Princess Diaries 2, The: Royal Engagement (2004)

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Released 17-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Garry Marshall (Director) And Julie Andrews (Actor)
Deleted Scenes-With Introductions By Garry Marshall
Outtakes
Quiz-Find Your Inner Princess
Featurette-Making Of-Making A Return Engagement
Featurette-The PD2 Makeover
Music Video-'Breakaway' By Kelly Clarkson
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 108:34
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Garry Marshall
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Anne Hathaway
Julie Andrews
Hector Elizondo
John Rhys-Davies
Heather Matarazzo
Chris Pine
Callum Blue
Kathleen Marshall
Tom Poston
Joel McCrary
Kim Thomson
Raven
Larry Miller
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Debney


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Spanish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Icelandic
Greek
Bulgarian
Romanian
Croatian
Slovenian
Serbian
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Icelandic Audio Commentary
Greek Audio Commentary
Bulgarian Audio Commentary
Romanian Audio Commentary
Croatian Audio Commentary
Slovenian Audio Commentary
Serbian Audio Commentary
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Story adenda during and audio after credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I seem to be on something of an Anne Hathaway run at the moment. I had only just finished watching The Princess Diaries on DVD with my kids when Ella Enchanted came up for review, and now, here she is again in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. I'm not complaining, mind - she is radiant in this film and gives a fine performance to boot.

    If you are not familiar with the first film, it followed the adventures of Mia (Hathaway), a misfit teenager in America who finds she is heir to the throne of the small (mythical) European country of Genovia. She is shocked to find her Grandmother Clarisse (Julie Andrews) is Queen of Genovia and is keen for her granddaughter to take her place in that role. The latest film picks up 5 years later as Mia graduates from college and arrives in Genovia for her coronation.

    Complications soon come thick and fast, as Genovian law decrees that a single woman cannot rule the country, so that an arranged marriage is soon in the works (the Royal Engagement of the title). However, Mia soon starts to fall for the charming Nicholas, who it turns out is also a rival for the throne. Naturally, the romance starts out a little roughly (Mia suggests to Nicholas at one stage "You go underwater and I'll count to a million"). The press also catch wind of the budding romance and a royal scandal ensues, but as this is a Disney picture this is all told with good humour and some rather chaste romancing.

    The film is aimed squarely at the younger female market, and my two daughters would watch it every day if they could, so it seems to have met with success on that front. For my part, it is hard not to like any film which includes lines like "A princess never chases a chicken" - I'll bet Mia never came across that one in finishing school. Julie Andrews is also a major asset - I love her voice, and she sings for the first time in 8 years in one scene, haltingly, but with enough charm to bring a tear to the eye.

    The director, Garry Marshall, was also responsible for Pretty Woman and a lot of the good humour from that film is apparent here, as is a winning performance from Hector Elizondo (his 14th appearance in a Marshall film). The costume design is sumptuous and John Rhys-Davies as Nicholas' uncle is a suitably sneaky villain (boo, hiss). The film is predictable, but has enough charm to please its target audience, while being a pleasant enough filler for any adults watching with the family.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer on the disc is pleasing, as it should be for such a recent film.

    The aspect ratio is 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is its theatrical release ratio.

    The picture is clear and sharp, with acceptable shadow detail and no low level noise. There are some low light scenes with very good detail (as at 24:44 in a dimly lit room and at 71:17 during an outdoor scene), but there is some loss of detail in dark areas in other scenes.

    The colours on offer here are rich and vibrant. The flowers strewn about the palace show up very nicely, as does the glorious red dress Hathaway wears early in the film. Flesh tones look natural which is always a good sign.

    There are occasional positive and negative artefacts on view, which is slightly disappointing for such a recent film. Otherwise the picture quality is fine.

    I sampled the English and the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles (there are another 13 to choose from). Both sets are very good, capturing almost every word spoken, with the latter set including a reasonable range of cues for off-screen action.

    The layer change is at 73:00 and was brief and unobtrusive on the two DVD players I checked it on.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is acceptable and for a romantic comedy it does the job - just don't pull this disc out if you are looking for something to impress your friends with.

    There are three main audio tracks, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s, and Italian and Spanish tracks encoded at 384 Kb/s. The commentary tracks are Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks available in a wide range of languages. I listened to the English 5.1 and the English commentary tracks in their entirety, and sampled the Spanish 5.1 track. The latter was rather thin, with the dubbed dialogue rarely matching the movement of the actors' mouths, and the voices sounding nothing like a match for the image on the screen.

    Dialogue was clear at all times, with good audio sync. As the film is largely dialogue driven the clarity on offer was appreciated.

    The music by John Debney is understated, and there are long periods in the film with no music at all, though the music is effective enough when present. It is mixed at a level suitable to the rest of the audio when it does kick in.

    There is very little surround presence worthy of mention here. What is present is mostly due to the music and the songs (which are pretty good) which pop up on occasion. The most notable period of activity is during the coronation scene (listen in at 100:49), when the subwoofer also adds a little bass activity - it is barely engaged otherwise.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is a fair range of extras on the disc, though they lack a little depth. There is no trailer, which is a little amusing as 'bare bones' discs often include one and nothing else; yet here we have a number of extras and no trailer.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced and has audio and some minor animation. It has the usual options to Play the film, or go to the Bonus Features, Scene Selection (12 of those) and Set Up (language and subtitles). The extras are discussed in the order they appear on the disc menu.

Deleted Scenes

    There are 8 deleted scenes, running 17:29 in all. They are presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with stereo sound, and each one is preceded by an introduction from the director (there is no option to skip this introduction). While most of them are well left out of the feature, they are interesting enough, particularly a scene with Nicholas cooking. It is an interesting insight into film making to see how much is left on the cutting room floor - even more deleted scenes not on the DVD are mentioned during the commentary.

Royal Bloopers

    In stereo sound at a mix of aspect ratios this is a short (3:55) and mildly amusing collection.

Games & Activities

    I'm not sure about the plural title for this one, as there is just the one game, the truly epic Find Your Inner Princess. Before playing this awesome trivia game I was not even aware that I had an inner princess. Apparently, mine is a dreamer. OK, I'll own up - this is really dire.

Making A Return Engagement

    Hosted by Raven, a popular young singer who also appears in the film, this is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is the typical short feature made to promote the film but is a little too brief at 15:37.

The PD2 Makeover

    This boring bit of fluff runs for 11:03 and follows Hathaway's stand-in as she tells us how to fix our hair, make up and clothing to match that of Mia in the film.

Breakaway Music Video by Kelly Clarkson

    American Idol star Kelly Clarkson appears in a fairly good video clip singing (very nicely too) one of the pleasant songs from the film. This is in 2.0 stereo sound, at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1, non 16x9 enhanced. It runs for 4:02.

A Julie and Gary Commentary

    Julie Andrews and director Garry Marshall present a rather hokey but occasionally amusing commentary ("Hello DVD people, this is Julie Andrews"). In between munching candy (Marshall) and drinking gallons of tea (Andrews) and discussing a lot of irrelevant trivia we gain a few insights into the making of the movie (and suffer through some very bad in-jokes). It is all relaxed and pleasant, rather like the film, and we do at least find out a lot about the flowers which grace almost every scene.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release of the disc is virtually identical to the Region 4, missing only a few subtitle options. There is no preferable version.

Summary

    This is a solid DVD, presenting a film most of the family will enjoy.

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio transfer does what it sets out to do, without being particularly notable.

    The extras add to the enjoyment of the film, while being a little shallow overall.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

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