Judge Bill Gibron likes his weddings shotgun.
Behind the Scenes of the Beautiful Romance
So, your popular sovereign-to-be is about to get hitched. The entire world, or at least your small, stately part of it is preparing to celebrate like its 1981 all over again. You want to cash in on these upcoming nuptials but you don't have the kind of slanderous tabloid fodder which made that last 30 years of royal upheaval so much fun. Like a commercial from a bygone era, the phrase ticks off in the back of your money hungry head—"what do you do…what DO you DO?" The answer, apparently, is to cobble together a bunch of outtakes from the last 20 plus years of news reporting, concoct some pointless narration to give the scraps some context, and then offer up the already-seen public announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton's upcoming state wedding. Top it all off with a "cheers, mate" attitude that tries to turn a crass bit of capitalization into a hearty "God Save the Future King" and you've got Revolver Entertainment's Prince William and Kate: The Royal Romance. The cutting room floor never looked so cheap and cheesy.
At only 45 minutes (with an additional 10 of already viewed Q&A material from the presentation itself as a "bonus feature"), it's a pointless entertainment endeavor. Since William was off limits for most of his childhood, there is scant footage of him growing up. The showcase offers him on a skiing holiday with his royal relatives, his polite response to a reporter's question leading to a cockeyed conclusion that he was already prepared to take the throne. Right. Then we see William heading to school, his time at Eton marked by a media-mandated deal that he not be exploited while attending classes. So all we get is his arrival, his first walk of the grounds, and then some still photos. Yawn. We then rapidly move to his impending marriage, the stunning and strong-looking Kate Middleton doing everything right as a future fixture of the UK press. There's a press conference of sorts with so many flashbulbs going off that the Royal Secretary has to ask for the photo taking to cease so William and his bride to be can see. It doesn't. Then there is the interview that covers the holiday in Kenya, the presentation of Princess Diana's engagement ring, the answer ("YES!") and, finally, the sum-up salute.
As an already pointless relic of a country eager to celebrate something special, this is a ridiculous rip-off contained within an impossible to deny desperation by the British citizenry for anything William and Kate related. In the years since Charles and Diana went from fairytale to nightmare, royal watchers have been foaming to see William take over. He's the (somewhat) squeaky clean Prince who carries his family's traditions without getting wholly lost in them. He seems sarcastic and witty, world wise and less plastered by protocol. He bears a massive burden on his young adult shoulders and must realize how daunting his middle aged tasks will probably be. None of this is present in this pathetic, superficial souvenir. It's just a cobbled-together collection of editorial tidbits hastily fastened to a fiasco of an explanation. Sure, William and Kate look good, and they come off as cool and confident. Just wait until after the pomp and circumstance. That's when the British press will really take the gloves off and start swinging. For now, they're playing pleasant, even if Prince William and Kate: The Royal Romance is more noxious than nice.
From a technical standpoint, the DVD is a mixed bag. The visual element is awash in defects, the various age and quality of the news footage making the experience a bit like optical catch-as-catch-can. Colors are clear and bright, but there is a significant lack of detail or contrast. On the sound side of things, the voiceover narration is easy to understand, while the various interviews and yelled-out questions are often hard to comprehend. As for added content, the production takes the sit-down discussion with the couple and replays it. Why? Who knows. It's all part of the meaningless marketing strategy that hopes to separate some pounds from the future leader's subjects before they wise up. Indeed, it will be interesting to see what happens once the "honeymoon" is over—literally and figuratively. One gets the distinct impression that this will be the last time the press pampers William and Kate. After all, engagements and weddings only sell papers for so long. After April 29th, the real cash-in begins.
Guilty of being tacky and terrible.
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