Epic Movie (Re)Watch #186 - The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Have I seen it before: Yes
Did I like it then: I think so.
Do I remember it: Better than I did the 1st one, which isn’t saying much.
Did I see it in theaters: No
I nominated the recap for the first Princess Diaries to @princessofsunnydale because she nominated it for my (Re)Watch so I thought I’d do the same for this post. Thanks!
1) I think it was a wildly smart decision to move the setting of this film from San Francisco to Mia’s often spoke of but rarely seen dominion of Genovia. It’s an organic next step to her story. We saw her learn how to be a princess in San Fran, now we see how she actually adapts to her home country (which is a lively character in its own right). The decision to jump ahead five years ahead instead of three (the number of years between releases) I think also is nice. Mia is more comfortable in the agency she gained in the first film, the relationship with her beau Michael is not hanging over her head, it just allows the film to not be dogged down by some plot points from the first film.
2) Sir Fat Louie? Did they knight him? Can you knight a cat?
3) I didn’t remember this line before I put in the movie but I do now.
4) Shonda Rhimes co-authored the story AND wrote the screenplay? Huh.
(I don’t actually watch any Shonda Rhimes shows, now that I think about it.)
5) Chris Pine as Nicholas.
There is a strong initial chemistry Pine has with lead actress Hathaway, allowing the audience to grow invested in their relationship quickly. Even/especially when they’re not getting long, you can just fell the sexual chemistry in the air between them. It’s fun, making the film stronger because of it.
Chris Pine on his own is as charismatic and interesting as ever. In lesser hands the character of Nicholas could be an even bigger jerk and while there are antagonistic qualities to him the audience UNDERSTANDS his motivations. He is trying to honor what he believes his dead father wanted, he believes he’s trying to do what’s best for Genovia. And when he sees he was mistaken, he tries to step aside. There’s a nice honesty to Pine’s performance. He doesn’t play Nicholas as an over the top mustache twirling villain. All in all, Pine does a fine job in this film and helps support it.
6) Except for one black guy, Genovia’s parliament is made up of all white guys saying they don’t want a woman to rule unless she has a man by her side.
I think Queen Clarisse has the perfect response to that.
The law is severely sexist and antiquated. One of the members of parliament claims it should be respected because it is 300 years old. Saying a law is that old is not an effective argument for it as much as it is AGAINST it. 300 years ago in 2004 that’s 1704. That’s slavery, that’s a fundamental lack of women’s rights across most countries. Don’t use the fact a law is old to argue for it. Laws should evolve as the world does.
7) John Rhys Davies is a wonderful character actor who plays Nicholas’ uncle as a holier than thou elitist arrogant jerk. I love to hate him in this, but I might need to watch Lord of the Rings or Raiders of the Lost Ark next to balance out my feelings.
8) Hey guys. Remember that time Catwoman stomped on Captain Kirk’s foot in front of Gimli and Mary Poppins?
I’m sure someone has made this joke before, but still.
9) The last film was largely about Clarisse putting her duty as queen aside to be Mia’s grandmother, a relationship which is as strong in this film as ever.
Clarisse [after Mia stomped on Nicholas’ foot]: “As a grandma I say right on.”
10) Like the first film, this movie’s biggest flaw is definitely pacing. Many scenes serve no purpose for the larger plot and instead distract from the main conflict. But - like with the first film - these scenes are also some of the most memorable. So…I’m not sure what to say then. I’m just going to move on.
11) I dig this.
Matarazzo is a continued treat in this film as she was in the first, stealing a number of scenes and infusing some quality humor into the plot. The way she mixes with Genovian life and culture can lead to some nice fish out of water observations, and Matarazzo plays the role with as much commitment and heart as she did in the first film. God bless Lily.
12) The bachelor selection scene is - by far - one of my favorite moments in the film. It is directly related to the plot and has an incredible amount of humor to it. Also, it’s not nearly as long as I remember.
For those of you who didn’t watch the clip above (or even if you did), here is my favorite moment from the scene.
(GIFs originally posted by @ezrajamessharkington)
I mean it’s small, but I appreciate that both this film and its predecessor acknowledge the LGBTQIA+ community more than other Disney films did at the time.
13) Callum Blue as Andrew Jacoby.
Much like Michael from the first film, Andrew is able to be a good guy while avoiding the trope of Nice Guy™. There is a respect he has for Mia, an understanding and a fondness. They clearly have a connection and appreciate each other’s company, but it is clear that neither of them love each other. And Andrew does not force this on Mia. He’s pretty much at her service, ready to respect her wishes without being a total pushover. He’s a good guy, someone who could have easily been a jerk or a bully but the fact Mia could plausibly end up with him just ups the stakes.
14) The fan scene is a nice moment of chemistry between Hathaway and Andrews, which (much like in the preceding film) is one of the strongest elements of this movie.
this film one of those moments is when she is reduced to tears because John Rhys Davies spooked her horse and revealed that - SHOCKER - women actually prefer to not ride side saddle. I suppose it’s better that she’s too hard on herself than not hard enough though, as she will be queen.
16) Damn, Joe is a badass.
Mabrey: “Sir, you will find that the word ‘fear’ is not in my vocabulary.”
Joe: “Perhaps. But it’s in your eyes.”
17) Hey look! The foot pop!
18) Okay, Nicholas is being creepy with Mia at the fountain. Yes, they kiss. But then she says no to him. Multiple times, too. Yet he keeps groping at her and chasing her around the fountain until they both fall in. And MIA’S in trouble?
19) The parade.
By far the strongest moment in the film. It shows off not only the agency Mia gained in the first film (she has the confidence to stop a parade), but also her incredible heart. She shows off such kindness and care for the people of Genovia, accepts her role as a leader, and is able to create a positive change through the sheer depth of her heart. Also, little Abigail Breslin is very cute.
20) Holy crap, Paul Williams is in this movie.
What is this movie?
21) The bridal slumber party is another scene which doesn’t really add to the plot and it goes a little long. BUT - again - it is wildly memorable. Especially seeing Julie Andrews surf on a mattress after giving a wink to her most iconic character.
22) Julie Andrews’ song.
Julie Andrews underwent surgery in 1997 to treat what she referred to as a muscular striation on her vocal cords. She emerged from the surgery with permanent damage that hurt her singing voice and gave a rasp to her speaking voice (for which she sued the hospital for malpractice two years later). Julie Andrews basically lost her singing voice. Her song “Your Crowning Glory” was the first time she sang on screen since the surgery. Although it was set in a limited range to accommodate her voice, she was reported to have nailed it on the first take and brought tears to the eyes of crew members on set. Raven Symoné - who duets with Andrews on the song - was so moved when she told she’d be singing with the legend that she too was reportedly brought to tears. If for no other reason, I am grateful this movie exists for all of that.
23) Nicholas is very ready to step aside and let Mia rule.
Nicholas [after his uncle notes all their work would be for nothing]: “It wouldn’t be nothing. Genovia would in good hands.”
I love that. I love that he’s true to his beliefs about doing what’s right for Genovia, NOT himself.
24) So there’s a slight bit of foreshadowing here.
Nicholas [at Mia’s window]: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel…”
Chris Pine would later go on to play Cinderella’s Prince in the 2014 film adaptation of Into the Woods, which also featured the characters of Rapunzel and her prince.
25) I’m surprised Paolo’s back. I mean, Larry Miller is great. But didn’t he totally betray the trust of the royal family in the first film? And also, why is he suddenly kinda bad at styling Mia?
26) Bless whoever made this
(I just found this on google. If this is your’s and you want credit let me know and I’ll be happy to give it.)
27) Um, guys…
What the heck is Stan Lee doing in The Princess Diaries 2? Is Mia going to join The Avengers? Is Genovia a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What is happening!?
All humor aside, as I understand it Stan Lee will cameo in any movie asked as long as he gets his standard fee. I think he wants to have the record for most cameos ever.
28) I dig it, Andrew.
Andrew [after Mia calls off the wedding]: “Uh…thank you. Thank you for saving me from doing the proper thing for once in my life.”
29) Much like the first film, it is Mia who must take her own fate in her hands. She’s the one who argues against the marriage law, she’s the one who convinces the people and parliament to strike it down (although the Prime Minister is again incredibly supportive and I love that). It’s her taking charge of her life, which I think is absolutely great.
30) I 100% forgot that part of this film ended with Clarisse and Joe getting married. I am very okay with that.
31) OH MY GOD YES! PARLIAMENT IS MORE DIVERSE AT THE END! THERE ARE SO MANY WOMEN AND EVEN WOMEN OF COLOR AND IT’S JUST BEAUTIFUL AND DIVERSE AND I NEED MORE OF IT! THANK YOU!
Like the first film, The Princess Diaries 2 held up surprisingly better than I was expecting. Obviously it’s aimed at a younger audience than me but it was pretty enjoyable. Anne Hathaway is strong as ever, as is Julie Andrews, while Chris Pine is a welcome and fitting addition to the cast. The themes are nicely feminist as is the ending. Overall I just find it an enjoyable film worth the watch.