Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Parent Trap - Special Double Trouble Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker/Annie James
Dennis Quaid as Nick Parker
Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth James
Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake
Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy, the Parker's Maid
Simon Kunz as Martin, the James' Butler
Polly Holliday as Marva Kulp, Sr.
Maggie Wheeler as Marva Kulp, Jr.
Ronnie Stevens as Grandpa Charles James
Erin Mackey as Hallie/Annie Acting Double
Joanna Barnes as Vicki Blake, Meredith's Mother

Special Features:
"Updating A Classic" -- A Look Back At The Making Of The Parent Trap

Deleted Scene "Meeting The Queen" -- With Optional Director Commentary

"How Hallie Became Annie" Featurette

Audio Commentary With Producer/Screenwriter Charles Shyer And Director/Screenwriter Nancy Meyers

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
Running Time: 128 Minutes

Synopsis:
This film was originally released in 1998. It is a remake of the 1961 film starring Hayley Mills. The following is the description from the DVD cover:

"What makes the Special Edition of The Parent Trap so cool isn't just that you get to enjoy Lindsay Lohan's amazing theatrical debut, but that's it's filled with bonus materials you've never seen before. Hallie Parker, a hip Californian, and Annie James, a proper London miss (both played by Lohan) are identical twins who don't even know each other exists -- until they accidentally meet at summer camp. Now they're up to their freckles in schemes and dreams to switch places, get their parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson) back together, and have the family they've always wished for!"

The Parent Trap is rated PG for some mild mischief.

The Movie:
I remember watching and enjoying the original Parent Trap as a kid. While living in Norway in the 80's, my sisters watched videotapes of it over and over again. I pretty much know the original film by heart. So when I heard that were remaking The Parent Trap, I had a hard time understanding why since the original was so good. But going back and looking at it again compared to this more recent version, it certainly looks dated. While many of the scenes are almost exactly like the original (for example, the camping scenes), there's enough revamped here to make it seem unique and original, especially for younger audiences that haven't seen the 1961 version.

One of the most notable things about this Parent Trap is the casting. Simply put, it was fantastic. Dennis Quaid was a great choice for the father while Natasha Richardson was perfectly cast as Elizabeth James. The supporting cast was also fun. They include Lisa Ann Walter (Shall We Dance) as Chessy, the Parker's Maid, Simon Kunz as Martin, the James' Butler, Polly Holliday (Flo from Alice) as Marva Kulp, Sr., and Maggie Wheeler (Janice from Friends) as Marva Kulp, Jr.. Joanna Barnes, the evil fiancé from the 1961 version even has a cameo as Vicki Blake, Meredith's Mother.

But even more notable about the cast is the debut of Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James. She was absolutely fantastic in her feature film debut. Lohan really made you believe that you were watching two different actresses playing the lead roles. This film really reminded me that she was a good actress. Tabloid attention and skanky behavior seem to be more of what Lohan is known for these days. In fact, it's a little creepy to be reminded just how young she was such a short time ago and how creepy her whole thing with Bruce Willis was. Quaid's comments in the film about the dramatic difference in age between him and his fiancée seem oddly prophetic on a number of levels.

If you examine The Parent Trap too closely, it doesn't hold up upon inspection. It's not realistic to believe that any loving parent would split up twins and never tell them about their sibling whether it's 1961 or 1998. (If your father's Darth Vader, though, that's another story.) You would also think that the separated twins would be furious with their parents for lying to them, yet the girls in the film apologize to their parents for the ruse. It's all pretty unrealistic. However, that's all irrelevant because this movie is more about the hi-jinks with the twins and the efforts to reunite their divorced parents. That's where the real entertainment of this movie lies.

A few things in this film did surprise me considering it was supposedly a squeaky clean Disney film. They show one of the girls tasting wine, a joke about the "f-word", the lead girls betting money and playing poker, skinny dipping, and more. I don't particularly have a problem with any of this, but the shift in standards at Disney becomes especially apparent when compared to their 1960's films.

In the end this revamped The Parent Trap is pretty good. The cast make it very entertaining and it's interesting to see the theatrical debut of Lindsay Lohan. It's a fun film for both kids and adults.

The Extras:
Here's what you will find among the bonus features of this DVD:

"Updating A Classic" -- A Look Back At The Making Of The Parent Trap – This bonus feature is your standard "making of" piece containing interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, etc. Almost all of the footage is vintage and shows the cast from 1998. It's interesting to hear the cast talk about Lohan and their experiences working with her. There is also a lot of talk about the original The Parent Trap, too.

Deleted Scene "Meeting The Queen" -- With Optional Director Commentary – In this deleted scene Lohan's character makes her butler pull over at Buckingham Palace so she can look at the guards. While standing there, she meets the Queen driving out of the gate. The actress playing the Queen is a look alike, but she's a rather convincing one. It was cut because it wasn't believable that the young twin would have a Buckingham Palace side trip on the way to meet her mother for the first time.

"How Hallie Became Annie" Featurette – This bonus feature details how they used doubles, computer effects, and split screens to make it appear that Lohan was really two different actresses. This was the most interesting of the bonus features for me.

Audio Commentary With Producer/Screenwriter Charles Shyer And Director/Screenwriter Nancy Meyers – It's hard to tell when this commentary was originally recorded, but Meyers and Shyer focus a lot on the technical aspects of the film, the challenges of shooting the effects, the locations, etc etc etc. It would have been better to include Lohan in the commentary, but it's still informative.

The Bottom Line:
The Parent Trap is a fun new take on the classic film. It's also interesting to see the debut performance of Lindsay Lohan.

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