It's amazing that the wonderfully brutal sport of hockey and the graceful sport of ice skating take place on the same surface - it took a while, but I've actually come to appreciate the sport of figure skating (well, women's figure skating, anyway). Ice Princess, naturally enough, is all about figure skating - but it's really about so much more than that: pursuing a dream, doing what you love, having the courage to take chances and make big decisions, dealing with parental pressure at its best and worst, competing with honor, and basically just figuring out what you want and taking control of your own life - and, yes, it's also about Michelle Trachtenberg looking absolutely gorgeous. Disney always puts out good films; Ice Princess is fairly predictable, but there's nothing wrong with a predictable story that inspires you and makes you feel good - and the film actually isn't quite as predictable as I thought it would be.
Michelle Trachtenberg plays Casey Carlyle, a science geek who loves skating out on the pond but is focused on winning a physics scholarship to Harvard. The story doesn't really work the high school misfit angle very hard, but it's not really the focus of the movie, anyway. Casey needs to come up with a personalized physics project to impress the Harvard recruiters, and so it is that she turns to ice skating with all of its angles, velocities, vectors, and mathematical implications as her ticket to achievement. It's not enough to watch and study the skaters training under the local coach Tina Harwood (Crow T. Robot's favorite actress, Kim Cattrall), though; she begins taking skating lessons herself (surrounded by much younger, competitive little students) to put her theories to the test, and she discovers she has some real talent. Before long, she's actually competing in sectionals - where she discovers just how cut-throat the figure skating profession can be. Standing at the first major crossroads of her life, Casey has to choose whether she will give up skating and go out and get that Harvard scholarship or if she will make the sacrifices necessary in order to see just how far she can go in the sport. Her mother and her coach complicate things. Casey's mother Joan (Joan Cusack) has always dreamed of her daughter matriculating at Harvard and finding lifelong success by using her brilliant mind, and she can't understand why Casey would even think about putting her academic future in jeopardy by pursuing what she sees as an impossible dream. Casey's coach, Tina, has always pushed her own daughter to succeed at figure skating, and she's rather ruthless about making that dream of hers come true - although it's really not what her daughter wants for herself. Joan and Tina could not be more different - yet in time we see they are surprisingly alike in terms of pushing their own dreams onto their daughters. It's a theme that any past, present, or future teenager knows well. In the end, Casey takes charge of her own life, risking not only Harvard but her close relationship with her mother. It may or may not be the best choice, but it is definitely the right choice for Casey.
The figure skating scenes are really well-done; a lot of the difficult moves are actually performed by doubles, but you'd never know it by watching the movie. You would also never know that two of the actresses are really skaters with no previous acting experience. The whole transformation of Casey from science geek novice on skates to medal-contending skater would never happen in the real world, nor would the actual competitions resemble those in the movie, but the film's story comes across as very believable. There's also a sweet touch of light romance on the side. It's a feel-good story that inspires you to pursue your own dreams, whatever they may be, and I enjoyed it immensely.
The DVD comes with some nice little extras. First, you have a number of deleted scenes, including a different opening to the film - one of these deleted scenes is quite interesting, for it would have put a much different spin on concluding events. Second, you have a couple of good music videos (Reach by Caleigh Peters and No One by Aly and A.J.) featuring plenty of shots from the film. The whole soundtrack of the film is excellent, by the way. Finally, you have an excellent commentary featuring four of the young actors. Most film commentaries tend to be extremely boring and surprisingly uninformative, but the commentary here is full of details and insight on the making of the film and is really a lot of fun to listen to because of the passion and fun these young stars bring to the whole experience of making the film. It would appear that Disney has done it again: Ice Princess is a wonderful film that is both fun and rewarding for viewers of all ages.
on March 29, 2005
I had a free movie pass and there was nothing playing at the theater I had to use the pass at. I decided to just see Ice Princess, thinking it would be nothing more than a joke and a re-creation of The Princess Diaires. While the two movies are similar in tone and overall sweetness, Ice Princess is a good, funny movie of it's own.
Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg-- Eurotrip) is a physics wiz. She has a real knack for it and is convinced by her teacher to go after a Harvard scholarship. All she has to do is do a physics experiment, one that will reflect her personality. As a pond skater, she decides to study how skaters do their jumps and actually figure a mathematical formula for them. Soon, she's tangled up at the local rink, filming other skaters and beginning to love skating more than she ever thought she could. Toss a cute guy into the mix, a feminist mother (Joan Cusack, who is so funny in this role) who doesn't agree with prancing around in those little outfits, and a bitter coach (Kim Cattrall), and you've got a fun movie to see with the girls on a Friday night.
All in all, I had fun seeing this movie, and I'm glad I used the movie pass to see this one. Whether it's Harvard or skating with "Has-Beens on Ice" (as Casey's mom says), a girl should just do what she truly wants and not what everyone else wants. Very cute, only mildly cheesy in some spots (the party scene is ridiculous and not needed at all in this movie!), check this one out! Obviously, certain demographic groups will like this more (ahem-- 8-14 year old girls for instance), but I saw two 15 year old boys in the theater and they liked it just fine too. I'm older than all the previously mentioned and I enjoyed it! I'm sure you will too!
This is a delightful, wholesome film that is tailored for a general audience and should provide fun for the whole family. It is a coming of age story of a teenage girl, who is engaging in some self-discovery that may change her life.
Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a somewhat shy, geeky girl, who lives in a rural area with her mother, Joan Carlyle (Joan Cusack). Her mother, a professor at a local backwater college, feeling that she herself did not always make the best choices when she was younger, pushes Casey hard to excel academically, envisioning Harvard on her daughter's college horizon. Casey is an outstanding student, as she is an extremely bright girl, and is, in fact, a physics whiz. She also loves to figure skate on the pond in her back yard, but as her mother stresses academics over athletics, this is just an enjoyable pastime for Casey.
Then, her high school science teacher tells her that she stands a good chance to get a scholarship to pursue physics at the college level. The scholarship requires that she develop a physic project, and the teacher counsels Casey to ground the project in something for which she has a passion. Casey decides that she will have her physics project revolve around the dynamics of figure skating. This project, which is actually quite interesting, will consume Casey's senior year in high school.
Casey gets herself over to the local skating rink run by figure skating Coach Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall). There, Coach Harwood rules her skaters, one of whom is her own daughter, Gen (Hayden Panettiere), and a fellow classmate of Casey, with an iron hand. As Casey becomes more involved in the world of figure skating, she decides that her project would benefit from some first hand experience. So, she, too, sets foot on the ice, not just as an observer but as a participant. What she discovers along the way, about herself, as well as about others, helps her to be true to herself and to make a decision that brings her happiness.
This is a well-acted film with excellent production values. Michelle Trachtenberg is a delight in the main role, infusing her character with intelligence, decency, and a certain innocence that makes the viewer take to her character immediately. Joan Cusak, looking remarkably aged, is good in the role of Casey's mother, a highly intelligent, articulate woman who seeks to have her daughter experience the academic and economic success that she herself was unable to attain.
Kim Cattrall, however, is a standout in the role of the coach whose own dreams of figure skating glory were shattered years earlier, and who now looks to her daughter, Gen, to make those shattered dreams a reality for own self, although Gen may have other ideas. Hayden Panettiere is excellent in the role of Gen, the beautiful girl who just wants to be able to live her life as other teenage girls do, rather than figure skate competitively.
Trevor Blumas is well cast in the role of Teddy Harwood, who runs the Zamboni machine at the skating rink and functions as a wholesome love interest for Casey. Kirsten Olsen is quite funny in the role of red-headed Nikki, a petite, very competitive skater known as the "Flying Shrimp" for her prowess on the ice. Julianna Cannarozzo is also very funny in the role of punky looking and cynical Zoe Bloch, another competetive figure skater. Both Nikki and Zoe are amusing to watch, whenever they are on screen. For some added interest, Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano make cameo appearances. Those who like figure skating will especially enjoy this film.
The film provides a peek at the world of figure skating and the lengths to which some people will go to succeed in that competitive world. While some of the film may not be realistic, one should just chalk it up to artistic license. The film also delivers a message to both children and parents. For the children, the message seems to be that they must discover something in life that they are passionate about and follow their heart. For parents, the message seems to be that children must follow their dreams and not that of the parents. Sounds like good advice to me!
The DVD is a high quality production that provides crystal clear audio and visuals. It has a number of bonus features. Among those features is an alternate opening scene that I thought was quite good, as well as a number of deleted scenes. The DVD also contains two music videos, "Reach" by Caleigh Peters and "No One" by Aly and A.J., which all viewers should enjoy. There is also an excellent and lively commentary by its four young actors, Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere, Kirsten Olsen, and Trevor Blumas. Their commentary adds to one's enjoyment of the film the second time around. It is a commentary that kids can also enjoy.
Yes, this is a formula movie aimed at teenage girls, much the way there are formula movies aimed at teenage boys. So be forewarned.
Having said that, this one is much better than the average predictable ice skating movie. Yes, it has the young skater who has to overcome all sorts of hardships before she "makes it" as a winning skater. Yes, it has the mother who doesn't want her to keep skating and doesn't believe strongly enough in her daughter's talent. Yes, you can tell where it is going before it gets there...most of the time.
But somehow it still held my attention. Here's what makes it work:
1. Michelle Trachtenberg. A talented actress (who really shone in her small but crucial role in the Buffy series on television), she seems to have only gotten better as an actress over time. More importantly, she seems to understand the allure, glamour and aura that surrounds skating and her passion for the sport is believable. Without her fine performance, this movie would lose much of its zing.
2. A decent script, even if it isn't highly original. It still tugs at the heart strings.
3. A movie that works for those who never lost their love of ice skating. Plus the film portrays, for the most part, decent values and is inspirational, besides being a very watchable film.
on March 23, 2005
I don't think the writing or the timing of the jokes was great in this movie, but Michelle Trachtenberg does a wonderful job with her role. I think the message the movie sends is that girls need positive female role models to encourage them to be strong, independent, and go for their dreams. I liked the fact that both the moms were working and not freting over their husbands not being around. I liked that the love story beween Michelle's charecter and that guy wasn't the focus of the movie, her ice skating career was the main focus!
on June 1, 2005
I expected this movie to be interesting; the previews, as always, were somewhat deceiving. It WAS interesting--a girl follows her dream, wins in the end...pretty typical, but cute. Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a believable protagonist with admirable spirit, but I found the movie to be sorely lacking when it came to the actual skating--the main theme of the movie.
I am not a skater, but I am certainly not naive enough about the art to believe that someone can go from an amateur to a professional in only a few months. So it is with Michelle Trachtenberg's character, who begins skating lessons to enhance her physics project for a scholarship and ends up becoming a competitive skater. It's just not realistic: any athlete, dancer, musician, writer, etc. can tell you that. It takes years of practice to do what Casey Carlyle ends up doing at the end of this film.
However, this impossible accomplishment seems to be what gave the movie its glitter. I mean, who wants a movie where the heroine practices for years and never ends up being spectacular? It's just not what your average moviegoer is looking for. I, on the other hand, like to err on the side of reality, but that's just me.
Overall, this movie was cute. Michelle Trachtenberg is a good actress, and I hope to see more of her in the future. Still, "Ice Princess" didn't truly stick the landing.
on December 6, 2014
I rented this in Dec2014 because the trailer looked like it had a good story and It did. A fantastic story. I wish people made more movies this nice. Even though I am a guy , I ended up buying the movie because it was that good.
on June 19, 2015
I really like these kind of movies and since I was a or should I say still am a huge Buffy the Vampire fan I just has to see this movie. It was well done and a good story line. I also loved the Heroes series so I had to see it for that reason as well.. I could not go wrong.. You will enjoy it if you like those "girl wants to be something other then she is and accidentally finds she's much better at something else." type movies
on December 7, 2015
No Oscars here, for sure, but I liked it none-the-less. My granddaughter has just started ice skate lessons this fall, and she really enjoyed and related to as well. And really seemed to help reinforce the whole notion of her lessons. So call it a two-fer.
on January 10, 2015
My family and I first watched this movie when it first aired and watched it every time the networks showed it. After not seeing the movie for quite a while my daughter and I, especially could not wait to watch it. Again, it did not disappoint. I really enjoy the story and how the main character follows her dream only through hard work and dedication as well as the unlikely friendships made in the story.