a large hole was actually dug in the field to allow the earth to collapse beneath the feet of the Telmarine army. The site was naturally restored to its original state afterwards.