I have always had a huge amount of adoration for The Princess Diaries, it was such a charming film with tons of personality and a beautiful cast of characters that you could easily fall for. These films were part of our childhood, or at least teenage, an era where we formed specific memories that stay with us. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is one of those of films that tries its very hardest to taint those memories.
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The Movie Review
Mia Thermopolis has graduated college and is poised to take on the role of the queen in the charming kingdom of Genovia. However, the path to the throne is far from smooth sailing. According to Genovian law, Mia must first tie the knot before assuming the crown.
Enter Nicolas, a dashing young man who has captured Mia’s heart. But things get complicated when it’s revealed that Nicolas is also a contender for the throne, and his uncle is pulling out all the stops to ensure that Mia loses her chance at ruling the kingdom. In a classic case of duty versus love, Mia must decide whether to follow her heart and risk losing her crown or sacrifice her personal desires for the good of her country.
Disney wasted no time capitalizing on the surprising success of the first film. Perhaps they were eager to capitalize on the momentum before the charming Anne Hathaway aged out of the role. It’s clear that the House of Mouse has a knack for striking while the iron is hot, and fans of the original will no doubt be eager to see what the sequel has in store, unfortunately, it was nothing good. The film is flashier than the first, but with dialogue that is so much cornier that it’s almost embarrassing to hear, and a story that is moving forward with no direction whatsoever.
The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement
In what can only be described as a catastrophic misfire, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, featuring Hollywood heavyweights like Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies, Chris Pine, and Hector Elizondo is a cringe-worthy disappointment.
The plot is predictable from the beginning, and the script feels painfully contrived. Even worse, the sets and locations feel entirely unrealistic and artificial, leaving me scratching my head in disbelief. It’s hard to believe that actors of such caliber would lend their talents to such a mess of a production. Suffice it to say, it’s fair that this film isn’t remembered much unlike the original.
Legendary actress Julie Andrews showcased her impressive vocal prowess, providing a glimmer of hope in an otherwise uninspired film. Meanwhile, Hector Elizondo does his best to breathe life into his role as a security advisor.
Chris Pine, for his part, plays the prototypical male heir, offering little in the way of originality or charm. Of course, there’s Heather Matarazzo, reprising her role as the grating and universally disliked best friend from the first film. Not to mention, Anne Hathaway as the lead, Mia, gave her all in this film but it didn’t really save the film from being so bland either way.
I liked that the cinematography of the film focused heavily on the lush greenery and beauty of the fictional Genovia. However, I did not much care for the camera work and the lack of intriguing angles and shots in the film.
On the other hand, the production design, as I mentioned, felt way too tacky and fake for me to get invested. I do have to reiterate, Julie Andrews delivers a stunning vocal performance in this, which is literally her first time singing since her vocal cord surgery.
The credit for this musical magic goes to none other than the talented composer behind the film’s soundtrack, John Debney, whose masterful compositions perfectly complement the singing voices and the lyrics in these songs. Thankfully, this is one aspect of the film in which I found no downgrades, as compared to the original.
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement features okay cinematography and mediocre production design. The film also falls short of the original’s charm and sincerity, despite the opulent sets and stunning landscapes, there is a sense of contrivance to the story and artifice to the design that permeates throughout the film.
While there are certainly good moments in The Princess Diaries 2, the film ultimately feels like a downgrade from its predecessor, lacking the heart and authenticity that made the original so beloved.
- Decent cinematography that captures the grandeur of the luscious Genovia
- A standout vocal performance by Julie Andrews, marking her return to singing after vocal cord surgery
- Catchy tunes and impressive songwriting on display throughout the film's soundtrack by John Debney
- The film feels contrived and lacks the sincerity of the original
- The performances are bland because the director wastes the acting talent of the phenomenal cast
- Most of the character arcs feel like retreads from the first film
- The plot feels predictable and formulaic
- The cinematography lacks good looking and unique camera angles