Princess on DVD
Disney’s Ice Princess is extremely predictable yet, despite
that, it manages to work. What we have is a combination "pursuit
of excellence "story with a little youthful rebellion, coming
of age and even some romance thrown in for good measure.
And it all combines to create a sweet “feel good” movie
that’s far better than we had expected.
Michelle Trachtenberg is Casey Carlyle, a whiz kid physics geek
who needs a project to propel her toward a Harvard scholarship.
As it turns out, she’s also a fan of figure skating, and that
gives her the hook she needs: analyzing the jumps and other movements
of the sport to come up with scientific rationale for them.
This leads to her discovering a mathematical formula she can use
to help skaters improve their performance, but that isn’t
enough: the college powers that be don’t just want hard numbers,
they want passion and personal involvement. So Casey applies her
research to herself, enlisting in beginner skaters’ classes
and quickly discovering that not only does her theory work, but
that she has a true gift for figure skating – much to her
It’s also much to her mother’s (Joan Cusack) chagrin.
Mummy is a feminist whacko and teacher who looks upon such fluff
as figure skating as things that set back the cause of feminism
decades. To her, a strong, beautiful and talented woman happily
pursuing her dreams on her own terms isn’t as important as
doing what’s right for the Sisterhood.
So Casey hides her budding skating career from her, setting up
the inevitable confrontation when mummy finally discovers her daughter’s
Meanwhile, Casey is now learning from an ex-Olympian (Kim Cattrall),
who has her own baggage in the form of “skating skeletons
in her closet.” She’s now a professional skating instructor
whose daughter is one of her prize protégés, while
her son fixes stuff and drives the Zamboni – and is in danger
of becoming Casey’s love interest.
As Casey trains, the sport becomes increasingly important to her,
so much so that she starts wondering if she really wants the Ivy
League life or whether she’d be happier following her artistic
bent. But the skating world is full of its own speed bumps, such
as bitter rivalries and competitors who’ll stop at nothing,
the expense and time commitment necessary to excel, the relatively
short “shelf life” of a pro skater. It’s an eye
opener for her, but she presses on.
The action on the ice is very well staged (it looks as if the
actresses are actually doing their own skating, which is either
a testament to the casting or the editing), the story unfolds logically
for the most part (until the Zamboni shows up on Casey’s favorite
pond, anyway) and Trachtenberg is very appealing in the lead role
(despite getting only third billing). Cattrall and Cusack show us
the dark side of adulthood, whether it be by being a stage mother
(and there are different types of stages, not all of which are artistic,
as is clearly shown here), a shallow person, or an ideologue. Trevor
Blumas is also quite appealing as the romantic interest, kind of.
Ice Princess is really about so much more than just skating. It’s
about pursuing your dreams, what you love; it’s about having
the guts to take chances and to make big decisions that could change
your life. It’s about dealing with parental and peer pressure,
honor, and taking control of your own life. Sure it’s predictable,
but it’s also inspiring and it works.
The DVD is pretty good. It’s sold in separate anamorphic
widescreen and Pan&Scan versions, unfortunately, instead of
offering them in the same box. Fortunately, we got the widescreen
version and the picture quality is very good, nice and sharp and
clean and colorful.
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and it’s also very good.
You also get a reasonable selection of extras. There’s an
alternate opening (how’s that for a change of pace from multiple
endings?) a number of deleted scenes, a couple of music videos (Reach
by Caleigh Peters and No One by Aly and A.J.) and a running commentary
Ice Princess, from Walt Disney Home Entertainment
99 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1, 16x9 TV compatible)/Pan&Scan
(Sold separately), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Starring Michelle Trachtenburg, Joan Cusack, Kim Cattrall
Produced by Bridget Johnson
Written by Hadley Davis, directed by Tim Fywell
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think