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Princess Diaries, The (2001)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Hector Elizondo
Meg Cabot, Gina Wendkos
A 16-year-old girl finds out that she is the heir to the throne of a small European country after her long-absent father suffers an untimely death. Now, she must decide between the life that she's grown accustomed to in San Francisco and the life as a Princess.
Princess Diaries, The (2001) | Review
10th Anniversary 2-Movie Edition
In The Princess Diaries, we meet Mia Thermopolis(Hathaway), a gawky high school student on the verge of her sixteenth birthday. She has only a few friends in school, is practically invisible to the opposite sex, and has a clumsy streak that no teen should have to deal with. When it seems like everything is going wrong, Mia learns that her estranged grandmother Queen Clarisse (Andrews) is in town, visiting from the (fictional) country of Genovia with some planet-rocking news.
Mia's grandmother lets her know that her father, the Crown Prince of Genovia has died, leaving her as the sole heir to the throne. In a matter of moments, she has gone from normal teen to royalty, and begins to take "Princess Lessons" from the queen, much to everyone's dismay. Protected and guided by Joe (Hector Elizondo), her new bodyguard, Mia toes the line between trying to lead a standard teenage life, and accepting the enormous responsibility of the title she was born to have, but never knew about.
In The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, we see Mia five years later, graduating from college and a little more comfortable with her role. She is still the slightly-nerdy girl from before, but with a better understanding of what is expected of her. As part of her duties, she goes to visit Genovia, the country she is to someday rule, with her fat cat, her best friend, and of course, Joe.
Mia's grandmother is set to abdicate the throne, leaving Mia as the next in line to rule, and so, unbeknownst to her, she must marry within thirty days if she is to be the new queen. While Viscount Mabrey (Jonathan Rhys-Davies) secretly tries to sabotage her plans, Mia must try to do the impossible: marry for love with an imminent deadline looming. Enter Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine, in his first feature film), a dapper young man who might be just the guy for her, except for the fact that he may also have a claim to the throne if she fails.
Both films are fun and family friendly, and unexpectedly enjoyable. Disney tends to throw in a few extra cheesy lines every once in a while, and Mia's clumsy-shtick gets a little old at times, but both movies do a great job of showing how important stepping up to our responsibilities can be, and putting aside our own desires for the good of others. Even though most people won't have as big of a title to step into, we are all called to something higher than ourselves, and finding the boldness to do so can be a huge (and sometimes hilarious) jump.
Both movies look great transferred to 1080p, and the amount of bonus features included with the set is dizzying. Not a lot was added for the Blu-ray versions of the film, save some outtakes, bloopers, and even more bloopers from both films. They are fun to watch though, and I get the feeling there was a good reason that Hathaway was chosen as the perfect actress to play a regal, yet slightly gawky, teen.
All the standard features from the original releases of both films also make their way onto the set. There are literally oodles of behind the scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and looks at the transformation from teen to princess. Both films feature a director commentary, but the first also includes a second commentary done by both Andrews and Hathaway which is actually a lot of fun to listen to while watching. Last but not least, there are several music videos as well, by some lesser known stars like Krystal Harris and Myra, but also a PD2 version of the hit song "Breakaway," by Kelly Clarkson.
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