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The Parent Trap: 2-Movie Collection DVD Review

Buy The Parent Trap and The Parent Trap II: Double Feature 2-Disc DVD from Amazon.com The Parent Trap
Director: David Swift / Writers: Erich Kästner (book), David Swift (screenplay)

Cast: Hayley Mills (Sharon McKendrick, Susan Evers), Maureen O'Hara (Maggie McKendrick), Brian Keith (Mitch Evers), Charlie Ruggles (Charles McKendrick), Una Merkel (Verbena), Leo G. Carroll (Rev. Dr. Mosby), Joanna Barnes (Vicky Robinson), Cathleen Nesbitt (Louise McKendrick), Ruth McDevitt (Miss Inch), Crahan Denton (Hecky), Linda Watkins (Edna Robinson), Nancy Kulp (Miss Grunecker), Frank De Vol (Chief Eaglewood)

Theatrical Release: June 21, 1961 / Running Time: 129 Minutes / Rating: G
Songs: "The Parent Trap", "For Now, For Always", "Let's Get Together"

The Parent Trap II
Director: Ronald F. Maxwell / Writers: Erich Kästner (book), Stu Krieger (screenplay)

Cast: Hayley Mills (Sharon Ferris, Susan Corey), Tom Skerritt (Bill Grand), Carrie Kei Heim (Nikki Ferris), Bridgette Andersen (Mary Grand), Alex Harvey (Brian Corey), Gloria Cromwell (Florence), Judith Tannen (Jessica Dintruff), Janice Tesh (Irene), Duchess Tomasello (Mrs. Blazey), Daniel Brun (Steve), Antonio Fabrizio (Bruce), Ted Science (Kris), Margaret Woodall (Florist), Leonard Altobell (Walter Elias)

Original Airdate: July 26, 1986 / Running Time: 81 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

DVD Details:
The Parent Trap: 1.75:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
The Parent Trap II: 1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio), Dolby Surround (English)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned
Release Date: September 27, 2005
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99 (Reduced from $19.99)
Single-Width Black Keepcase

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After just one feature film role (a much-praised turn in 1959's Tiger Bay), Hayley Mills came to the Disney studio and immediately struck gold with Pollyanna (1960), which earned critical acclaim and a special honorary Oscar for the young teenaged English girl. Feeling at home at Disney, Mills wasted little time before making another film there. The following summer, the daughter of a revered screen actor and well-known playwright took the top two billings in her second Disney outing, The Parent Trap, adapted from the German book Das Doppelte Lottchen by Erich Kästner. Mills and Walt Disney made for a potent and consistent combination, as they would collaborate on four additional films, released over the next four years. But none of those subsequent productions would become as widely beloved as The Parent Trap.

With versatility and some convincing visual effects, Mills portrays a pair of 13-year-old identical twins who never knew the other existed. Susan Evers of California and Sharon McKendrick of Boston first meet at an all-girls summer camp and instantly clash despite (or perhaps because of) their uncanny physical resemblance. After a series of mischief and mishaps, the girls discover they share the same birthday and have each only known a single parent for their entire life, which can only mean they are twin sisters.
Naturally, they want to find out more and to encounter the parent they have heard very little about. So, they arrange a switch. Sharon gets a haircut to look like Susan and goes home to her father Mitch (Brian Keith), while the short-haired Susan (pretending to be Sharon) merely tells her mother Maggie (Maureen O'Hara) that she has had locks trimmed. Having exchanged talents and trained each other on what their lifestyles entail, Susan and Sharon are able to stand in for one another without too much difficulty. In typical Disney fashion, the hired help suspects something is amiss before the parents have a clue.

The girls' goal of bonding with their respective unknown parents in the hopes of a happy reunion suffers a blow upon the news that their father has met and fallen for a pretty young woman named Vicky Robinson (Joanna Barnes). Mitch and Vicky's intentions to soon wed changes the twins' plans; the truth of their swapping comes out and Susan and Maggie head for California, unsure of what to expect. Sharon and Susan continue to conspire to put their parents back together, as either more likely alternative -- a "6-month split" or Dad's marriage to the conniving Vicky -- is less than desirable for the growing girls and new best friends.

Sharon (Hayley Mills) and Susan (Hayley Mills) find themselves in trouble at camp. Susan (pretending to be Sharon) goes for a nice fake stroll through the park with Maggie (Maureen O'Hara), the mother she's just met.

The Parent Trap is a highly entertaining and near-perfect film. The reasons for that are numerable, but praise must chiefly go to Hayley Mills, for not many 14-year-olds could carry a film with two charming performances. Sure, she seems to slip in and out of a British accent throughout (which contributes to an air of confusion the plot inevitably creates),
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but even when there are two Millses on screen torturing their father's fiancée, she makes for a fully likable pair of protagonists. Mills' spark carries over to her two leading adult co-stars, Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith (in his first and easily sharpest performance for Disney), and the small cast of enthusiastic supporting players.

For a contemporary-set film made more than forty years ago, The Parent Trap has remained remarkably fresh and clever. This explains why it was able to be remade in crowd-pleasing fashion with few alterations in 1998. The original stands out among Disney's live action works as being genuinely and very funny; the subject matter of a broken family (which has only grown more prevalent in the decades since) allows the proceedings to be relevant and even a bit edgy while regularly delivering hearty laughs. There is little reliance on obvious pratfalls or photogenic animals to provide the cuteness that marks and sometimes hinders a number of the studio's other live action comedies. Instead, the script by director David Swift offers keen dialogue, amusing turns, and large payoffs in practically every sequence.

Another aspect key to the film's success is its use of visual effects, which hold up quite well. The biggest eyesore is a phony-looking superimposed stroll through the park that Susan and her mother take. More challenging split-screen shots, part of the constant illusion of there being two Hayley Mills, are pulled off expertly, with hardly any lapses that are noticeable (without watching Disc 2's bonus features, anyway).

While trying to address the questions Sharon (pretending to be Susan) has about her mother, Mitch Evers (Brian Keith) stumbles onto unfamiliar terrain. The clever twins decide to keep the ball in their court, by not letting on who's who.

Adding to the fun are three songs from the Sherman Brothers, some of their earliest of many contributions to Disney film music. These include the particularly catchy "Let's Get Together" (best performed by the twins) and a title song set to an inspired stop-motion animated opening.

Though of an unusual length for a comedy, The Parent Trap consistently engages throughout its 129-minute runtime and I could not bring myself to trim any of its excellence. I don't think many others could, either, for the film possesses a blend that perfectly delights viewers young and old, a winning spirit that never fails to produce smiles, and a timelessness that has kept generations turning to it for a rewarding good time.

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Twenty five years later, Sharon is unhappily divorced and living in Tampa, Florida, while Susan is happily married and still in California. We are told this in the Disney Channel's 1986 follow-up The Parent Trap II, the first of three made-for-TV sequels. Sharon Ferris (Hayley Mills) and her 11-year-old daughter Nikki (Carrie Kei Heim) are actually planning to leave Tampa for New York City shortly, though the move is not something that excites Nikki. For now, Nikki is stuck in summer school with a demanding teacher and a snobby classmate. But it's not all bad, for Nikki has her newly-made best friend Mary Grand (Bridgette Andersen), who also knows what life with a single parent is. Mary lives with her supposedly handsome and definitely mustachioed father Bill (Tom Skerritt, of Alien, Contact, and Top Gun), who was widowed four years ago.

Facing the prospect of moving to a scary new city and leaving her best friend behind, Nikki concocts a plan with Mary to prolong her residency in Florida. They'll set up their parents romantically. While their initial efforts are foiled, the girls are resilient, and decide on a backup plan. Nikki calls in her slightly hipper aunt Susan (also Mills, of course) to stand in for her mother and sweep Bill off his feet. Though this plan is clearly not as well-conceived as that of the previous generation seen in this film's predecessor, Susan reluctantly agrees to it. All it takes is some baseball and brewskis at a local bar and sports journalist Bill is tickled by who he thinks is his neighbor Sharon.

The unlikely matchmaking is really all there is to this much slighter and less clever sequel. Inevitably, Sharon and Susan cross paths, Bill's easily-befuddled maid Florence (Gloria Cromwell) suspects something is off, and Nikki and Mary think much more of their ideas than they should.

Nikki Ferris (Carrie Kei Heim) and Mary Grand (Bridgette Andersen) roam through the halls of summer school. Despite the character names, this is not a "Moon-Spinners"-meets"In Search of the Castaways" spin-off. It is "The Parent Trap II." Susan Ferris (Hayley Mills, all grown-up) gets a "passionate" note from Bill Grand.

In less than half the time, this movie has become far more dated than the original Parent Trap, though its distinctly mid-1980s setting is admittedly part of its charm. There are references to "heartthrobs" like Ralph Macchio and Rob Lowe, the obligatory neon mall scene, and more than one cameo by Michael J. Fox (in magazine form).
Actually, the young girl protagonists are a bit too precocious and much too boy-crazy for age 11, which makes the teen talk a bit out of place. Fortunately, Heim and especially Andersen make up for acting shortcomings with their charisma.

Mills still has trouble keeping her accents straight and the dual roles bit isn't as cute now that she is playing a pair of prematurely wrinkled women in their late 30s, but her presence as the only returning cast member is essential. It is Mills and the use of photographs and footage from the original film (which this sequel opens with) that link this to that which came much earlier and charmed much more. In fact, if there wasn't the Parent Trap connection, this somewhat sloppy production would be pretty easy to write off. The enduring central personalities and their '80s counterparts Nikki and Mary (whose names are slight twists on Mills' characters in The Moon-Spinners and In Search of the Castaways) hold your interest, even if the unfortunate low-budget and low-effort nature should turn you away.

Despite two and a half decades worth of technological advances, this sequel is more conservative than the original when it comes to visual effects. The split-screen technique is used a few times convincingly, although one grocery store shot clearly falters due to a tub of yogurt inconceivably materializing. The movie also offers a transparent recycling of background extras, one instance of terribly poor looped dialogue (Tom Skerritt may well have been speaking Japanese), some silly character actors who have yet to master their profession, and the soft, limited visual palette of a frugal '80s video production. Throughout, it is clear that a bottom line was being kept to, at the cost of any creative ambitions there may have been.

It's like there are two Hayley Mills all over again, man! Who could resist the mustache and hairy forearms of Tom Skerritt?

And yet, in spite of its deficiencies, The Parent Trap II makes for a pretty fun movie. It clearly lacks the holding power, prestige, and overflowing appeal of the film it follows, but recognizing and appreciating the quirky nature of this production (to date, it remains the only made-for-TV sequel to come twenty-five years after a theatrically-released Disney film) yields a brief, but entertaining viewing experience.

Though many may fondly or vaguely remember this sequel from its 1986 Disney Channel debut or subsequent reairings, The Parent Trap II has never before been released to home video in the United States until now. Packaged alongside the winning film it never approaches living up to, it makes for a benign inclusion in an appealing, low-priced 2-disc collection.

The Parent Trap first came to DVD in May of 2002 as one of four movies launching the two-disc "Vault Disney" series. Despite critical acclaim for what was undoubtedly the finest DVD presentation Disney's live action films had received to date, the Vault Disney line was sorely underpromoted and (one can deduce) failed to meet sales expectations. A second wave of the line was released in May of 2003 without the "Vault Disney" name on packaging (this pair was billed merely as "Special Editions"), and three more DVDs were released the subsequent September similar in design but pared down to single-disc format. The claim of underwhelming sales seems supported by this fall's DVD slate, in which Disney is repackaging the newly-discontinued Vault Disney DVDs of The Parent Trap and Old Yeller with their respective sequels as "2-Movie Collections" that have already enjoyed heavier promotion than their first DVD incarnations ever did.

Maureen O'Hara's knuckles or Brian Keith's palm: which are you putting your money on? These boy-crazy eleven-year-olds take a moment from ogling Michael J. Fox and other magazine studs to look up.


Though the packaging declares the most popular modern day aspect ratio of 1.85:1 has been used, The Parent Trap's 16x9-enhanced transfer actually upholds the film's intended theatrical ratio of 1.75:1 (which is explicitly stated in a note to exhibitors found on Disc 2). It appears to be identical to the previous Vault Disney presentation, which is certainly fine since the film was dutifully remastered for that first DVD appearance. Having its original aspect ratio preserved puts Parent above many of its live action kin from Disney's catalogue and the satisfying look places it near the top of the class. The element is exceptionally clean and wonderfully detailed. Visuals appear a bit soft and muted, but that seems attributable to filming technologies of the early 1960s moreso than the transfer. Effects shots which required optical work do not particularly stand out from the rest (unless they were lazily executed to begin with). Colors are usually rendered in a pleasing manner, if they are not entirely natural-looking. Artifacts appear only occasionally and are very minor when they do. Edge enhancement is essentially absent.

Though three years' worth of improvements in compression techniques might have enabled the film to look even better here than it did on the Vault Disney DVD, the apparently simple porting yields favorable results nonetheless, in spite of the presence of a second film which leaves the original having an average bitrate a shade over 1 Mb/s less than the Vault Disney's 5.94 average. Nonetheless, even a comparison by magnifying untouched screencaps reveals no difference in the transfers.

"Nothing could be greater, say hey alligator!" Susan (pretending to be Sharon) flounders in explaining her current predicament to the "handsome" Bill Grand (Tom Skit-Skat-Skerritt).

The Parent Trap's sound is listed as Dolby Digital 5.1, and again, I detected no difference between this and the Vault Disney's Disc 1 presentation. Like that and other Vault Disney DVD remixes, the "5.1 surround" is basically a selling point, because the audio is, more or less, broad mono. The absence of individual channel effects did not deter from the mix,
though I imagine this track would sound identical were it presented as two-channel Dolby Surround. The rear speakers are asked merely to provide subtle reinforcement for the oft-present score. The abundant dialogue is delivered in a fashion that is crisp, lively, and always discernible. Overall, there is not a great deal of room left for improvement by the audio.

The Parent Trap II does not hold up as well. Naturally, it is presented in the 1.33:1 fullscreen ratio it aired in. Its element is somewhat scratched up throughout. A few effects shots especially show excess wear and there are intermittent print intrusions which distract to various degrees. While certain aspects of the sequel's disappointing look can be attributed to its low-budget, made-for-TV origins, not much remastering work appears to have gone into this DVD transfer. If the soft picture which marks this unmistakably as '80s television programming can be forgiven, the other print flaws are not easy to overlook, especially following the far more visually satisfying DVD debut made a year ago by fellow 1986 Disney television movie The Christmas Star. In the audio department, the sequel delivers an unspectacular but distortion-free Dolby Surround track, which appears to emanate entirely from the front speakers. Its selection of dated tunes are mixed a bit louder than they probably should be; otherwise, the track is limited yet fine.


All of this set's bonus features are found on Disc 2, and all are taken from the second disc of The Parent Trap's initial Vault Disney DVD release. That means that two supplements from the original film's prior DVD are missing: the 1946 Donald Duck short Donald's Double Trouble (which by default played before the feature, as it did theatrically) and more substantially, a feature-length audio commentary by star Hayley Mills and writer/director David Swift. That also means that none of the extras deal with The Parent Trap II, even though the making-of special "On Location: Parent Trap II" accompanied the sequel on the Disney Channel in 1986 and certain reairings. It's a real shame this didn't make the DVD, for it should have been an easy and obvious inclusion, and its interview footage of Hayley Mills discussing the three-week Tampa production and her history of Disney films would undoubtedly be interesting to see, whether you have vague memories of it or, like me, have only read about it. Sadly, all three features could have easily been preserved on either disc without employing any additional compression.

What is included is uniformly excellent. Though everything from Disc 2 of the Vault Disney set is retained, the studio has not taken the cheap way out and simply relabeled the old disc; there are new animated menus which match the first disc rather than the other Vault Disney supplement platters. This set of menus arranges things in a seemingly random order and runtimes are not listed, so unless you are already familiar with the previous release or other DVDs in the Vault Disney series, you may not have a good idea of what you're going to get from each listing. To that end, this review will cover the disc's materials from longest to shortest, with the exception being the robust Production Archives section, which, against expectations, alone holds enough content to satisfy the bonus-savvy for well over an hour.

Director/screenwriter David Swift recalls making the movie in "The Parent Trap: Caught in the Act." The Brothers Sherman have quite a few memories up their sleeves in "Music Magic." Susan Henning shows off her Duckster award in "Who's the Twin?"

"The Parent Trap: Caught in the Act" is a solid general making-of featurette (18:43) which catches up with an impressive number of cast and crew members. They candidly reflect on their experiences of creating the enduring original comedy, with relevant clips of the film weaved in. Among those who appear are stars Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara (who the passing of forty years has been unbelievably kind to), and Joanna Barnes, writer/director David Swift (taped shortly before his death), Roy E. Disney, and dynamic songwriter siblings Richard and Robert Sherman. Commenting on how the central illusion of Hayley Mills playing two characters are special effects man Bob Broughton and Leslie Iwerks (granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, who co-created Mickey Mouse and was the studio's technical guru on this and countless other films). Though many of its different angles are covered in greater detail elsewhere, this piece works terrifically on its own, wholly engaging you through the amusing anecdote told over the end credits.

"Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers" (14:42) profiles Richard and Robert Sherman, the two men responsible for writing so many classic, enduring songs from Disney movies of the '60s and '70s. They reflect on how they first came to the studio (Walt took notice of the catchy tunes they wrote for Annette Funicello) and how they worked on The Parent Trap, their first theatrical film for Disney. Naturally, it's fascinating to hear them recount the struggle to find a title for the movie and a treat to see them behind a piano playing the songs they came up with, which all worked their way into the film. Comments from Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara, and David Swift complement the pair's reflections.

"Lost Treasures: Who's the Twin?" (6:00) introduces us to Susan Henning-Schutte, who had the somewhat thankless task of filling in for Hayley Mills in shots where split-screen effects would not be needed. Despite being uncredited and seen only in profile or from the back, Henning seems pretty upbeat about her involvement in the film. Her recollections are vivid and immensely interesting, and the same can be said of the many visual examples of her intentionally tough-to-spot performance. It all adds up to one of the most memorable featurettes on a DVD.

As seen in "1961 Disney Studio Album", Cruella DeVil was one of several noteworthy Disney characters to grace the silver screen the same year as "The Parent Trap." A vintage trailer for "The Parent Trap." In "Disney Legend: Hayley Mills", the actress reflects on some of her Disney highlights, neglecting to mention "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" and any of the three "Parent Trap" sequels.

Also available from the Disc's main menu is a pair of montages, both fulfilling Vault Disney staples. "1961 Disney Studio Album" (3:40) is the one Disney fans will love; it uses film clips to illustrate all the various live action and animated features and shorts released or in production in the year that The Parent Trap came to theaters. There are glimpses of The Absent-Minded Professor, 101 Dalmatians, Greyfriars Bobby, Babes in Toyland, and there is even some footage of Disneyland, which saw its monorail expanded and the debut of real live high-flying Tinker Bell. "Let's Get Together" (1:35) is merely a reel of clips from the film
set to Hayley Mills' performance of the song in question. It's slightly pointless, but fun; oddly, it has lost the border it previously had, but otherwise it is identical to its previous incarnation, complete with some 4-split-screen effects.

Selecting "Production Archives" takes you to a wealth of additional bonus features, primarily but not entirely vintage-based. First up are "Trailers & TV Spots" (5 minutes), which consists of two thirty-second spots and an extended narrated preview (which qualifies as a pretty standard old-fashioned promo) in between.

Next, "Disney Legend: Hayley Mills" (22:32) catches up with the star of The Parent Trap and five other Disney films of the 1960s. The bulk of reflections come straight from Ms. Mills herself in modern-day interview footage. The piece is also laced with fantastic archival footage from behind-the-scenes of Hayley's movie sets, from the home movies of her prolific family, and even from her 1998 Disney Legend speech. The majority of the featurette deals with Pollyanna and Parent Trap, but Mills' other Disney works are briefly mentioned. Director Swift, matte artist Peter Ellenshaw, Roy Disney, and one-time co-stars Maureen O'Hara, Nancy Olson, Dean Jones, and Kevin Corcoran all contribute some thoughts as well.

Split-screen effects are dissected in the featurette "Seeing Double." Walt has some fun with Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands in the anthology excerpt "The Title Makers." Old friends reminisce in "Kimball & Swift: The Disney Years."

"Seeing Double" (9:17), another featurette filmed for the Vault Disney DVD, details The Parent Trap's breakthrough visual effects, illustrating how there appears to be two Hayley Millses simply from the use of split-screen and a photographic double. We get to hear more about Ub Iwerks' wizardry from those who appeared in the general featurette and notice some shots which fail to convince when slowed down due to a broken boundary or evident stand-in sighting.

"The Title Makers" (17:17) is about half of an episode of Walt's "Disneyland" anthology television series, which aired ten days before The Parent Trap opened in theaters. The excerpted portions begin by looking at what goes into the making of an opening title sequence as elaborate as the stop-motion work which opens Parent Trap. Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands, who have wandered over from another stage where they are making Babes in Toyland, take time off from recording title song "The Parent Trap" to explain Parent Trap's premise with plenty of clips to a mysterious but familiar voice from above. As many of the anthology installments were, this one is more than a little promotional, but always interesting, especially when Walt is on-screen. It is presented in black and white, as the last episode of the series which aired that way.

"Kimball & Swift: The Disney Years" (17:32) is a trip down memory lane with longtime Disney animator Ward Kimball and one-time animator/Parent Trap director David Swift. These are two of the most enthusiastic octogenarians you're likely to come across, and their lively personalities make this a sweet, funny, and spirited retrospective. With vintage film clips and studio footage sprinkled throughout, the old friends recall their experiences with plenty of amusing and insightful anecdotes. While the piece is surprisingly heavy on style, it is a wonderful testament to two men brimming with life though each would pass away within a year of the taping.        

David Swift and Hayley Mills share a funny moment on location, in this still from the Galleries. A storyboard still from the Production Art gallery. Sharon and Susan's comic adventures are seen in the Merchandising gallery. Disc 1's Main Menu gives you the option to play either film.


"Galleries" holds a number of items that will interest even those who regularly avoid the unfinished drawings this heading usually entails on a Disney DVD. "Production Gallery" is actually a brisk, 97-second montage of behind-the-scenes and publicity stills (all black and white) set to an instrumental version of the title song. "Production Stills" holds all those pictures and much more (including some color publicity photos) in a full-size gallery which you navigate. "Production Art" consists of a handful of costume designs (almost all of the Maureen O'Hara character) and a complete set of full-size scribbly storyboards from a camping sequence. "Biographies" provides background information and selected filmographies for five lead actors and the director; it's baffling why such a simple and easy-to-appreciate inclusion doesn't regularly turn up on Disney DVDs, particularly on classic films where the information won't soon become highly outdated.
"Advertising" divides its modest offerings into "Posters" (which features clip art used in posters, but only one full ad), "Lobby Cards" (8 stills), and Merchandise (13 fullscreen installments of 12-panel Parent Trap comic strips that are tough to read plus a few album covers). "Documents" proves far more interesting than you might assume; it holds production notes, print ads, and materials that were sent to theater exhibitors. That last batch includes "an important note" specifying that the film be projected in the 1.75:1 aspect ratio, making abundantly clear the film's intended dimensions. (Now if only we could see these notes on every other Disney film that has been questionably presented on DVD...) Finally, a series of still frames provide a Screenplay Excerpt of the scene in which Susan and Sharon discover their relationship. The 7-minute sequence is also provided in full, split into chapters matching the page divisions; selecting the reel graphic on any screenplay page takes you to the corresponding bit as it appears in the film (albeit in fullscreen).

The last subsection of the production archives is titled "Audio Archives." Here, you'll find five minutes of repetitive but nostalgia-inducing radio previews, plus the complete songs "For Now, For Always" (2:14) and "The Parent Trap" (2:13) set to slideshows of production photos. You'll also find "Sound Studio" versions of two sequences from the film, "The Girlfriend" (2:22) and "Twin's Revenge" (2:28). For these two scenes, you can toggle between four audio tracks (dialogue only, music only, sound effects only, or the final composite). Naturally, it's a pretty neat feature, which enables you to appreciate the work that went into all three elements as well as how extremely effective the scenes are when the elements are merged.

The inspired disc design of the original film's previous DVD release has not been abandoned here. Disc 1's Main Menu closely resembles those on the first Vault Disney disc, only the "Bonus Material" option has disappeared and the screen has been modified so that the option to play or select a scene from either of the two movies now exists. As mentioned earlier, Disc 2 loses the Vault Disney imagery; its menus match the first disc in design, with the visuals depicting folded-paper, hand-written fonts, and assortment of crafts supplies. The constant animation of the previous release has been reduced to introductions and transitions, but the menus still feel very much alive and appropriately-themed. Most are accompanied by either vocal or instrumental versions of "Let's Get Together."

As has been custom for the past five years, sneak peeks for other Buena Vista properties play automatically at the start of the first disc. These are skippable previews for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (the title-only teaser), Tarzan: Special Edition, Old Yeller: 2-Movie Collection, and Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition. Surely, these promos will date this DVD release in a few years just as the Vault Disney's spots for Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, Max Keeble's Big Move, and Return to Never Land already date it.

Oh, bother. Mmm....cookies. "Goodbye and thanks for reading!" (says Hayley Mills in a home movie, seen in her profile featurette.)


The Parent Trap: 2-Movie Collection is essentially a repackaging of 2002's two-disc Vault Disney release of the original film. While the disappointing exclusion of a couple of neat bonus features (a cartoon short and more importantly, a retrospective audio commentary) prevent this from being a perfectly satisfying reissue,
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the inclusion of the made-for-TV sequel (making its American home video debut) at no cost above the Vault Disney set's reduced SRP when in-print mostly makes up for it. A better transfer and extras for The Parent Trap II would have been nice, and at least one supplement should have been readily available, but nonetheless, its predecessor retains the stellar treatment it deserves as one of Walt's finest live action comedies made. Splendid remastered picture and sound, plus an abundance of genuinely entertaining bonus features and a somewhat charming follow-up telemovie make this low-priced set highly recommended for all those who do not already have the first film's Vault Disney DVD or who have long been waiting for The Parent Trap II to be released at all. Those in the latter class can take solace in the fact that they are getting a fully-loaded special edition of the original film basically for free, since a barebones disc of just the sequel would surely have carried the same list price or even higher.

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Related Reviews:
The Parent Trap (1998) (Special Double Trouble Edition)
The Parent Trap (1961): Vault Disney DVD (Buy the Vault Disney set from Amazon Marketplace)
PollyannaIn Search of the CastawaysSummer MagicThe Moon-SpinnersThat Darn Cat!
Swiss Family RobinsonGreyfriars BobbyThe Absent-Minded Professor101 Dalmatians
The Christmas StarThe Ugly DachshundThose CallowaysOld Yeller & Savage Sam: 2-Movie Collection

Related Pages:
The Parent Trap - #3 in Live Action Films Countdown
"Let's Get Together" - #65 in Disney Songs Countdown
The Parent Trap (1998) - #28 in Live Action Films Countdown

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Reviewed September 21, 2005.