March 18, 2005
On the Big Board
|The bland and predictable body of the film is counterbalanced by a charming, believable friendship between the girls.
The team at Walt Disney had groomed Hilary Duff from a young age to become a teen icon. When The Lizzie McGuire Movie was released, Duff had crossed over from being a Disney Channel icon to a media sensation in the making. Her three tracks on the movie soundtrack and Metamorphosis CD proved so popular that Duff was no longer willing to work for the salary offered by the studio that made her famous. Duff exited and in the process, a vacuum was created at the Mouse House.
Team Disney without a teen queen is unacceptable, so a handful of replacements are being groomed. The obvious candidate is Lindsay Lohan, who is quickly becoming the company's go-to girl when it comes to re-makes of Disney classics. Her popularity has made her work schedule as hectic as even the traitorous Duff, so other options are needed. The Cosby Show graduate Raven-Symone is being groomed, but the star of The Cheetah Girls is probably still a year or so away from that show attaining the credibility to justify a movie production. That means an open spot is available right now, and the choice is a fascinating one.
At the tender age of 18, Michelle Trachtenberg is already a ten-year veteran of the industry. Doing the math, the young woman has already spent over half her life as an on-air talent. The artist formerly known as Harriet the Spy has more experience shooting television and movie parts than most actors twice her age. For the casting department at Disney, there are no sweeter words to hear. Trachtenberg is the perfect combination of industry veteran and timelessly youthful look. That makes her the obvious casting choice for Disney's latest project, Ice Princess.
This production is a classic tale of an ugly duckling discovering her inner beauty. In this instance, the methodology for self-discovery involves figure skating. Trachtenberg's character evolves from an awkward girl into a champion skater thanks to the assistance of an odd cast of characters. There is the disgraced coach who fell out of favor but never stopped being an exceptional teacher. Choosing to help the young girl achieve her goals is the gruff man's first step on the path to redemption. For the soon-to-be-champion skater, there is someone even more important, though. The boy who drives the Zamboni flirts with her one day and from then on, she finds herself crushing on him.
Young love combined with championship figure skating sounds like a classic Disney tale. (David Mumpower/BOP)