19 April 2014

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews)

It's five years since we watched (and very much enjoyed) the original Princess Diaries film. So when I saw the sequel in a charity shop, it was an easy decision to buy it. It took us a few months to get around to watching it.

'Princess Diaries 2', subtitled 'Royal Engagement', continues where the first film ended. Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) is living in Genovia with her grandmother the Queen (Julie Andrews), after deciding that she will accept her inheritance, and become Queen when her grandmother abdicates. Except that it's not as straightforward as it seems. The Prime Minister reminds parliament that there is a law requiring a Queen to be married. He also mentions another contender for the throne...

So Mia, after ranting about the unfairness of it all, decides to choose an eligible young man and embark on an arranged marriage.

It's light and silly, undoubtedly. But also amusing in places, with great rapport between Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, who still looks elegant and considerably younger than 70. Mia’s awkwardness, despite her princess lessons, shines through in some cleverly choreographed moments, and there are some interesting scenes about the balance between duty and love.

All in all, we thought this made a worthy sequel and enjoyed it.

There is only the mildest of bad language and innuendoes; the rating U (or G) is about right, but this is unlikely to be of much interest to anyone under the age of about nine or ten.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's DVD Reviews

16 April 2014

Marley and Me (starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston)

We saw this film in a charity shop for a couple of pounds, and thought it looked worth buying; we decided to watch it last night, wanting something light and undemanding.

'Marley and Me' is exactly that. There's no great plot in this film; essentially it's the story of a young couple (Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) who adopt puppy, who quickly turns into a rumbunctuous dog. Meanwhile, they go through some stressful times in their marriage as their family grows and they have to make important decisions about their careers.

And yet it's a very engaging story that captivated us from the start. The chemistry between the two main actors is strong, and the dog Marley an absolute delight. We're not 'dog people' - and even less inclined to be so after watching this! - but there are some very funny moments as well as some sad scenes, which are beautifully done. Had we been dog owners, we would probably have cried at the end; I admit only to feeling a tear or two pricking my eyelids.

Overall, I appreciated a story featuring a family who genuinely care for each other, who have good rapport and who stick together despite often difficult circumstances. Marley undoubtedly provided most of the humour (and some of the tension between his family) but it was essentially a story of growing love and loyalty between all the family members.

There's almost no bad language and no on-screen violence; however, there's one violent off-stage scene, several innuendoes and the beginnings of bedroom scenes. There is also more than one scene showing the dog 'humping' someone or something. There's nothing overt and no obvious nudity, but parents should take note of the "PG" rating - if you don't want a small child asking awkward questions, it might be worth avoiding. although under-12s would probably find it a bit dull, other than the Marley scenes. A sensitive dog-loving child could find the ending very traumatic.

There are lots of extras, which we thought well worth seeing. They include some great deleted scenes, some dog-training demonstrations, and much more.

Recommended if you want a light film that promotes positive family values.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews