Sunday, August 21, 2011

Princess of my Heart: The Princess Diaries 10th Anniversary retrospective

In August of 2001, this nation was blissfully unaware of how soon one of history’s greatest tragedies was going to befall them. RUSH HOUR 2 was released on August 3rd, 2001 to great success. The movie going audience came together as one to agree that yes, we understand the words coming out of Chris Tucker’s mouth. But another film was released that day that had far more impact than a mediocre east meets west fusion of fighting and sass back. That film introduced the world to a young Miss Annabelle Katrina Hathowitz. Better known under her stage name. Anne Hathaway.

THE PRINCESS DIARIES may not seem like it’s target audience was 14 year old boys, but it certainly targeted a 14 year old Derick Armijo with it’s trailer’s promise of panty hose humor, lipgloss hijinx and the most beautiful woman to ever step down from the heavens.

Watching the trailer again gives me the Phantom Menace bumps all over my arms. As I am sure none of you ever bothered, here comes my interpretation of the events of this landmark film. Young Mia Thermopolis is a dorky teenager who was cursed with the physical afflictions of frizzy hair and bespectacled eyeballs. For this, society has deemed her a monster. Her only friends seem to be a spunky loud mouth played by Weiner Dog and her garage band fronting brother who is the little brother of Jason Schwartzman and actual member of the band Rooney. They are the only solace she finds when being berated and humiliated by Mandy Moore. She wasn’t playing Mandy Moore but it would have been appropriately meta if she did. Mia is very much a female Peter Parker. A hapless schlub who was content with her life and her place in the world until her fate presents itself.

Having never known her father, her paternal family history always remained a mystery. Until her Grandmother shows up to town and reveals herself as Queen of the country of Genovia. And seeing as how her son and heir is dead, informs Mia that she is a Princess and is next in line for the throne. SHUT. UP.

How does a girl deal with this information? NO TIME FOR THAT, WE’VE GOT TO MAKE THIS UGMO OVER! In the grand tradition of Disney ruining the female perception of their own image, the Queen orders that they change everything about Mia. The way she walks. The way she talks. The way she eats. And various other ways to impress important white people. It was only a matter of time before they decided to tame Mia’s wild locks and throw some contacts on her so the emperor of Japan doesn’t throw the fuck up at important UN functions.

When something like this happens to a teenage girl, it’s bound to upset the pecking order in her high school. Again, perpetuating the best in women, the most popular girls take this as a threat of aggression and work further to destroy Mia. Unfortunately Facebook and sexting didn’t exist back then. In girl world, this is akin to a time before nuclear weapons when the only means of battle were with spears and swords. Now, the royals want all of this business kept under wraps so they can officially announce Mia as the future Queen of Genovia at the Genovian Independence Day Ball, conveniently held in San Francisco, California. Well, it leaks out anyway and everyone wants a piece of Mia. Especially Erik Von Detton, (THAT’S MOVIE VERSION OF WALLY CLEAVER TO YOU AND ME) who wants a piece of dat royal azz. He drops Mandy Moore to take Mia to a school sanctioned beach bash. Which is fine, because Mia ditched her best friend’s cable access show and her brother’s date to go. I would probably enjoy the beach more if there were the promise of bashes. But anyway, he takes her sailing and waltzes her around the dance floor a bit before he puts the moves in. The press finds her and Erik wants to kiss her in front of everyone, but she ain’t having it. In this scene, Mandy Moore and other bitches fake an attempt to help Mia evade the papa-paparazzi and end up leaving Mia with her cheese in the wind. This is really close to sexting everyone a picture of your naked body. Kudos Mandy Moore for being ahead of your time.

If Spider-Man had Green Goblin, then Princess Mia had tabloid photos of her making out with dudes and being nude on the beach. This kind of behavior being unprincesslike, the Queen chews her a new royal asshole. Mia decides she’s not up to the trials and tribulations of her title and decides to abstain from her royal duties. But that’s not all she loses. Her friends think she’s totally a b for blowing them off for the popular kids. Before the ball, the Queen gives Mia what I liken to He-Man’s power sword, Captain America’s shield or Thor’s hammer. She gives Mia the titular Princess Diaries, a gift from her late father to write down all her hilarious teenage thoughts. It’s here, that Mia has a serious crisis of faith and contemplates running away to avoid the disappointment of publicly renouncing her princess status at the ball. Mia finds a special message from her father (FROM BEYOND THE GRAAAAVE!) which is a true “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” that lights a fire under her ass to face the music and accept her destiny as ruler of a small but sovereign nation.

This movie had me so hard at this point that her speech was the equivalent of Neo’s “I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end, I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin” speech at the end of THE MATRIX. But instead of hanging up a phone and flying into the sky like Neo to Wake Up by Rage Against the Machine, Mia does the robot to Myra’s Miracles Happen. And they do. When you believe.

And like the Matrix, the movie was followed by a disappointing sequel that I barely remember but it has the new Kirk in it.

THE POINT IS that this movie started a decade long crush with Miss Hathowitz that continues strong to this day. And what’s my 10 year anniversary present? She’s going to Catwoman next summer in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I must have pleased some sort of movie deity. She remains the most beautiful woman in the world and it’s going to take several sweatshop scandals and a hit and run infanticide for me to turn on her. Here’s to the next ten years, Anne. Hopefully by then we’ll be married and you’ll be blogging about me! Oh, Anne. you can wear as many stupid goggles as I want. You will always be first in my heart.

- D