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The Princess and the Warrior
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: JoBlo
The Princess and the Warrior order
Director:
Tom Tykwer

Actors:
Franka Potente
Benno Furmann
Joachim Krol

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A shy, vulnerable nurse at a psychiatric hospital gets hit by a truck but is spared her life by a passer-by who saves her. After spending some time in a hospital, she returns to the world with fantasies of her savior. She attempts to find him, believing that there is some deeper connection between them, and ultimately locates the man. What will happen once they meet and their relationship thereafter consumes the rest of this story.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I was looking quite forward to this movie, as it was the follow-up film from the director of 1999's RUN LOLA RUN, a fast-paced, original, colorful little German import. I sat down to watch this film with that greater sense of anticipation and as I watched and watched and watched some more...I just couldn't figure out what the movie was trying to say or do. After two hours and ten minutes of spending time with these characters, I just didn't "get it". I didn't understand the movie. I thought the cinematography was top-notch (awesome, actually!), the directing, quite brilliant, and obviously from the same man who did LOLA, the score, very appealing and memorable, and the acting, quite decent, especially from Potente. But the film didn't touch me emotionally, it didn't affect me intellectually, it didn't entertain me and it certainly didn't blow me away.

In fact, it felt very much like a typical "European" movie, in which much of the value belongs in the subtext of the story (can you say "existential"). The strange part is that I actually believe in some of the things that this film was trying to portray, which is that "nothing in coincidental" and that all things lead to other things, fate and all that jazz, but why did they have to drag it out like this? Why did they have the characters talking so mannered and slow to one another (unrealistic)? (this made their characters less real to me, and therefore, less engaging as a viewer) There were also too many questions left unanswered. Maybe if I watch the movie a second time one day, I would like and understand it more. See if if you're in the mood for some wicked sky shots, some awesome visuals, symbolism up the wazoo and more of the lovely Potente, otherwise, skip it and watch LOLA run around Germany once again.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes (18 minutes): You can watch these scenes on their own, or watch them with an introduction and conversation with director Tykwer and his editor beforehand. I watched them with their discussion, and wasn't particularly taken by any of the scenes, and understood why they were cut. But much like the rest of the film, all of the scenes were beautiful and a wonder to stare at. It's interesting to note that the original cut of the film was approximately three and a half hours!

"The Making of" The Princess and the Warrior (35 minutes): This is not your typical bullshit fluff-piece, it actually features real conversations with all of the main people associated to the picture, including its stars (Potente with super-short red hair), her co-stars, the director and more. It's an interesting watch and does give you more insight as to what they were going for with the film, but does spend too much time on the psychiatric ward (never been much of a fan of those in films). It's also splattered with many other deleted scenes, including some more visually stunning shots (one with a fast-motion tram which is awesome!) and some behind-the-scenes stuff, including a couple of outtakes. Definitely worth the watch if you liked the film.

Commentary#1 from director Tom Tykwer: I quite enjoyed Tom's commentary track on RUN LOLA RUN, which was both informative and interesting to listen to, and the same can be said for the man's track here. Excellent. I love a director who "gets" the medium. This guy talks constantly and he knows what to discuss. He mentions the cast, he gives you insight on the production, and even more importantly in a movie such as this, he gives you the motivations behind the characters, he tells you about what he was trying to say or do in certain scenes, and basically schools you on his movie. Great work and a solid English speaker, if I don't say so myself. I wish I could speak German that well! Wunderbar! And as if that wasn't enough, Tykwer gets involved in a 2nd commentary track, but this time with stars Franka Potente and Benno Furmann by his side. The man already covered plenty in his own track, but if you're interested in the respective actors' takes on the film and their motivations, their reasons for doing this or that, this track is also worth the listen. No dead time. Potente is also a solid English speaker and Furmann, was surprisingly literate in our language as well. Yay for bilingualism!

The disc also features the "basics" which include filmographies, trailers (for this film, RUN LOLA RUN and GO) and a music video, featuring scenes from the movie, which is actually, pretty groovy.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Give it up to the Germans, they know how to put together a solid DVD of extras (at least, this one particular German). If you like this movie, you can't go wrong with the two commentary tracks, the insightful documentary and the deleted scenes. As for the film, well, it's basically one of those movies that you will either "get into" and enjoy unraveling and discussing amongst your friends, or be bored by its slow pace and ambiguous character motivations and length. I didn't care for it the first time around, but have to admit that I was intrigued enough to give it another shot at another time. If you're not willing to make that commitment, skip it, rent RUN LOLA RUN instead and have a blast!
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