The Prince & Me Studio: Paramount Year: 2004 Rated: PG Length: 110 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, French; English Dolby Surround; English Commentary track English, Spanish subtitles; Closed Captioned in English Special Features: Director Commentary, 3 Featurettes, 8 Deleted / Extended Scenes, Gag Reel, Theatrical Trailer, Previews M.A.P. $19.95 USD Release Date: August 10, 2004 The Prince & Me is a Cinderella story, plain and simple - yet another film adaptation of this familiar theme. It stars Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox and Miranda Richardson. Paige (Stiles) is a pre-med student, sidetracked from her goals when she meets “Eddie,” an “exchange student” who turns out to be the Prince of Denmark, a man trying to escape the royal life he never chose. Will Paige give up her career goal of becoming a doctor, or will Eddie sacrifice life as a King, in order to be with eachother? Or, will they find another way? There is really little to say about the plot, since we all know it so well. It sometimes puzzles me why Hollywood revisits this story so often. There may be a few new twists here and there, but it is essentially the same old story. The script is entirely predictable, and the direction by Martha Coolidge manages to hit all the clichés - including the dizzying “camera spins around embracing couple” shot. The film does have some saving graces. Its strength is firmly rooted in the strong and believable performances of the cast. Most notably, Julia Stiles has a charming and true to life turn in the Cinderella role, and Miranda Richardson adds authority to the piece as the Queen of Denmark. The Prince & Me has charm, if not originality. It may not be a bad way to pass a couple of hours, although it has that somewhat “familiar” feel. A note on the user experience... In a disappointing backward move, Paramount has put semi-forced trailers on this title. These cannot all be skipped by pressing the “Menu” key, they must be skipped one at a time with the chapter forward key. So, after five repetitions on the remote, you’re ready for a snack - and you’ll have plenty of time, too, since Paramount’s unskippable copyright notice comes next. Video The Prince & Me is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is anamorphically enhanced. The image is sharp and has excellent contrast, and there is no evidence of blooming on hard edges. The picture presents solid whites and good detail in the shadows. Colors are well saturated, shifting from warm to cool palettes as the photographic style dictates. Grain is very mild to virtually nonexistent. I can find little to complain about, here... this is an admirable transfer. Audio There are four audio choices: Dolby Digital English 5.1, Dolby Digital English 2.0, Dolby Digital French 5.1, and the director’s commentary track (DD 2.0). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is spacious in its presentation, offering up a detailed soundfield - especially for what amounts to a romantic comedy. The few action scenes are well mixed, giving a workout to the surrounds and making use of the LFE track where appropriate. Crowd scenes and location shots exhibit a good use of the entire soundfield for ambiance. The mix has a subtle but accurate feel to it, overall. Special Features Special Features are not anamorphically enhanced. Commentary by director Martha Coolidge The portions of the commentary that I sampled were quite interesting. Martha Coolidge speaks volumes on choices of style, script, camera work, location choices, and cutting. While not technically detailed, Coolidge provides a broad spectrum of information in this commentary, never pausing for more than a moment. The Lawnmower Race of The Prince & Me (6:38) This is a short fluff piece - a behind-the-scenes short on the lawnmower race seen in the film, a bit of background on the sport, and some tidbits on the days of shooting. The Look of The Prince & Me (14:27) Martha Coolidge and other key members of the film’s crew talk about the stylistic choices and location shoots in Europe and Canada. Much is said of the language barriers involved in location shooting in Eastern Europe. Discussion of set design and color choices is also heard. I particularly enjoyed the content relating to photography. Inside the Fairy Tale: The Prince & Me (13:17) Principle cast and crew discuss their participation in the making of the film. Deleted / Extended Scenes There are 8 deleted / extended scenes provided in the Special Features menu, with an available “play all” option. The scenes include: Eddie Watches Paige Dance Yoga Class Eddie Dances, Gets Paycheck Beatrice Sells Eddie’s Location to Photographers Acceptance Letter / Chem Exam Eddie and Paige in Denmark Paige Wishes Eddie Luck in Negotiations Alternate Ending Few of the deleted segments are of such importance as to be missed in the film, though a couple of them do flesh out some of the events in the story. Gag Reel (2:27) Theatrical Trailer Previews The Spongebob Squarepants Movie Mean Girls Secret Central Class of ‘05 School of Rock The Perfect Score Final Thoughts While I think this film lacks originality, it does have charming performances all around. If you don’t mind a familiarity to your films, this is an okay way to pass a couple of hours. Paramount has provided an admirable transfer for this film on DVD.