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Walt Disney Home Video presents
The Parent Trap: Special Double Trouble Edition (1998)

Annie James: Don't you see it?
Hallie Parker: See what?
Annie James: The resemblance between us.

- Lindsay Lohan

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: June 15, 2005

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson
Other Stars: Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz, Polly Holliday, Maggie Wheeler, Ronnie Stevens, Erin Mackey, Joanna Barnes
Director: Nancy Meyers

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild mischief
Run Time: 02h:08m:06s
Release Date: May 31, 2005
UPC: 786936281644
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BA-B- B

DVD Review

It has been so long since I saw the original version of The Parent Trap that, for all intents and purposes, this 1998 remake plays like a new story. Well, maybe "new" is too strong of a wordóbut the energy of the cast and crew make the highly implausible story seem fresh and...well, plausible. Even viewing the innocent 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan, in her screen debut as a pair of twins separated in their infancy, in light of her current familial and social crises doesn't taint the fun of this fine piece of family entertainment.

Hallie Parker (Lindsay Lohan) is a California girl living with her father, Nick (Dennis Quaid), at his Napa Valley wine vineyard. Annie James (also Lohan) is a prim British miss living with her mother, Elizabeth (Natasha Richardson), in the center of London. Each girl travels to an New England girls' summer camp where they meet each other for the very first time. Both girls are highly competitive, look identical, and share the same birthday. One night each girl pulls out a half torn picture of their estranged parent. The pieces fit and the girls realize they are twins. Longing to be with her other parent, each girl switches identityówith Annie heading to Napa and Hallie to London.

Of course everybody knows what is going to happen next. The girls keep acting bizarre in their foreign surroundings until eventually their parents and other family members discover what has happened. Even the threat of Nick marrying the evil, gold-digging Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix) is just a plot device to create conflict for the two spin sisters as they conspire to reunite their divorced parents. At times the jokes and physical comedy, especially the over-the-top practical jokes Hallie plays on Annie when at camp, feel forced and fall flat. However, the overall experience of watching this movie again left me with a smile on my face. The movie doesn't pretend to be telling a Shakespearean tragedy and simply wants to entertain its audience. The honesty of director Nancy Meyers at wanting to make an enjoyable bit of cinematic fun, without any pretense or special messages about the importance of family connections, is a wonderful contrast to all the other children's films these days that are hawking political and moral points-of-view.

The acting is what really makes this an enjoyable show. Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson are believable as single parents who married far too young, but still carry a torch for one another. Additionally Simon Kunz as Elizabeth's butler, Martin, provides many laughs that keep the movie's momentum rolling. Nonetheless, the weight of the whole production falls on the shoulders of Lindsay Lohan and she delivers in spades. She adopts a British accent quite well and easily conveys the slightly different nuances that allow the audience to distinguish one character from her counterpart. Her acting is all the more impressive when you think of how much she had to do on her own without acting to anybody—since the computer wizards go a long way in making it appear as if these roles are really being acted by a pair of twins.

Featuring a pleasant anamorphic widescreen transfer and a fittingly front-centered Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix, this DVD is sure to delight both parents and children.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes
Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes
Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Dean Cundey, Nancy Meyers, Charles Shyer
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: For this special edition release, Disney has supplied a nice mix of supplemental material that both DVD enthusiasts and kids should be able to enjoy. The feature-length audio commentary by director/co-writer Nancy Meyers, cinematographer Dean Cundey, and producer/co-writer Charles Shyer is an enjoyable listen. Virtually every aspect of the production is touched upon here and much praise is bestowed upon the young Lindsay Lohan. The most interesting pieces of information come from the discussion between Meyers and Shyer of how to update a classic for a contemporary audience and setting.

There also is a documentary from the film's theatrical release, Updating a Classic (18m:33s). Featuring interviews with the cast and crew from the set, there's a nice mixing of behind-the-scenes footage with sound bytes concerning Lohan's experience on the set. This is a nice documentary. Following it is a short featurette, The Accent on Fun (03m:58s), containing dialect coaches and footage of them training children how to speak with an accent. It's not particularly informative due to its abbreviated length. A second featurette is How Hallie Became Annie (08m:23s), which relays the use of CGI to create the appearance of the two girls in the same frame. It's an enjoyable and information packed supplement, so take a look at it.

Finally, there is a deleted scene, Meeting the Queen (02m:49s), show in 1.33:1 and with optional commentary by Meyers and Shyer. It's a funny scene, but was wisely trimmed from the film for the reason Meyers explains on the commentary.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Call me a sucker, but The Parent Trap is a joy to watch. The extra features are entertaining and to-the-point, the image and sound transfers are aesthetically sufficient, and the movie is a fun bit of escapism.

 


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