The Princess Switch
The Princess Switch

Is Netflix’s ‘The Princess Switch’ Just a Remake of ‘The Parent Trap’?

'I become you, and you become me,' indeed.

In 1961, director David Swift gave movie lovers “The Parent Trap,” a romance with a whole lot of comedy as he filmed the story of twin girls meeting for the first time, switching places and tricking their parents into getting back together. However, you’re probably more familiar with the 1998 remake featuring Lindsay Lohan and Dennis Quaid, both of whom do remarkable jobs.

Well, now you’re in for another twins-switching-places movie with Netflix’s original “The Princess Switch,” which isn’t a complete remake but takes on some similar qualities. Between the 1998 “The Parent Trap” and the new 2018 take on it, is one better than the other? Is “The Princess Switch” just another movie Netflix tried to make succeed but failed?

I found out for you, but first, let me tell you a bit about Netflix’s original. In “The Princess Switch,” Vanessa Hudgens plays the twins, Stacy and Margaret, who actually don’t know if they’re related at all but think there’s a huge possibility. Stacy is a baker and business owner from Chicago, while Margaret is a duchess in Belgravia set to marry a prince. The setting takes place during the week of Christmas, when Stacy is meant to participate in a baking competition in the foreign country, and Margaret and Prince Edward are getting married.

Stacy runs into Margaret for the first time while preparing for the contest, and they realized they look alike, so Margaret invites Stacy back to the palace where she asks Stacy to switch places with her so she can see what it’s like to be a normal girl before marrying. The famous lines from the 1998 “The Parent Trap” — “‘I become you, and you become me.’ ‘Get. Out.’” — are featured in this new movie.

The Parent Trap
Lindsay Lohan played the roles of Annie and Hallie in the 1998 film “The Parent Trap.” (Image via Vogue)

In “The Princess Switch,” the girls are older than Lohan’s characters, and they don’t attempt to reunite their parents because they’re not necessarily related, as far as the viewers know. However, the romance is still strong in the Netflix movie, as Stacy and Margaret find themselves falling in love with the men in each other’s lives.

With this romance brewing and the Christmas spirit found throughout, you could say “The Princess Switch” is like one of those romantic Christmas movies played on the Hallmark channel, which is definitely not what “The Parent Trap” was made for. The Hallmark resemblance is evident, as a joyful man is seen throughout the new movie, hinting at Christmas wishes and miracles. Despite “The Parent Trap” not having the same setting, both movies have storylines that will have you wondering if anyone will find out what the twins are up to.

A bit more comedy is present in “The Parent Trap” than in Hudgens’ movie, which is fine for movie lovers who just want a lighthearted romantic movie. With Stacy’s friend Kevin and his daughter Olivia, viewers can find the movie slightly in the comedy genre, and when Margaret takes Stacy’s place, she shows Kevin and Olivia a different side of Stacy, one the two adore as the three have a snowball fight and paint ornaments.

On the other hand, Stacy is caught up in pretending to be Lady Margaret around Prince Edward but continues to be herself as well, which attracts the prince to her. The difference between Stacy and Margaret can be seen as similar to that of Annie and Hallie in “The Parent Trap.” Margaret comes out of royalty during the switch, just like Annie comes out of a luxurious life; Stacy takes a break from her normal routine, as does Hallie.

Both pairs of girls learned to be each other by walking and talking like one another, and of course, they modified their hairstyles, but at least Stacy or Margaret didn’t need to get their ears pierced like Annie did to match Hallie. Trying to be another person in an unfamiliar life is challenging for the four girls, but they each get the gist of it, and while most of the scenes in the two movies are different, one scene from “The Princess Switch” does resemble one in “The Parent Trap.”

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Each girl finds everyday tasks that the other has already mastered but that she can’t quite master herself, and these seem to vary in both movies. One hobby is the same, though: horseback riding. In “The Parent Trap,” Hallie could ride a horse without a problem, but when Annie switched places with her, she found the task difficult. The same went for Stacy when she became Margaret and Prince Edward wanted to go horseback riding with her, but Stacy didn’t quite know what she was doing. As not to embarrass themselves further and risk heightened suspicions, Annie and Stacy both quit early.

Speaking of suspicions, both movies included some from various characters, and only certain ones found out early on what the deal was. Chessy, Hallie’s nanny in “The Parent Trap,” knew Hallie’s behavior was strange soon after the twins switched, and Olivia in “The Princess Switch” accidentally found out when Stacy was calling Margaret. In the Netflix version, a few more characters suspected odd behavior than in the 1998 film, which ultimately left viewers on edge before the truth came out.

Overall, the two movies differ greatly from one another, and “The Princess Switch” cannot be called a remake of “The Parent Trap.” Because of this, you can see the new movie as simply a variation of the previous films with emphasized romance and Christmas magic. With the apparent differences throughout, the movies can’t be compared to one another as the 1961 and 1998 “The Parent Trap” can, so saying one is better than the other wouldn’t be possible.

If you enjoy the Christmas movies on Hallmark, you’d like “The Princess Switch,” and if you don’t, but you watch romance and comedy, stick to “The Parent Trap.”

Michelle Dreyer, Southern New Hampshire University

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Michelle Dreyer

Southern New Hampshire University

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