The Parent Trap

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Details At A Glance

Category Family Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 122:56 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Nancy Meyers

Warner Home Video
Starring Dennis Quaid
Natasha Richardson
Lindsay Lohan
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Alan Silvestri

Pan & Scan/Full Frame ?Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    I was really worried by the start of The Parent Trap. Being a Di$ney family movie, I was expecting liberal doses of saccharine sweetness, and boy oh boy was it there. The first 15 minutes of this movie was so sweet it had approximately the same effect on me as munching on a large bag of sugar. Fortunately, the movie came good after this. As soon as the girls became friends instead of rivals, the movie improved dramatically, and I ended up really enjoying the rest of it. So, bear with this one - if you can get through the first 15 minutes without wincing too much, the rest is rather good. Indeed, if you can get through this movie without getting all teary-eyed at least once, then you are truly a hard-hearted person, since the heart-strings are well and truly strummed by this movie.

    Hallie Parker (Lindsay Lohan) lives in California with her vintner father. She has never met her mother, is allergic to strawberries and loves eating Oreos with peanut butter. Annie James (also Lindsay Lohan) lives in London with her wedding dress designer mother. She has never met her father, is allergic to strawberries and loves eating Oreos with peanut butter. They meet at summer camp, discover they are identical twins, and scheme to get their parents back together again. They come up with a simple plan - they will swap places so each of them can meet their respective missing parent, and scheme to get the two of them back together.

    Of course, there are complications. In this case, the complication takes the form of gold-digger Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix), who worms her way into their father's (Nick Parker, played by Dennis Quaid) affections. This sets a very tight deadline for the girls' operation since Nick and Meredith plan to marry in 2 weeks, and their mother (Elizabeth James, played by Natasha Richardson) is urgently brought to California to meet up with Nick, whom she hasn't seen in 10 years. Things go alternately well and poorly for our budding Cupids, but, let's face it, this is Di$ney - there ain't gonna be an unhappy ending here, folks, except for the gold-digger, and we all know she deserves everything she gets (cue canned booing).

Transfer Quality


    This is a gorgeous-looking video transfer that falls just shy of reference quality.

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. Based on the framing of the movie, it looks like this is a Full Frame presentation rather than a Pan & Scan presentation, though in the absence of a widescreen version of this movie, it is difficult to tell for sure. One thing that I could say for sure would be that a widescreen 16x9 enhanced presentation of this movie would have been absolutely stunning in its appearance.

    This transfer is very sharp and very clear, with lots of fine detail revealed in the image. Shadow detail is excellent, and there is no low level noise.

    The colours are magnificently presented, with gorgeous greens and other bright shades on display. Skin tones were also beautifully rendered.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some moderate aliasing on fine lines and some moiré effects on the fencing masks used at the start of the movie. This was one of the only let-downs of this transfer, and was relatively minor. Film artefacts were infrequent, but the ones that were present were quite significant. Two large scratches mar this transfer; one at 19:49 and one at 41:18, as well as a few others scattered here and there.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only a single audio track on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was somewhat difficult to hear at the start of the movie because of excessive background noise, but this soon settled down and dialogue from thenceforth was easily understandable.

    The audio was marginally but noticeably out of sync from around the 90 minute mark of the movie to around the 100 minute mark of the movie.

    The score was by Alan Silvestri. Normally, I don't have all that much positive to say about Alan Silvestri, as I find his scores to be dull and uninspiring. However, in this case, the score is superb and is matched to the on-screen action perfectly, enhancing the look and feel of almost every scene.

    The surround channels of this movie have almost no use other than for the musical score. The only ambient sound that is placed in the rear channels is some rain at one point in the movie. The dialogue is all placed in the center channel, along with most of the sound effects. At the very best, this can only be described as a front hemispheric mix.

    The .1 channel had only subtle usage to support the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;     The choice is simple here - the widescreen Region 1 version, despite not being 16x9 enhanced, is the version of choice.


    The Parent Trap is a really nice, enjoyable movie, once you get past the first 15 excruciating minutes.

    The video quality is superb.

    The audio quality is generally good, but not without its problems.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
22nd April 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Start SD-2010VNK-C, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer