Remakes have been made of several movies, some better than others. Disney has made newer versions of several of their older, successful movies. I think one of the better remakes was 1998's The Parent Trap.
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Hallie Parker was being raised by her father Nick on the vineyard he owned in California. Annie James was being raised by her mother Elizabeth, a wedding dress designer, in London. Both the girls were sent to the same summer camp and were shocked when they met and discovered they looked identical. The girls figured out that they were twins and devised a plan to switch places so they could spend time with the parent they had never met and also try to get their parents back together.
Hallie was thrilled to spend time in London with Elizabeth and her grandfather. Annie was glad to have time with her dad, but she was alarmed by the fact that Nick had gotten engaged to Meredith Blake. Hallie then had to tell Elizabeth what was going on much sooner than the girls had originally planned. The sisters kept plotting to get their parents back together while Nick and Elizabeth tried to deal with seeing each other again.
I have never seen all of the original version of the movie. I’ve only seen a little bit of it on television years ago. I do remember seeing some of the sequel movies on television that were set when the original sisters were adults. From the little I have seen of the original that I’ve seen, I believe that the 1998 version has the same plot. Some things were probably somewhat for the new version, though I’m not sure what. The only things I know for sure that were changed were the names of the girls and some of the other characters, including their parents.
The opening credits of The Parent Trap showed images from when Nick and Elizabeth got married before jumping into showing the girls at camp. It didn’t take to long for them to meet, figure out that they were twins, and then come up with the plan to switch places once they left camp. The rest of the movie focused on how the girls were working to get their parents back together. The movie really wasn’t complicated even though a lot was going on. The situation with Meredith was more of a subplot even though it did impact the main plot. It added complications to the sister’s plans to try to get their parents back together. There were a few other subplots as well that did add a few surprises. Those few surprises kept the movie from being completely predictable even though much of what happened was predictable.
I thought that The Parent Trap was a fairly funny movie overall. Several of the laughs happened while the girls were still at camp and developing their plan while getting to know each other. Slapstick type of humor was used in a few scenes and did come off as slightly silly while still working for the movie and what was going on. Chessy, Nick’s housekeeper, and Martin, Elizabeth’s butler, also said and did things that added humor to what was happening. The comedy was a bit kinder overall without really being mean spirited like happens in m many of the newer movies. Meredith was on the receiving end of some pranks pulled by the girls that weren’t exactly nice even though they were funny. She had already established herself as a nasty character, so it really didn’t seem mean when the girls did a few things to her.
Once the girls traded places, events were set in motion that set up a love triangle between Elizabeth, Nick, and Meredith. Nick and Meredith were affectionate with each other without doing anything offensive. It did seem like Nick and Elizabeth still had feelings for each other that they were forced to deal with once they saw each other again. Their relationship was complicated even without Meredith being in the middle. I did like that some details from their marriage were eventually shared. There was a connection between Nick and Elizabeth that was missing between him and Meredith. One of the subplots featured a budding romance between two other characters that was also entertaining.
Hallie and Annie were obviously the main characters with the movie revolving around them and their plan to reunite their parents. The girls had their own personalities while still sharing some similarities. They were smart, resourceful, and devious at times but nice and likable overall. Lindsay Lohan did a really good job playing both sisters and making them different in small ways. She was showing a lot of potential in what was her first movie, years before her life spiraled out of control.
Nick and Elizabeth were also important to what was going on even though they weren’t in as much of the movie. They had come up with the idea to each raise one of the girls when their marriage fell apart mostly because they didn’t want to deal with seeing each other again. Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson were great in the parts. There was chemistry between them that made the connection more believable.
Meredith didn’t seem to truly care for Nick and she certainly didn’t want to deal with a stepdaughter. She just wanted to get her hands on Nick’s money. She wasn’t nice or likable in any way. Elaine Hendrix did a really good job in the part. Chessy had been Nick’s housekeeper for many years and she had helped to raise Hallie. She was a very kind woman who didn’t particularly care for Meredith. I thought Lisa Ann Walter was good in the part. Martin had been Elizabeth’s butler for years and was almost like a member of the family. Simon Kunz was good in the part.
Elaine Hendrix - Meredith
Simon Kunz - Martin
Lindsay Lohan - Annie James/Hallie Parker
Dennis Quaid - Nick Parker
Natasha Richardson - Elizabeth James
Lisa Ann Walter - Chessy
Nancy Meyers - Director
I first rented The Parent Trap shortly after it was released on video. Since then I have seen it several times on television, usually chopped up by numerous commercial breaks. I believe a few minor things tend to be edited out when it is shown on television. The movie is available on DVD. I think I have seen widescreen and full screen versions, but I might be remembering wrong. Since I don’t have the DVD, I don’t know what type of extras are included.
The Parent Trap was a fun, entertaining family movie that is worth seeing. It featured Lindsay Lohan in her one of her better performances before her life and career started to spiral out of control.
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