William and Kate: The Movie. People couldn’t believe it when they heard it was actually happening. Some hoped it would be so bad it would swing round the whole 360° of awfulness and land in the area of good trashy entertainment, where other confectionary such as Mamma Mia! and Top Gun could keep it company. But unfortunately this was not the case.
It was dire. I know, who in their right minds would expect anything else? But I had hoped, quietly and guiltily, that the aforementioned prophecy would come true. I was let down. This was as bad as the late-night tripe the SyFy Channel churns out on a regular basis, only with less Mega Sharks and Giant Octopuses, and more cuddles, kissing and appalling English accents.
Produced by US cable channel Lifetime on a tiny budget, the royal romance that everyone is talking about is given a Mills & Boon-esque makeover (although, probably due to legal reasons, there is notably little sex). New Zealand actor Nico Evers-Swindell plays Prince William (or Wills as everyone seems to call him) and British actress Camilla Luddington is Kate Middleton. The majority of the film is devoted to dramatising their years at St Andrews University and the subsequent invasive press hounding that plagues the couple once they graduate. There is some attempt to parallel the tabloid exploitation of Kate with the tragic events surrounding the death of Wills’ mother, but this never amounts to much. Rightly so, as a cheap cash-in on a royal wedding is bad enough, but one that places too much emphasis on the ‘People’s Princess’ may have been a step too far.
The acting is appalling. Although far better-looking than the real-life Prince, Evers-Swindell needs to find a new vocation. He revealed in a BBC interview that he had little initial training in how to do an English accent. I would have thought this was blindingly obvious. Berkshire born Luddington has less work to do voice-wise, but the moments that are clearly intended to portray her as a normal girl with normal problems feel like deleted scenes from The OC rather than an insight into the life of a Princess-to-be.
The attempts to show the class difference between the two are hilarious, the best being a scene where the Middletons are about to have breakfast in dressing gowns and pyjamas, and Wills arrives downstairs properly dressed. This is because Kate is COMMON and therefore COMMON PEOPLE DON’T DRESS FOR BREAKFAST. I’m surprised they didn’t go the whole hog and stick her in a council flat in Basildon, and employ Danny Dyer and Kierston Wareing to play her parents. Maybe a remake by Andrea Arnold is in order.
The film finally limps to an unsatisfactory conclusion (if you don’t want to hear about the shocking twist ending that would put M. Night Shyamalan to shame, look away now), and after many arguments and disagreements the two decide they are perfect for each other and go on holiday together. This means we are treated to a Thomas Cook montage of Africa. We know it is Africa because we see Giraffes and some trees. The final shot is of the happy lovers embracing in front of a clearly digitally-enhanced safari background which could pass for a Windows XP screensaver.
The film is distributed in the UK by Revolver Entertainment; a company whose catalogue consists of Kidulthood (innit-blud drama), A Serbian Film (baby-rape torture flick) and Ninjas Vs Zombies (enough said). So maybe this will be the crown jewel in their certainly eclectic collection. Time will tell.
The cast claim it is meant to be ‘light-hearted’ and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Evers-Swindell is quoted in the Daily Mail saying ‘This wasn’t a British production, Tom Hooper didn’t direct this, this isn’t The King’s Speech. This isn’t an in-depth look at the royal family.’ Well he can say that again.
William and Kate: The Movie, directed by Mark Rosman, is available on DVD from Revolver Entertainment, Certificate PG.