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The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 30, 2012 by  



Fun and delightful! “The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition” features both “The Princess Diary” and “The Princess Diary 2: Royal Engagement” in one Blu-ray release.  While nothing new in special features content is included to this 10th anniversary edition, fans of these two films will enjoy the upgraded visuals and soundtrack in HD.

Images courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition

FILM RELEASE: The Princess Diaries (2001)/The Princess Diaries: Royal Engagement (2004)

DURATION: The Princess Diaries (115 Minutes)/The Princess Diaries: Royal Engagement (113 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French & Spanish

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: May 15, 2012

The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition

Directed by Garry Marshall

Based on the Novel by Meg Cabot

Screenplay by Gina Wendkos

Produced by Debra Martin Chase, Whitney Houston, Mario Iscovich

Co-Produced by Ellen H. Schwartz

Music by John Debney

Cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub

Edited by Bruce Green

Casting by Gail Goldberg, Donna Morong, Marcia Ross

Production Design by Mayne Berke

Art Direction by Caty Maxey

Set Decoration by Casey Hallenbeck

Costume Design by Gary Jones

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Directed by Garry Marshall

Story by Gina Wendkos, Shonda Rhimes

Screenplay by Shonda Rimes

Produced by Debra Martin Chase, Whitney Houston, Mario Iscovich,

Co-Produced by David Scharf

Executive Produced by Ellen H. Schwartz

Associate Producer: Tom Hines

Music by John Debney

Cinematography by Charles Minsky

Edited by Bruce Green

Casting by Marcia Ross

Production Design by Albert Brenner

Art Direction by Adrian Gorton, Jack G. Taylor, Jr.

Set Decoration by Peg Cummings, Casey Hallenbeck

Costume Design by Gary Jones

Starring:

Steve Martin as George Banks

Diane Keaton as Nina Banks

Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Annie Banks

Kieran Culkin as Matty Banks

George Newbern as Bryan MacKenzie

Martin Short as Franck Eggelhoffer

BD Wong as Howard Weinstein

Peter Michael Goetz as John MacKenzie

Kate McGregor-Stewart as Joanna MacKenzie

April Ortiz as Olivia

Eugene Levy as Mr. Habib

To commemorate the 10th anniversary (2001 – 2011) of a cherished family classic, Disney proudly presents a special movie collection featuring two modern-day fairy tales, THE PRINCESS DIARIES and THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT, for the first time ever on Blu-ray! Starring Academy Award(R) winner Julie Andrews (Best Actress, MARY POPPINS, 1964) and Academy Award-nominated Anne Hathaway (Best Actress, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, 2008), these two heartwarming and hilarious movies will touch your heart. As the future queen of Genovia, Princess Mia has everything a girl could want – except the enchanting romance she’s always dreamed of. Comic complications rule the day in these delightfully engaging stories about finding out who you really are and discovering what it takes to make your dreams come true! Relive all the magic and excitement of these two beloved favorites on this 3-disc combo pack, which includes a DVD of each film. Share the laughter and the love for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

In 2000, the first volume of Meg Cabot’s epistolary novel series, “The Princess Diaries”, was released.  A year later, “The Princess Diaries” was released as a film and achieving commercial success as it grossed over $165 million in the box office.

The film was produced by singer Whitney Houston and directed by Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”, “Beaches”, “Runaway Bride”) and the success of the first film would ensure a sequel in 2004 titled “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”, the sequel would feature a screenplay by Shonda Rhimes (best known for creating and producing “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice” and “Scandal”).

The two films would star Julie Andrews (“The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins”, “10”), Anne Hathaway (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Get Smart”) and Hector Elizondo (“Pretty Woman”, “Runaway Bride”, “Chicago Hope”).  “The Princess Diaries” would be the first feature film debut of Anne Hathaway.

And now, both films will be released in a 10th Anniversary Blu-ray+DVD combo pack, courtesy of Disney in May 2012.

“The Princess Diaries” is set in San Francisco and revolves around 15-year-old Mia Thermopolis (as portrayed by Anne Hathaway), a shy and timid teenager who lives with her mother Helen Thermopolis (as portrayed by Caroline Goodall).

Mia is not popular in school, her hair is big and curly, her eyebrows are thick and if anything, she tries to keep her self “invisible”, while hanging out with her best friend and activist, Lilly Moscovitz (as portrayed by Heather Matarazzo).   While Lilly hates anything “popular”, Mia can’t seem to get her mind off the popular guy in school, Josh Bryant (portrayed by Erik von Detten), who is dating the most popular girl at school, cheerleader Lana Thomas (portrayed by Mandy Moore).

Quite often, Mia tries to imagine how it would be to kiss Josh but unfortunately, because she is not popular and is not as stylish as other teenagers on campus, she is often bullied by Lana and her friends.

One day, her mother tells her that her grandmother from Europe, Clarisse Renaldi (as portrayed by Julie Andrews) wants to meet with her over a cup of tea.  Mia is surprised because she never was in contact with her grandmother and since her parents divorce, she was also not close to her father who recently passed away.

When she meets with her grandmother Clarisse, she is shocked about how wealthy she is but even more shocked when her grandmother tells her that she is a princess for the small European kingdom of Genovia.  Clarisse explains that she is Queen of Genovia by marriage, but because her father was the prince and is deceased, Mia is to be the next sole heir of the Genovia throne and the kingdom’s princess.

But Mia takes the news badly because she is not a leader and she wants to be “invisible”.  But her grandmother tells her that if Mia refuses the throne, Genovia will be without a ruler.  And that the upcoming Genovian State Dinner is coming up and she must make a decision to accept or abdicate her position for the throne at the annual Genovian Independence Day Ball.

Mia is confused with all that is going on, upset that her grandmother has brought this shocking news but also shocked at her mother for not telling her these new revelations of being a princess.

But as both Mia, her mother and grandmother meet, Mia consents to helping out her grandmother and also training in order to be ready for the State Dinner which includes learning how to walk, eat but also receiving a full makeover.  But she must keep her identity a secret until the Ball.  And to help watch over her, Queen Rinaldi has her head of security, Joseph (portrayed by Hector Elizondo) as her bodyguard.

In the meantime, because she is often in training, her frequent absence and her new look is beginning to take its toll on her friendship with Lilly but when news is leaked to the press that Mia is the princess of Genovia, Mia’s life will never be the same.

In the sequel, “The Princess Diaries 2”, the film takes place five years later and Mia, who is now the crowned princess of Genovia, has recently graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Her grandmother, Queen Clarisse Rinaldi is planning to abdicate from the throne on Mia’s 21st birthday, and by that day, she is to meet eligible bachelors who can be a potential husband at the upcoming Ball.

At the Ball, she meets Nicholas (as portrayed by Chris Pine) and in the process, while with him, her tiara has fallen off and is caught by a Parliament member named Viscount Mabrey (as portrayed by John Rhys-Davies), who wants Lord Devereaux to be the heir to the throne.

At a session at Parliaent, Viscount Mabrey announces the Genovian law that Mia can not take the crown and become Queen if she is not married.  And reveals another heir to the throne, his nephew, Lord Devereaux.  And also revealing that Mia must marry within the next 30 days if she is to assume her duties as the new Queen.

Because of this law, Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux at their palace and when Mia finds out who Lord Devereaux truly is, it’s Nicholas, the guy she met at the Ball.  And thinks that he is after the crown.

Confused about her guy problems, fortunately, her best friend Lilly Moscovitz comes to visit her in Genovia and Lilly helps Mia find a new husband and Mia ends up choosing Andrew Jacoby (portrayed by Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and the two become engaged.

Now Mia must go through the process of training to become a Queen for the upcoming ceremony.  But Nicholas, despite his intention of working with Viscount Mabrey in order to gain control of the crown, he finds himself falling in love with Mia and is conflicted by sabotaging the crown or wanting to be with her.

VIDEO:

“The Princess Diaries” and “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”  are presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). The video quality on both films is much better than the original DVD release and while the first film does show its age during the title credits and stock footage of San Francisco, the actual film is looks very good on Blu-ray with the additional clarity and more emphasis on colors.  Especially detail on closeups of the characters faces.  Skin tones natural on both films, black levels are good and there are no video issues that I spotted during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, “The Princess Diaries” and “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”  is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  While both films are dialogue-driven, there is also quite a bit of music featured in the films and also scenes that utilize the ambiance of various moments.  Such as the first film which features Mia in a rainstorm or the sounds of crowds, but for teh most part, both films are front and center-channel driven as expected.  Not exactly immersive but for both films, the lossless soundtrack is appropriate.

Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Princess Diaries” and “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”  is quite interesting when it comes to special features as Disney has elected to not include the special features on the Blu-ray release (only the “Royal Bloopers”), while most of the special features can be found on the accompanying two DVD’s.

The Princess Diaries

  • Royal Bloopers – (4:20) Outtakes from “The Princess Diaries” (featured on Blu-ray and DVD).
  • A New Princess – (24:19) A featurette hosted by Anne Hathaway with interviews with director Garry Marshall and the cast of “The Princess Diaries”.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring an informative audio commentary by director Garry Marshall.
  • Audio Commentary – A second audio commentary featuring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring an introduction by director Garry Marshall and eight deleted scenes.
  • Livin’ Like a Princess – (3:27) Featuring animation on a princess’ life.
  • Music Video – “Miracles Happen” – (4:18) Featuring “Miracles Happy” by Myra
  • Music Video – “Supergirl” – (3:54) Featuring “Supergirl” by Krystal Harris

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

  • Royal Bloopers – (3:56) Outtakes from “The Princess Diaries: Royal Engagement” (featured on Blu-ray and DVD).
  • Deleted Scenes – (4:21) Featuring an introduction by director Garry Marshall and eight deleted scenes.
  • Games & Activities: Find Your Inner Princess – A game/quiz for those to find their “inner princess”.
  • Making a Return Engagement – (15:37) Director Garry Marshall and cast talk about working on this second film.
  • The PD2 Makeover – (11:07)  Featuring Anna Curtis, Anne Hathaway’s stand-in for the film.
  • Music Video – (4:02) Featuring “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Julie Andrews and director Garry Marshall.

EXTRAS:

“The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition” Blu-ray comes with a separate DVD for each film.

“The Princess Diaries” and its sequel “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement” are two-lighthearted, fun and delightful films that would appeal to young ladies but also with director Garry Marshall, the film also appeals to people of all ages, especially with the older crowd as the film also pays a little homage to his 1991 film “Pretty Woman”.

First, lets discuss the storyline.  While the first film is much more enjoyable than the sequel, part of the enjoyment of the first film was seeing new and older faces.  When “The Princess Diaries” first came out, I actually saw star potential within actress Anne Hathaway and as Lindsay Lohan at the time, was the up-and-coming star in films such as “Mean Girls” and “Freaky Friday” and would later incorporate this bad girl image, Anne Hathaway is an actress who came out of nowhere but yet had this pure image in which she fit into the heels of Princess Mia quite perfectly.

While Hathaway was a teen actress known for her role on “Get Real” (which she starred alongside Jesse Eisenberg back in 1999-2002), there was no doubt that this role propelled her career and would blossom into roles in “Nicholas Nickleby”, “Ella Enchanted”, at the time, she captivated audience with her quirkiness and felt that she fit the role perfectly as Mia.

And part of my enjoyment of seeing this film was watching Julie Andrews, who was still as charming onscreen since her classic films of “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music”, and also carried the grace that she is known for, as grandmother to Mia in both films.

Going back to the Garry Marshall reference to “Pretty Woman”, Marshall brings back his “Pretty Woman” actors such as Hector Elizondo and Larry Miller, but also brings back Allan Kent to repeat the same line “It Happens All the Time” in “The Princess Diaries” as he did in “Pretty Woman”.  In fact, the song “Sempre libera degg’io” from “La Traviata” featured in “Pretty Woman” is used once again in “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement”.  So, there are “Pretty Woman” references in this film, which I found quite interesting.

So, for the first film alone, I enjoyed the “unpopular girl finds out that she is a princess” storyline, but the sequel seemed a bit out of the place as the goal was now “princess to become queen and must find a husband”.  While the storyline did work, I suppose that the rush into seeing the character of Mia needing to find a husband in order to become queen, just wasn’t exciting enough.  And as much as I enjoy Shonda Rhimes as a writer, this is one film that tried to capitalize on the success of the first film and to tell you the truth, I didn’t think it was needed.  Especially since the sequel has nothing to do with Meg Cabot’s original novels (as the novels began to focus on Mia’s teenage life and life in college).

As for the Blu-ray release, the Blu-ray definitely is a worthy upgrade for fans who own it on DVD.  The video and audio quality is much better but for those who already own the DVD’s, its important to note that Disney didn’t even bother put the special features (except the gag reel) on the Blu-ray release, they are on the accompanying DVD’s.  So, unless you have never seen the films or enjoy the films and want in HD, if you own the older DVD releases, there is nothing new, in terms of special features, added in the Blu-ray release of “The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition”.

Overall, I still feel that “The Princess Diaries” is a fun and delightful film, the second was OK…for the value of both films on Blu-ray, it still makes this release worth owning (if you don’t own the previous two DVD’s).

For parents looking for a fun family film for their daughters (both films are “Rated G”) or may you be fans Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews or simply love Garry Marshall films, for the upgraded visuals and audio in HD, “The Princess Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition” is worth owning and upgrading to Blu!






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