Movie Review: The Princess Diaries (2001)

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Plot: Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her 16th year. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0247638/

Rating: 7/10

Watching The Princess Diaries fourteen years after it first came out brings back so many nostalgic memories. Can there be anything better to see than Anne Hathaway before she was annoying AF? Then there is the subtle reminder that Julie Andrews will always be the Queen of the Universe and is unparalleled in beauty and class. We have some Mandy Moore before she went AWOL, perfect as the nightmare of any teenage girl’s dreams – the perfect, preppy and quite nasty Lana Thomas. We have Josh Bryan – the boy, who looking back, no one can quite understand why everyone thought he was hot back in the day (Hormones are shady business).We have Heather Matarazzo as Lilly Moscovitz, who is the best chosen cast member in this movie. I enjoyed Robert Schwartzman as Michael Moscovitz, although I wouldn’t have chosen him to play Michael on my own accord.

Then there is the whole storyline. It is quite preposterous, but who doesn’t want to learn that they are the Princess and Heiress to a small and beautiful country, and that your grandmamma is Julie Andrews?! I mean, come on. Mia Thermopolis is the spirit animal of every teenage girl – shy, gawky and sure you are somehow a freakish creation that will never find a man. Mia’s transformation is lovely to see but the whole eventual point of the story remains clear – if you don’t believe in yourself, there is no amount of power in the world that can really change your destiny.

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As for the changes from the book to movie (you can read my review of the first Princess Diaries book here), I think that some were well done and others didn’t make sense to even change. Mia’s hair is brown in here, and I think that suits her character better. Queen Clarisse is much nicer, which works better yet again. Then there are small things like Mia’s mom not dating her Algebra teacher but her history one, which seems stupid because one of Mia’s funniest problems in the book is her adversity to math. Her father is also dead, not the faintly pompous but alive version we meet in the books. The first three books are also squeezed into one movie – something that works okay as the books are thin and quick reads.

I really enjoyed the movie – I can see that it is not the best movie made or anything, but there is so much fun and heart and teenage silliness in here that it is easy to ignore anything not so stellar about this. And who ever said that there is anything wrong with Popcorn Entertainment?