Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez are Disney Channel veterans as far as Disney standards are concerned. Gomez has been on the Disney Channel since 2006, but is most known for her role on Wizards of Waverly Place. Lovato has only be around since 2008, but she has been given the BIG Disney marketing push. You will recognize her from Camp Rock and Sonny Without a Chance, but her music career has also been given a push since her and the Jonas Brothers seem to go hand-in-hand. But it’s time for Lovato to star on her own. Real-life friends Gomez and Lovato co-star in the Disney Channel Original Movie Princesss Protection Program, which premiered on June 26 with a large audience watching. Only four days later, the DVD of this film is available. (June 30 also is the day that the Jonas Brothers concert film arrived on DVD as well, which is probably the reason for the quick release.) But it’s now time to see how Princess stacks up to all the other “DCOMS” that have been previously released.
Selena Gomez plays the tomboyish Carter Mason, who helps out with her father’s bait shop and is normal insomuch as she wants the best-looking guy in school to like her. But popular mean girls Chelsea (Jamie Chung) and Brooke (Samantha Droke) soon push her out of the picture. Then Dad (Tom Verica) gets called away to business again. Turns out the bait shop is just a cover. His real job is with the “Princess Protection Program”, which sole purpose is to rescue, relocate, and ultimately restore threatened or deposed princesses to their thrones. This is all funded by the world’s royalty. But dad’s latest assignment takes him to the small island nation of Costa Luna, where Princess Rosalinda (Demi Lovato) will soon be crowned queen. But during coronation rehearsal an ambitious general from a neighboring small island nation attacks the palace with his men and imprisons Rosalinda’s mother, Princess Margaret (Talia Rothenberg). Carter rescues Princess Rosalinda and brings her back to Lake Monroe, Louisiana to live with them as Carter’s “cousin” from Iowa.
This film is essentially Disney’s version of A Tale of Two Cities. It takes a princess and drops her into the real world. So you see the contrast between poor tomboyish country girl who helps the rich princess girl. Disney loves princesses and the target audience for this film is just as fascinated with “being a princess” as well. The story is not written that well, though. There are various plot holes and the plot that’s there has been done many times already. But like most Disney Channel Original Movies, there is good uplifting message for the kids. The message is about friendship and finding out about a person before making judgments. In addition, if you stay true to yourself and show integrity, you will find true friends.
Lavato and Gomez shine in their first starring roles. They have great chemistry with each other onscreen. Furthermore, they make their characters likable, and thus you care what happens to them. Most of the comedy in this film comes from seeing “Princess Rosie” adjust to everyday life. It rates as pretty funny on the Disney Channel Original Movies scale. Of course, you have your typical “dumb” dad and over-the-top wacky character in this film as well. Those characters aside, once you see the scenic vistas of Puerto Rico you could care less.
Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez basically make Princess Protection Program watchable. Turning what would have been a poor DCOM into something above average. The key demographics (females aged 7 to 16) are sure to be entertained. This made-for-TV movie may not join the likes of High School Musical, but there are a lot worse Disney Channel movies you could be watching.
The video included is available in widescreen color presented at the 1:78 aspect ratio, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The quality is great with only slight graininess noticeable. The colors are bright and detailed as well. About what you would expect from a recent Disney DVD release.
The audio included is available in either English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, or French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear, so no major problems.
“Royal & Loyal BFFs” Featurette – This runs 7 and a 1/2 minutes and it features Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato talking about their real-life friendship and how they worked well together on this film. There are interviews with other cast members about Gomez and Lovato as well.
“A Royal Reality” Featurette –
This runs 5 minutes and it’s all about a real-life princess named India Oxenberg (Daughter of Catherine Oxenberg, who played Amanda on the Dynasty TV series, and step daughter of Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers). Her grandmother is Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia). India Oxenberg is also an actress in California and she talks about her experience as a princess and the gowns and responsibilities they have and how today’s princesses don’t exactly live in fairytale castles in the modern world. There are also interviews with cast and crew about the roles of a princess. Basically, a big fluffy piece, since you really never know what country she is a princess of.
Music Video –
There is a 3 minute music video for the song “One and the Same” by Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato which is featured in the film.
Princess Protection Program won’t be the next Camp Rock or High School Musical, but it’s an above average Disney Channel Original Movie thanks largely to the performances of Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. So if you are fans of them, or have female children in the target “DCOM” demographic, this is a must watch. Only those who are curious should seek it out on DVD, or when you come across on The Disney Channel.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents Princess Protection Program. Directed by Allison Liddi. Starring Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Molly Hagan, Tom Verica, Jamie Chung, Nicholas Braun, Kevin G. Schmidt, Dale Dickey, Samantha Droke, Robert Adamson, Johnny Ray, Talia Rothenberg, Sully Diaz. Written by Annie DeYoung and David Morgasen. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated G. Released on DVD: June 30, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Demi Lovato, Disney, High School Musical, Selena Gomez