Archive for arranged marriage

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Five years after the first film, Crown Princess of Genovia Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has just graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is returning to Genovia with her bodyguard Joe (Héctor Elizondo). There, she will await her reign once her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), steps down as Queen. During Mia’s 21st birthday party, she dances with all the eligible bachelors in hope of finding a husband. She becomes attracted to a handsome gentleman named Nicholas (Chris Pine). During the course of the night, Mia’s tiara falls off and is caught by a Member of Parliament, Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) who secretly plans to steal Mia’s crown. While the Parliament is in-session the next morning, Mia stumbles upon a hidden room that allows her to secretly listen in. Viscount Mabrey reveals his nephew, Lord Devereaux, is another heir to the Genovian throne. Despite Queen Clarisse’s objection, the only way Mia can assume her duties as Queen is if she marries within the month. Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux to stay at the palace, while Mia is shocked to discover Lord Devereaux is Nicholas. Mia’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) surprises her by visiting. Together, they pick through potential husbands. Mia eventually chooses Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and days later they are engaged. Mabrey plans to have Nicholas woo Mia and dissolve the engagement.

For a ceremony, Mia is to ride sidesaddle but does not know how. Queen Clarisse provides an ancestral wooden leg decoy to make it look like she’s riding sidesaddle. Mabrey spooks Mia’s horse with a rubber snake and Joe rushes to Mia’s aide, but accidentally tears off the wooden leg. Humiliated, Mia flees to the stables, where Nicholas fails to comfort her. At a garden party, Mia and Nicholas quarrel about Mia’s relationship with Andrew; Nicholas tricks Mia into admitting she doesn’t love him. Angered, she argues but instead gets bombarded by a kiss. At first, she kisses him back but then backs away. Nicholas pursues her even more, which causes both of them to fall into a fountain. Queen Clarisse finally tells Mia that her behavior with Nicholas needs to stop.

During the Genovian Independence Day parade, Mia sees some boys picking on a little girl (Abigail Breslin), and abruptly halts the parade to comfort the girl. Learning the children are orphans, Mia has a vendor give them all tiaras and lets them walk with her in the parade. Everyone is impressed by her act of generosity, while Mabrey sees it as a political maneuver. Mia later decides to convert one of the royal palaces into a temporary children’s center. That night, Mia has her bachelorette/sleepover party, where Queen Clarisse surfs on a mattress and sings a duet with Princess Asana (Raven-Symoné), one of Mia’s good friends. In the meantime, Mabrey realizes Nicholas has fallen for Mia, but Nicholas says that Mia will never love him. Nicholas comes upon Mia as she is practicing her archery as part of her coronation rites. He helps her succeed in getting the arrow to hit the bullseye, something she had been struggling with. Nicholas then informs Mia that he is leaving, but asks to see her just one more time before he goes. She declines, saying she is under close guard.

That night, Nicholas appears outside Mia’s window and asks her to come out. Lilly encourages her to go, and Mia sneaks out. They ride out to a lake where they share secrets, dance and eventually fall asleep. They awaken to find a man in a boat videotaping them. Mia thinks Nicholas set her up, while he insists he had no idea. By the time Mia gets back to the palace, the scandalous footage is already being broadcast. Andrew is disappointed and kisses Mia to see if there is a romantic spark between them. They realize they do not love each other, but do not call off the wedding for the good of Genovia. The wedding is to take place the following day, and Mia’s mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) comes with her new husband Patrick (Sean O’Bryan) and their newborn son Trevor. Nicholas decides against attending, but his surly housekeeper Gretchen informs him that Mabrey engineered their televised scandal.

Right before the wedding, Joe informs Mia that Nicholas is innocent. Queen Clarisse encourages Mia to follow her heart, something she has never done and has now cost her Joe, the only man she truly loved. Mia reenters the church, and after pointing out how her grandmother has ruled Genovia while unmarried for a number of years, she tells the members of parliament in the audience to consider the significant women in their lives (such as their wives, sisters, daughters and nieces) and questions if they would have them do what they’re trying to force her to do (marrying people they don’t love). Mabrey cites the law again and once again suggests that his nephew be named King, but just then, Nicholas not only refuses the crown, but also disowns Mabrey as his uncle. Mia proposes the law on royal marriages be abolished, and the Parliament unanimously gives its assent. Encouraged by Mia to have her own happy ending, Clarisse proposes to Joe and they are promptly married.

About a week later, Mia is preparing for her coronation when Nicholas shows up. He professes his love for Mia on bended knees, and they share a romantic kiss. The next day, Mia is crowned “Her Majesty Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Queen of Genovia”, with all in attendance in the royal palace.

An epilogue shows that Genovian Parliament now allows female members, one of whom is Charlotte. And Queen Mia officially opens the children’s home

REVIEW:

Sometimes when the end credits roll on a film you wonder if you will ever see the characters again and what will they be up to the next time we see them, should we be privileged enough to see them again. This was the case with The Princess Diaries. The film ended in a way that left the audience wondering what happens next. Enter The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, a film that I swear I was not meant to see (up until tonight, I have never been able to watch it straight through for various reasons). With all that aside, let’s see if this film is comparable to its predecessor.

What is this about?

Directed by Garry Marshall, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement picks up where its predecessor left off — that is, with American teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) reeling over the news that she is a princess within the royal family of Genovia, a little-known European nation with a population of barely 50,000. As promised, Mia, along with her best friend, Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), travels to Genovia after their high-school graduation. The unlikely princess has hardly settled into the castle, let alone begun representing the country, when she learns that a larger title is approaching more rapidly than expected; it seems as though Mia will have to take over as queen. Suddenly, in addition to further schooling on the etiquette of royalty, Mia finds herself with a daunting prospect — according to Genovian law, all princesses must be married before they can be crowned.

What did I like?

One more once. Not too long before the first film was made, Julie Andrews underwent surgery on her throat/vocal chords. The operation was a success, but she was no longer allowed to sing. I’m not sure what happened, but we get a song from her during the slumber party, albeit nowhere near as strong a vocal performance as we expect from her. Still, it is great to hear her sing a few notes.

In her skin. In this second time out, Anne Hathaway, as Princess Mia, seems much more confident both as an actress and the character as a royal. Can you imagine what this would have been like if she was still bumbling around like she was when we first met her? Granted, she does still have those moments that remind us that while she is the would be queen, the clumsy prep school girl is still in there somewhere.

Grandmother. Julie Andrews’ character is on her way out of the royal spotlight and off the throne as Mia takes her rightful place as ruler of Genovia. It is because of this that I think she is able to not be such a “stick in the mud” and be more of a grandmother towards her granddaughter. We get a few scenes where she is chewing her out, of course, but for the most part, she is the dream grandmother we all wish we had. She had poise, class, elegance, compassion…not to mention she’s Julie Freakin’ Andrews!!!

What didn’t I like?

Nevermore. Aside from her best friend, Lily, who was flown in from California (and felt a bit forced into the film), Mia seems to be close to Princess Asana. There are two glaring issues I want to bring up with this. First, if they are so close, why is Asana only in a couple of scenes? Second, who is she? How did they meet? Why are they so close? Mia grew up with Lily and they were both outsider freaks in high school, so we know that’s why they were so close, but with Asana, we get none of that. She’s just a random character that gets to sing with Julie Andrews.

Formula 1. Is it me or with every film, book, or tv show that involves a royal change of power of sorts, we get someone who wants to prove they are next in line. This is such a cliché’ nowadays. One could tell what was going to happen before it actually does, just by the film’s title and the type of film this is. Come on filmmakers, be creative!

Lionel. Joe, who is retiring when the Queen leaves the throne, is sacked with an intern in his last days. What I found odd about this guy was how he reminded me of Michael from the first film, but with darker skin and slightly shorter hair. This got me thinking…with the way Mia fawned over Michael in the first film, wouldn’t it have been a cool idea for him to show up as Lionel in disguise and be her dream ending? Of course, then Chris Pine’s whole character in this film would be worthless, but he goes on too much bigger and better things after this, so he’ll be fine.

Final verdict on The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement? Let’s see…it repeats some of the same notes from the first film. The soundtrack isn’t as catchy this go-round. Chemistry among the characters is so-so, but I actually believed it in the archery scene with Hathaway and Pine. The mattress surfing scene was perhaps the most fun part of the film. Do I recommend this? Yes, a good (non animated) family film is hard to find. While not great, it is somewhat entertaining and that’s worth something. However, I would suggest going for the first film, if you can.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Mulan II

Posted in Animation, Disney, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A month after the events of the first film, General Shang asks Mulan for her hand in marriage, which she accepts. Hearing about their engagement, Mushu is thrilled for them-until the leader of the ancestors informs him that if Mulan gets married, he will lose his job as a guardian dragon and have to leave her and his pedestal, his place of honor as a guardian. The reason for this is because Mulan would be getting married to Shang, thus she becomes a part of his family which requires her to have his family ancestors and guardians.

Wanting to keep his job and his friend, Mushu attempts to tear the couple apart (especially for selfish reasons, but, officially, because he sees that they are not very compatible). Meanwhile, the Emperor calls upon Mulan and General Shang to escort his three daughters- Princesses Mei, Ting-Ting, and Su across China to be betrothed to three princes so that an alliance can be formed with the kingdom of Qui Gong. If the task is not completed within three days, the alliance will crumble, and the Mongols will destroy China.

Mulan and Shang set out, along with Yao, Ling and Chien-Po (from the first film), to safely escort the princesses to their new kingdom. However, due to Mushu’s interferences and the fact that the three princesses are upset by their arranged marriages and actually love Chien-Po, Ling, and Yao, Mulan decides to go against her orders and, despite Shang’s wishes, stop the joining of kingdoms. One night, Chien-Po, Ling and Yao take the princesses out to a village where they impress the girls with their antics. Meanwhile, Mushu tricks Shang into thinking Mulan is taking advantage of him.

They then go through bandit country. Pressured by Cri-Kee, Mushu confesses to Mulan on what he had done. Enlightened about the news (yet mad at Mushu), Mulan tries to talk to Shang when bandits attack. While saving the three princesses, the bridge they are on breaks, and General Shang and Mulan are left dangling off a broken bridge. Since the rope can only support the weight of one person, Shang sacrifices his life to save Mulan and lets go of her hand, falling into the river.

Mulan then continues alone to Qui Gong. Not wanting the princesses to be forced into marriage, and because Shang is dead, she offers herself to marry one of the ruler’s sons. Shang, who actually survived the fall, finds out about it and tries to stop her. Mushu decides to help by pretending to be the Great Golden Dragon of Unity, who forces the ruler to stop the marriage. Mulan and Shang get married and the princesses are released from their vows, again thanks to Mushu. At the end, Shang combines the family temples. This means that Mushu gets to keep his job, and in his happiness, he accidentally reveals himself to Shang, even though Mulan already told Shang about Mushu. Mulan, Shang, and Mushu live happily ever after.

REVIEW:

Disney has not had the best record when it comes to their direct-to-DVD sequels. Very few of them, no matter how good the original was, have been worth watching. Mulan 2 did nothing to change that tradition, but I have been curious as to what happened after Mulan ended, haven’t you?

What is this about?

Courageous heroine Mulan and her hilarious luck dragon, Mushu, are back in this sequel to Disney’s smash hit. But Mushu frets when Mulan gets engaged, fearing he’ll lose his cherished role as her guardian.

What did I like?

They’re back. For the most part, all the character from the original film return. We see Mulan, Shang, the Fa family, Mushu, Cri-kee, the Emperor, Yao, Ling, Chien-Po, and even the matchmaker makes an appearance. Setting wise, there is no change, so there would be no reason to not see the same people, which would justify keeping the same characters, rather than spawning a whole new cast.

Grounded. Of all the Disney princesses (don’t ask me how Mulan is a princess), Mulan is the most realistic and grounded (although, you can make a case for Tiana…without the frog stuff), so it makes sense that this film manages to tackle the topic of opposites attract in her relationship with Shang. It is even brought up that once the initial infatuation is gone, they probably won’t last. This not a topic that is normally mentioned in your typical Disney flick. No, it isn’t necessarily mature or anything like that, just not something you expect to be covered. It was nice that they took the time to go into the problems of their relationship, rather than magically having them live happily ever after. Just a nice change of pace, is all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with happily ever after.

What didn’t I like?

Attitude adjustment. In the first film, the ancestors were ribbing on each other, but they weren’t complete assholes as they have turned into in this film. Who decided they needed to have a change in attitude, I wonder, because this accomplished nothing, except for make them unlikable, including the level-headed lead ancestor. It was like they were bullies to Mushu, then he helped Mulan save China, and they had to be put in their place…resentfully.

Princesses. First, I want to say that the princesses were a nice plot device and match for the guys from the first film. I just wish there wasn’t such a fallback on the arranged marriage trope. Yes, that is tradition in Chinese culture, but this whole scenario was so predictable and uninspired that it brought the whole film down, especially since it was the major plot point.

Music and animation. It is more than obvious this isn’t a big budget production. First, the songs are forgetful and leave you longing for the masterful productions of the original. Second, the animation is down a few levels from the first film. It isn’t bad, but in comparison it is noticeable. Don’t even get me started on non-Eddie Murphy Mushu!

Let’s face it, Mulan II was made for the sole purpose of cashing in on the tremendous popularity of the first film. However, it doesn’t come anywhere near that masterpiece. The film as a whole is a decent attempt, but the execution is lacking. This isn’t the worst of the direct-to-DVD sequels, but I have to say this is one of Disney’s less than stellar outings. Do I recommend this? No, if you’re in the mood for Mulan, then watch the original.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Tromeo & Juliet

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Set in modern-day Manhattan, the film begins with the narrator (Lemmy of Motörhead) introducing two families: the Capulets and the Ques.

At the center of these families is Tromeo Que and Juliet Capulet. Tromeo lives in squalor with his alcoholic father Monty and works at a tattoo parlor with his cousin Benny and friend Murray. Juliet is sequestered in her family’s mansion, watched over by her abusive father Cappy, passive mother Ingrid, and overprotective cousin Tyrone, all the while being sexually satisfied by family servant Ness (Debbie Rochon).

Both Tromeo and Juliet are trapped in cases of unrequited love: Tromeo lusts for the big-bosomed promiscuous Rosie; Juliet is engaged to wealthy meat tycoon London Arbuckle as prelude to an arranged marriage.

In the meantime, a bloody brawl between Murray and Sammy Capulet catches the attention of Detective Ernie Scalus, who gathers the heads of the two families together and declares that they will be held personally accountable for any further breaches of peace. Almost immediately afterwards, Monty and Cappy start threatening each other with weapons. Sammy gets caught in the window of Monty’s speeding car, where he is thrown head-first into a fire hydrant and (very slowly) dies.

On the insistence of Murray and Benny, Tromeo attends the Capulets’ masquerade ball in the hopes of meeting Rosie, only to find another man performing cunnilingus on her. Tromeo staggers around the party in disillusion until he locks eyes with those of Juliet. The two instantly fall for each other and share a dance until an angry Tyrone chases him out of the house.

Tromeo and Juliet continue to be enamored by one another from afar. Cappy, disgusted at his daughter’s active libido, forcefully imprisons her in a plastic cage as punishment. Tromeo sneaks into the house of Capulet and the two meet once again. After proclaiming their love for each other both verbally and physically, they agree to be married. Juliet breaks her engagement with Arbuckle and, with the help of Father Lawrence, the two are married in secrecy the next day.

Tyrone, upon discovering Juliet‘s secret affair, gathers his gang together and challenges Tromeo to a duel. Now a kinsman to the Capulets, Tromeo refuses to fight, suggesting to both sides to bring the life-long feud to an end. Murray accepts the duel on Tromeo’s behalf and, in the ensuing brawl, is mortally wounded by Tyrone‘s club. Tromeo, enraged by his friend’s death, pursues Tyrone and slays him (through a series of car crashes which dismembers him) and goes into hiding from the police.

Learning that she is involved with Tromeo, Cappy savagely beats Juliet and forces her to reconcile with Arbuckle. Arbuckle accepts her re-proposal and the marriage is set. Juliet visits Father Lawrence, who reunites her with Tromeo and enlists the help of Fu Chang, the apothecary, who sells Juliet a special potion which will aide her predicament.

On the day of her wedding, Juliet swallows the apothecary’s potion, transforming her into a hideous cow monster, complete with a three-foot penis. The mere sight of her causes Arbuckle to leap out of Juliet’s window in fright, committing suicide. Enraged over the loss of his would-be son-in-law and meat inheritance, Cappy attempts to rape and murder Juliet, but Tromeo arrives just in time, knocking Cappy unconscious and bringing Juliet’s appearance back to normal by a single kiss. Cappy awakens, taking both lovers captive by crossbow-point. While distracted, Juliet performs one last act of defiance against her father and electrocutes him.

As Tromeo and Juliet leave the house of Capulet, they are confronted by Ingrid and Monty, who reveal to them the real reason behind the Capulet/Que feud: long ago, Cappy and Monty were the owners of the successful Silky Films production company. Ingrid, married to Monty at time, struck up an affair with Cappy, eventually birthing a son which Monty raised as his own. Faced with a divorce from Ingrid and the threat of having his son taken away from him, Monty was forced to sign over all the rights of Silky Films to the Capulets in exchange for his son. After the initial shock at the revelation that they’re siblings, Tromeo and Juliet are determined not to let their whole ordeal be for naught; they passionately embrace and drive off into the sunset.

The film picks up six years later in Tromaville, New Jersey, where Tromeo and Juliet, now married, have become suburban yuppies with a house and (deformed) children of their own.

The film ends with the narrator’s brief poem for the lovers: “And all of our hearts free to let all things base go/As taught by Juliet and her Tromeo”. A brief shot of William Shakespeare laughing uproariously is shown before the end credits.

REVIEW:

 We all know the story of Romeo & Juliet, but you have never seen it like this, I can guarantee you that.

The creative minds behind this twisted take on Shakespeare’s immortal tale are the same people who brought us The Toxic Avenger franchise.

With that in mind, one can sort of go into this film with expectation of gross, violent humor, yet there really isn’t as much as in something like, say, The Toxic Avenger.

Critics apparently were in love with this film, but for some reason I found it boring and hard to follow.

I’m fairly familiar with the source material, so that wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t seem to get into the film, and just when I was getting into it, they would do some weird twist that left you scratching your head wondering, why?

The film isn’t all bad, though. My personal opinion aside, I have to commend them for making a valiant attempt at bringing a new version of Romeo & Juliet to the screen, even if was this skewered take.

Similar to the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo & Juliet, they talk in verse for much of the film, but thankfully, they veer off into “normal” New York lingo.

When all is said and done, critics loved this film, but audiences were torn. For me, I think it suffered from being compared to this company’s other films. Do I think one should see this? Well, I won’t say you should, but I don’t think it is bad enough to avoid like the plague.

2 out of 5 stars