Some things simply leave me speechless. Take, for example, the DVD release of The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine — an item that defies all explanation when it comes to sound marketing. The only reason I can come up with for this disc’s existence is, of course, money. This theory of mine quickly became fact once I saw a tiny specification on the cover’s backside that basically says: “All proceeds from the sales of this title go to The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry” — to wit the average person must wonder if they themselves are paying for the actual wedding itself by purchasing this video.
Of course, such is not the case: said Foundation has a decidedly more charitable purpose.
Personally, I was bored to tears here. Following the major disappointment that The Royal Wedding – William & Catherine was not a long-overdue direct-to-video sequel to the 1951 Fred Astaire/Jane Powell vehicle Royal Wedding, I sat there and marveled over how much media frenzy can be built up over seemingly nothing. Sure, the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Di was a big to-do: over 750 million people tuned in to watch it. Interestingly enough, when it came time for Charles and Di’s son William to marry Kate Middleton, though, television audiences were not as curious to witness such a union take place.
Perhaps the world just didn’t care anymore. There are also more television networks to choose from now than there were then; maybe they were all interested in watching the eagerly-anticipated American “sports” program WWE: Smackdown that night instead. Speaking of us Yanks, I can’t help but think of the late Leslie Nielsen’s line from The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad when it comes to this whole Royal Wedding affair: “No matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us, as Americans, we must be gracious and considerate hosts.”
So, anyway, The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine is a catch for historians, pseudo-historians, and people that just want to check out how many goofy hats were being worn at the occasion and passed off as “fashionable.” We begin with news anchors trying their best to keep our attention by talking about any and every thing under the sun as everybody shows up late. The interview a few young girls out on the streets, most of whom are only there because they’ve got it bad for Prince William and are hoping Prince Harry will pick them out of the crowd so that they may be his bride. Eventually, the wedding takes place: and we see William and Kate looking either thoroughly bored or extremely hung-over.
Bishops get up and rant on about marriage. Choirboys are shown in abundance, as the wedding is filled with several hymns. The best part about this, naturally, is seeing how truly uncomfortable and confused many of the wedding guests look as they pretend to sing or find their place in the hymnbook.
After over two hours of this, the program ends with the new royals standing alongside the old ones out on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. They wave a lot, then leave all of their subjects standing outside. A slow-mo recap of the couple kissing is shown, and it’s all over — but the strange unexplainable feeling of emptiness lasts much, much longer.
On the whole, The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine looks and sounds great, but is of little interest to anyone that isn’t already fascinated in this subject matter. The event is presented in an anamorphic widescreen presentation and with stereo sound.
Also included on this disc is a fifty-minute documentary “William & Kate: A Royal Engagement,” which is much more interesting than the wedding itself as it’s a fully-produced item, and not something that was shot straight for two hours-plus with sporadic narration from news commentators who weren’t the best at ad-libbing.
Rent it if you really feel the need to see it. Unless you want to donate to The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, that is, in which case you should definitely buy it.