The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is the sequel to the popular Disney feature The Princess Diaries. How is our princess (Anne Hathaway) now? Well, life isn’t so easy in Gevonia. While trying to dodge Machiavellian plots and ill-suited suitors, the princess Mia tries to find love and (more importantly) herself.
The Princess Diaries 2 feels like one of those “phoned-in” sequels. All the notes are there, but none of the music. Veteran director Garry Marshall does a poor job o… filling this movie with energy or any sense of pace; and the movie plods along to its inevitable conclusion. Pre-teens might get a kick out of it, but the movie’s long windedness might make them turn towards the XBox. Anne Hathaway’s moxie and Julie Andrews’s grace make The Princess Diaries 2 modestly watchable.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is mostly a front heavy mix, with rear speakers used for occasional music and environmental effects. Dialogue comes through clear and clean. Not an exciting mix, but solid.
This disc is presented in a 1:85 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which is important because the director favors long frame filling shots. Doesn’t work well for comedy though. The colors are modest and appropriate for the story. Transfer effects include a bit of grain and shimmering. There’s a bit of softness that distracts sometimes. Overall, it’s not a “royal” transfer, but it’ll do.
But how regal are these bonus features?
A commentary from Julie Andrews and director Garry Marshall is more anecdotal than informative. But it’s nice to see these two vets go at it. And yes, Julie did her own mattress surfing.
Garry Marshall also introduces about 10 deleted scenes. He tries to explain why some of the scenes didn’t make it into the final cut. Blooper scenes also provide a bit of behind the scenes hilarity.
Rounding things out: the behind the scenes featurette has a little too much Raven (from Disney’s That’s So Raven), but provides some informative stuff. The Princess Diaries makeover is interesting, but nothing you wouldn’t see on a makeover TV show. Kelly Clarkson’s video “Breakaway” is kinda catchy. The Princess quiz is a unique feature. I don’t make a good Princess, apparently.
The Princess Diaries 2 is a sequel not as good (or as charming) as the original. Sequels rarely surpass the predecessor (Godfather II has some arguments). If it wasn’t for the good box office, the lifeless second installment might’ve assassinated this Princess movie series. On the positive side, the movie does have an aura of sweetness and screwball fun about it. And Julie Andrews sings for the first time onscreen in over 10 years. But I won’t be kicking myself if I miss this Royal Engagement.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes with Director’s Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- “Breakaway” Music Video by Kelly Clarkson
- “The PD2 Makeover”
- “Find Your Inner Princess” Personality Quiz