The Parent Trap is the second adaptation of Erich Kastner's German novel Lottie and Lisa, following the 1961 film of the same name. The film opens with Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson getting married on the QE2 though they divorce shortly after. A young Lindsay Lohan plays the dual role of the couple's twin daughters, Hallie and Annie, who are reunited at summer camp after being separated at birth and raised by one of their biological parents. They then make a plan to swap places to bring their wayward parents back together.
Both the 1961 original and this 1998 remake are both based on very classic storytelling. Twins exchanging places, divorced parents falling in love again, and even a potential evil-stepmother! There is so much I love about this movie. The first few times I watched this movie I spent a significant amount of time trying to figure out which twin was which… until I realized they were the same girl! My young mind was blown! How did they work that movie magic?! Of course it was a combination of over-the-shoulder doubles and special effects, but I am still in awe of how successfully it was pulled off. We can completely accept the illusion. Lindsay Lohan did an excellent job acting out the two roles!
My favourite part of this movie was the soundtrack. Though the majority of my love for it comes from the nostalgia of having watched it so many times, the songs are woven into the story so well that even when I hear them outside of the film, one of the first things I think of is The Parent Trap. I remember watching this movie with my whole family and when the fabulous Natalie Cole sings the finale song, “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”, my whole family would get up and dance. That is one of the signs of a great movie, when it moves you to the point of joyful dancing! What I didn't realize until much later was that my second favourite song in this movie (L-O-V-E) was actually sung by Nat King Cole! Great job keeping it in the family!! For those of you that are just as in love with the music as I am, click here to check out the whole Parent Trap soundtrack!
And can we take a moment to appreciate Annie and Martin's handshake!? Awesome!
I also love the little tributes to the original Parent Trap. This is a fairly faithful adaptation; even some of the same lines are taken directly from the original. But there are also several little moments within to entertain fans of the original. One of my favourites is that Meredith's mother "Aunt Vicki" (Joanna Barnes) in the 1998 version, is actually played by the same actress that played Meredith's role of fiance in the original 1961 movie! Then there is the scene where Hallie is getting in the elevator and starts singing a few lines of "Let's Get Together", which was the duet sung by the twins in the original when attempting to get their parents back together.
Despite how much I love this movie, there are a few elements of the film that are stereotypical "movie moments" that do seem staged. The sheer skill and manpower required to pull off the pranks the girls played on each other is legendary! I'm not sure how we are supposed to believe that a small group of young pre-teen girls was able to get all that furniture onto the cabin roof, but it really was an entertaining prank! My absolute biggest beef with the movie though is in the follow-up prank when Annie STEPS UNDER the balloon about to fall on her! That has always bugged me endlessly! You think I wouldn't care so deeply about such a little thing, but every time I see this movie I get upset all over again!
But these are little things that are very easily overlooked. No matter how many times I sit down to watch this movie I find myself quoting and singing along with the characters. I am genuinely invested in the relationship between Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson and hope right along with Hallie and Annie that they get back together. The couple is wonderfully charming and believable and I desperately wanted them to get their happy ending. Thank goodness this is a Disney movie!