Film Review with Robert Mann – St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold
St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold ****
The St Trinian’s films have been a staple of the British film industry for a long time with the five films being released across a 26 year span, ranging from 1954 to 1980. Some of these were regarded to be classics of British comedy cinema while others were considered charmless additions to a film series well past its sell by date. Its significant role in British film history was enough to warrant a revival, released in 2007, which was produced by British filmmaking institution Ealing Studios which has seen something of a comeback in recent years. While the practice of updating the series to keep up with the times wasn’t something that had proved wholly successful with previous instalments in this case it worked well, reflecting the less reserved times we now live in, and the film was a big hit, making a follow-up inevitable. With the release of St. Trinian’s: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold that follow-up is here. But is this sequel a film that will be remembered as a classic in the years to come or is it something that will be quickly forgotten? It’s hard to say really but for the time being at least it is a very funny film.
Life is as chaotic as ever for the goths, emos, trustafarians, geeks and ‘posh totty’ of St Trinian’s boarding school. When Celia (Juno Temple) is offered £20,000 by the nasty Lord Pomfrey (David Tennant) to obtain a ring that has been hidden in the school library for hundreds of years, the other girls Chelsea (Tamsin Egerton), Roxy (Sarah Harding), Bianca (Zawe Ashton), Beth (Jessica Bell), Zoe (Montserrat Lombard), Lucy (Ella Smith), Tania (Cloe Mackie), Tara (Holly Mackie), Daisy (Daisy Tonge), Bella (Clara Paget), Saffy (Gabriella Wilde), Jess (Jessica Agombar) and Harriet (Harriet Bamford) – now lead by new head girl Annabelle Fritton (Talulah Riley), decide to get in on the act and try to get more money out of Pomfrey. Their attempt backfires, however, and Pomfrey breaks into the school and steals the ring. Learning from headmistress Camilla Fritton (Rupert Everett) that the ring is one of two that when combined will lead to the location of a treasure buried long ago by her pirate ancestor, the girls are going to use all their guts, guile and girly charm to find the second ring, steal back the first one and find the treasure. But to do so they must stay ahead of Lord Pomfrey and his women hating secret society AD1 who are determined to stop the girls at any cost. Enlisting the help of former St Trinian’s head girl Kelly Jones (Gemma Arterton) and Miss Fritton’s love interest Geoffrey Thwaites (Colin Firth), the girls set about finding the treasure and putting an end to the plan’s of the bad guys. But with AD1 having people everywhere, can the feisty girl-gang outfox their fiendish rivals?
St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold is a distinctly British film. The humour is aimed squarely at the British movie-going audience, being of the very silly variety that people in other countries likely wouldn’t be able to appreciate in the same way as does. It is silly but not so much in a way that seems lowest common denominator and while moviegoers with more sophisticated tastes in comedy probably won’t have much appreciation for this film, there is enough here to amuse quite a broad audience. The film could be criticised for having many of the characters as stereotypes – the girls are all in cliques and the bad guys are rich, posh politicians – but this is rather a charm of the film, something that works in its favour. The film doesn’t portray characters stereotypically in any kind of offensive manner but rather in an old fashioned kind of way, not taking itself seriously in any way. In fact, a degree of suspension of disbelief is required when watching this film really, as there is no way much of what happens could happen in real life. This is, of course, why the film offers such great escapism though. The reason the characters, and thus the humour, work so well can be heavily attributed to the cast. While no one is exactly going to win any awards for their acting, everyone is extremely game and they are all the more amusing for it. This is particularly the case with Rupert Everett who not only spends the entire film in drag, playing a female character, but actually, in one very funny and slightly cringe worthy scene, kisses Colin Firth. Firth too is extremely game as demonstrated by that particular scene, and David Tennant is also very amusing, clearly getting much enjoyment out of playing the bad guy for a change. As for the girls, they all shine, each bringing their own touches to their roles. They are all good so it is hard to pick out any particular ones who shine. The film isn’t as strong in all aspects, the story being pretty thin, but the film does what it sets out to do. It is extremely funny, very British and a great piece of entertainment. Only time will tell if the film is remembered fondly but for the time being St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold is at least a hugely entertaining that is definitely worth checking out if you are in the mood for some good laughs, the kind of which only the British could provide.
Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)
© BRWC 2010.
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