Unless you’re a thirteen year old girl, I don’t see how you could go into The Princess Diaries 2 and expect something that will keep you glued to your seat. That’s not to say I’m against the flick, it’s just that I fall somewhat out of its target audience by a couple years and an entire gender.
Even so, I dove into the movie without any preconceived notions; I would let the film speak for itself. Unfortunately, what it does end up saying is hushed, unintelligible, and will put you to sleep – even if you are a thirteen year old girl.
From what I understand, the appeal of the first movie was the idea that a standard, ugly duckling-like girl could actually be royalty. She brought her clumsy style and adolescent view to the make-believe kingdom of Genovia (located somewhere near France) and showed us all the importance of being true to ourselves. Right. It’s not too deep, but if done properly it can be okay.
I realize I’m a bit jaded here, it’s just that I don’t believe this franchise or this story (based upon a best-selling book) is as much about inspiring girls as it is to inspire their money out of their wallets and into Disney coffers.
However, there are two good things about the first film, and both of them are present in the sequel. The first is that the films introduced us to Anne Hathaway, a fantastic young actress, and the second is that we got to see Julie Andrews light up the screen again. She is, after all, practically perfect in every way.
Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) continues her story from the first movie. She’s graduated from University and is now going back to her fairytale kingdom, of which she is the princess, to rule. Unfortunately, there’s a hitch: Viscount Mabrey (everybody’s favorite dwarf, John Rhys-Davies) wants the crown for his nephew.
There’s another problem in Princess Mia’s ascension to the throne; in order to become Queen, she must be married. But Mia doesn’t have a boyfriend, let alone a man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. And so, the mission to find an appropriate suitor in a short period of time begins.
Are you yawning yet? Just summarizing the plot bored me. This is the movie’s biggest flaw; it takes your most standard plot imaginable and… does nothing with it. In fact, I think it dulls it up even more by resolving it in a way that will leave you shaking your head and asking “Why didn’t she just do that in the first place?” Yes, it’s one of those endings.
Like I said, I’m not against the flick just because I’m not a teenage girl, I’m against it because it’s clearly a soulless money-grab. The dialogue is empty, not a single joke is funny, and the character’s outfits are more interesting than they are.
If the movie wanted to entertain young women, fine. If it wanted to inspire them, great. Instead, it does neither. What we have is a boring movie that I doubt will be amusing to fans of the original, let alone new viewers.
The film may be aimed at kids but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them like they’re mindless robots. I don’t think anything would have been lost if the film had tried to get a more serious message across. Hell, if they’d made at least one of the jokes actually funny, that would have been something.
Luckily there is one saving grace; one element keeping the film from unraveling entirely, and that is the actors. From the wonderfully charismatic Anne Hathaway to the always entertaining John Rhys-Davies and the fabulous Julie Andrews, the fact that these people are such great performers will keep your attention, if only for brief flashes.
I’m quite sure that a week from now I won’t have any recollection of what happened in this movie, but I will definitely remember one aspect: Julie Andrews sang again. It was a very short number, but hearing her sing was easily the best part of the entire film. I suppose that’s something.