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Kevin Krock, editor

DVD Review

Ice Princess
(2005) | Approx. 99 min | Rated G | Reviewed August 15, 2005 by Lisa Perkis
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Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio*** Video***
Goodies@@Interface@@
Value***

The Movie

Super-smart high school student Casey Carlyle (Michelle Tractenberg) has never quite fit in. She is a brilliant science student, but has a secret dream of becoming a championship figure skater. She finds herself caught between her mother (Joan Cusack), who has her on the fast track to Harvard, and skating coach (Kim Cattrall), who sees championship potential in Casey. Will Casey ever make up her mind? Will her love interest (Trevor Blumas) go off-loading with the Zamboni? Will there be a dramatic music video climax? Yes, yes, and yes. This is a tween Disney flick, after all.


© Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

I was pretty hard on the film when I saw it in the theatre (as part of Alex Stroup's original review of this movie here) but seeing it on DVD has somewhat softened my feelings. It's a harmless diversion for 99 minutes, and hits its target demographic (girls ages 7 to 13) squarely on the nose. Tractenberg is a lovely young actress, and Cusack is always fun to watch—even though in this film she is stripped of most of her playful personality.

The Goodies

Deleted scenes

The deleted scenes are presented, but without any commentary by the director as to why they were cut from the film. Most are just very quick introductory scenes leading into the main scene that was left in the film.

Alternate opening

The alternate opening is a scene less than three minutes long showing Casey as a young girl escaping math homework to go skate on her pond. I felt it would have been a good opening to the movie, since it gives a little more history to her love of ice skating, and showcases a cute young actress who can skate credibly. It's an interesting, but not earth-shattering extra scene.

Music videos

The DVD includes two music videos: “Reach” by Caleigh Peters and “No One” by Aly and A.J. Both include clips of the film and have had heavy rotation on the Disney Channel. Aly and A.J. are being promoted as the latest Disney musical talent, so look for them in future Disney Mania CD compilations.

Audio commentary

Director Tim Fywell is conspicuously absent from the commentary. Instead, the young male love interest (Trevor Blumas) is there, along with a gaggle of giggling girls (Michelle Tractenberg, Hayden Pantiere, and Kristen Olsen) who pepper the commentary with squeals of “oohhh, I love that outfit!” and “Don't I look hot in this scene?” That's an actual quote. The actresses are not differentiated on the screen with subtitles, which makes it very hard to distinguish between them. Perhaps Disney figured young girls don't care about the director's reasoning behind particular scenes. However, after the delightful commentaries with Julie Andrews, Gary Marshall, and Anne Hathaway on the Princess Diary films, I expected much more from this one.

Interface

Once again, the interface is very bare—some background music from the soundtrack, pictures of various characters from the film, and the list of features. Since there is not a lot of bonus material, the interface is extremely easy to navigate.

The Audio, Video, and Interface

The soundtrack is presented on Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds crisp and even. The picture is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The colors and tones are very natural. Interestingly, Disney released a separate DVD for the reformatted full screen edition; it could have fit very easily on one disc, given the scarcity of bonus material.

The Final Evaluation

Compared to the lavish multi-disc releases of other similar Disney movies, such as the Princess Diaries and Freaky Friday, this release is very bare-bones. I would have expected at least one “The Making of Ice Princess” documentary or commentary from the director. Ice skating fans would have appreciated some more information about how they used real figure skaters to fill in for the actors, or perhaps some real-life skating stories. Lots of missed opportunities here. Perhaps they are waiting for the 10-year anniversary of the film to release more goodies, but I doubt this film will have that kind of staying power.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lisa here.


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ABOUT THE EDITOR

Kevin “Doc” Krock is been a long-time animation buff and home theater fan. He's been following the rise of the DVD format in the home market since its introduction, and he hopes to help you make the most of your family's home theater viewing time and video collections.

You can contact Kevin here.

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