Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Parent Trap II


The Parent Trap. In this remake of the 1960's Hayley Mills classic, viewers get a mixture of the Napa Valley, London, and "Camp Walden" (presumably in Massachusetts). The original contrasted California with Boston; its camp could have been anywhere from Wisconsin to Maine. The new film offers a more international setting, but still compares a stereotypic stuffy place with semi-country.

Its Napa Valley is warm and sunny, with a sense of remoteness imposed by the small plane service to its airport. The landscape is one of vineyards, displayed though panoramic shots of the fields and hills. The vehicle of choice is an SUV, home is a ranch. Yet even a rural portion of the state is impacted by the California of hypocrites and golddiggers, usually associated with southern California. The future stepmom offers this role. Fraud in the fields.parenttrap1

London is "so far away that they haven't heard of Leonardo Decaprio." Classic shots of Big Ben, Harrods, and old buildings tell us where we are. The one I just had to love was a shot of the star and her mother crossing Abbey Road as pictured on the album cover for the Beatles. Even the Volkswagen bug is there. One travels by Rolls Royce. The accents are strong.

Camp Walden is probably in Vermont or Massachusetts, but it is unclear. Easily accessible by car and bus, nestled in the trees, it is still so remote that even the cell phones do not work.

The film/video has some great outdoor scenes that have helped make the movie a success. As a devotee of the original, I have to admit that the original film and the environments were better. The story is much the same, and the acting quality good. It is just that the film has to hit you over the head thinking you might not get the line or the place. The classiness of the original is sacrificed to make sure you "get it." As a youngster I understood the first one perfectly. I knew it was California, and I knew it was Boston. The new one assumes young (and older?) viewers cannot do this. I think they can. They may not be able to find California or London on a map, but they have heard about them.

In the end, it is a pleasant experience for most. I was turned off by the construction of the script, but most would not.

Updated from: Meartz, Paul D. 1997. Media Beat: The Parent Trap. Dakota Alliance 9 (4): April-May 1999: 7.

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