|Posted by Moviefan12 on July 24, 2012 at 6:50 AM|
Hello & welcome back. Now if you'll recall a few weeks back, I took a look at the original Parent Trap film starring Hayley Mills. Today, I've decided to take a look at the 1998 remake that was Lindsay Lohan's first starring role. Wow, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to a Lindsay Lohan Disney film. Also does anyone else find it odd that her Disney filmography consist of two remakes and a failed reboot of an older Disney film series. Just an observation but it is kind of funny, when you look at it. Anyways, with that out of the way, let's take a look at this remake, what's the same, what's different, what's better, what didn't need changing etc etc.
This trailer unlike the TV spot for the 1961 original actually delves into the plot this time and I don't think that's a bad thing. I mean yes, there have been trailers that hid a plot detail. An example of that would be Brave but I don't think that you always need to do that and while yes, this does seem to be an outline of the film. That doesn't bug me as much knowing that it's a remake.
The best way to sum this plot is to say that it is basically the same story as the original with a few minor changes such as name changes for the characters, setting it in the late '90s and have a further distance between the girls. Which brings me to a qualm I have with this variation of this film, Annie lives in London, so why on earth is she going to a summer camp stateside? To me, that just seems odd. I mean if it were something like a high adventure camp a la Philmont for Boy Scouts but it looks to be just an average summer camp for girls. So I don't understand why she had to go to a summer camp in the states because I'm sure there are summer camps in England that she could've gone to as well. At this point, I'm jut rambling. As I said up top, the best way to look at it as being an updated version of the original with enough changes for the story to work on it's own and I think one of the best changes made was making the girls younger. I don't know why but having the twins be 11 instead of 13 made the story more believable for me. Not that I couldn't buy it in the Hayley Mills version but for some reason, I feel like 11 years old would be more apt to do this.
Now I'll be breaking this down into Important, Supporting, & Villain. Let's go.
Hallie & Annie played by Lindsay Lohan
As I said above, I don't know why but making the girls younger just made this story seem more logical for me and I also have to thank the people behind this film for giving the twins names that didn't sound so similar as it made it easier to keep track of the two of them separately. I don't know why but with them not having names that started with the same letter, it was easier to keep track of which twin, I was following at any given time. I should also point out the director of the film named the two main characters after daughters. Hallie was the one that lived in California while Annie lived in London. I already went over my only major issue there. Now as for the characters themselves, I wouldn't say they are the same as their 1961 counterparts. They have enough differences with a few similarities between them. Though I will say that I think they take it up a notch with the pranks that they pull on each other at the camp and I have say, it just seems so odd to have an actress pretend to be another character with accent. Not that Lindsay didn't pull it off but it just different. Even though I said I find the story more believable by making them younger that does not mean I look down the original characters any less. I find that I like both but for different reasons and oh, if you recall how I complained in my review of the original how it seemed the girls didn't get punished. Well, that came through here loud and clear that their antics on the camping trip got them in trouble.
Nick played by Dennis Quaid
One of the changes made was the profession of the father along with his name but that's minor. In the original, Mitch worked on a ranch but here in the remake, the girl's father, Nick works on vineyard making wine but there are still some ranch elements in him such as we see him and Annie go horseback riding at one point. Nick much like his predecessor is very down to earth and feels real which makes it all the more shocking that he'd fall for someone like Meredith. He was a nice guy, who you just couldn't believe fell for that gold digger.
Elizabeth played by Natasha Richardson
Perhaps, the one character that was the most different from her 1961 counterpart would be the mom, now named Elizabeth. Elizabeth seemed easily flustered while Maggie in the original seemed to be calm, cool, & collected whereas the idea of meeting her ex terrified Elizabeth and you know what I can buy that because it'd been years since they'd seen each other, which this film actually delves into how they meant. As they met on the Queen Elizabeth II. Which is seen in the opening credits and it almost feels like a true prologue to the film and that was a nice touch. Now even though I said that she seemed flustered, that does not mean that she was not a bad mother. Not at all, she was quite a good mother and felt very authoritative towards the girls but in a caring and motherly way.
Martin played by Simon Kunz
Martin was one of the few new characters added to the tale and he worked. He was really funny and very engaging at the same time. You could see that he wanted Nick and Elizabeth to get back together almost as much as the girls did and of course it was nice to see him get his own in the form of Chessy. Those two together are just so adorable.
Chessy played by Lisa Ann Walter
Okay, I don't know why but Chessy's actor for some reason give me a Kirstie Alley vibe circa Cheers and that is a compliment. Probably just me but I have to say that I really like Chessy and while she is a replacement for Verbena from the original, I think that she is the better character as she seems more attached to the girls. Again, they're both good characters but there is just something about the emotional attachment that Chessy seems to have that makes me like her more and as I said, she and Martin get together in the end and even engages leading me to believe that they get married in the end.
Grandpa James played by Ronnie Stevens
Sadly, again I couldn't find a good picture here. Odd, how it was the grandparents for both of these that gave me trouble but oh well. Grandpa James appeared to be older than his '61 counterpart and there was a different air to him. I mean he was still a sweet old man but he seemed sweeter and I don't know if that was because the cut out the grandmother. By the way, who's with me that having Hayley Mills appear as the grandmother would've been a nice touch. I think she would've been old enough but ah well. He's the first one to discover Hallie's secret and makes her confess. That was a very sweet moment and even though, he wasn't in the film for long, he did have a strong presence.
The music in this film is just odd. I mean, I can understand using already established songs but some of them just seem like odd choices and not all of them appear in the actual movie. That's why I've decided to basically only look at a few songs. However before we even get to the main songs, there is something else that needs to be discussed. I wish it didn't but it must be done.
What... in the... WORLD IS THIS? Seriously, this is one of the worst sounding covers I've heard. Look, I like the fact that they remembered this song and it is even played over the Disney logo and in one scene you can see Hallie sing in a hotel lobby but why?! This is just bad. It's just generic bubblegum pop that is so dull. There is no life in this version, whatsoever. I can get that they were trying to appeal to a younger crowd but not like this. No, just NO!
This is more like it, this is such a nice way to set the mood for the film. If you recall how I was saying this was a prologue, I still get that feeling and this is a great listen and sets up the events of what is about to come very nicely. Now I'll admit, this film was the first time that I'd heard this song and I like it.
Now see this is what I mean by the film having odd song choices. Nothing against this song as I enjoy on it's own and while I would consider this a summer song, I don't understand it's inclusion here. It just seems out of place and the only reason it's there is his because this is a movie set during the summer
Again, this one just seems out of place and used only because it's a popular song. Now don't misunderstand me because in the context of the scene it is used for when Hallie and Annie play poker, it makes sense but in the long run, I almost feel as though that poker scene was put in the film solely for the the purpose of this song. It's not that I hate these songs but as I've said in the past unless done right and it makes sense I'm not a big fan of relying on already known music. So far, the only film to do this well that I've reviewed is Cars. Back to the poker scene, yes that does serve as a mini plot point at the beginning of the film but after the game, it isn't brought up again. It's just dropped, which seems a little odd.
Now this is the last song that I'm looking at and this one after re listening to it almost makes sense. It at least fits better than the previous two in my opinion and it is a nice selection. I guess the film went with these choices because as can be observed music doesn't play as important a role in this film.
Meredith played by Elaine Hendrix
In terms of villainy and just nastiness, Meredith is a huge step up. Unlike Vicky who I felt some sympathy for, that was not the case with Meredith and this film really wanted to get across that she was younger and a gold digger. I think one of the best moments as seeing her trying to hold onto her youth is seeing her listening to Parent's Just Don't Understand. The entire time watching this film you could feel that she only wanted Nick's money and I loved the final prank that the girls play on her as placing her sleeping bag in the lake. That was just gold and it was so funny how the girls kept on referring to her as Cruella because she really gave off a Cruella like vibe. There is no doubt when watching this film who the villain is and you want to see get her due in the end.
My Final Thoughts
This remake will always have a special place in my heart as I saw this before the '61 original. They are both good films and they are both fun watches and tell the story in different yet similar fashions while still being their own films.