St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold

“The Bard’s a bird. I like it.”

St. Trinian’s 2

Yes, it is actually called that. Yes, I think it’s a terrible title too.

The Legend of Fritton’s Gold is the sequel to St. Trinian’s, the remake (sort of) of the 1950s film The Belles of St. Trinian’s, based in its turn upon the cartoons of Ronald Searle.

Got all that? Good.

St. Trinian’s School is an anarchic, crime-ridden boarding school for girls. It’s like Hogwarts crossed with a juvenile detention centre. In Fritton’s Gold, an unwonted trip to the library uncovers an ancient legend leading to a great treasure. Because they needed more money after that £250,000 they made in the first film.

There’s quite a lot wrong with this film. In the first place, the plot. Who made this up? An ancient legend about the Frittons? Really? A riddle-game about as tricky as a four-piece jigsaw puzzle? A secret society, for heavens’ sake? Not just a secret society, oh dear me no, a sexist secret society. I’m left wondering if the scriptwriter for the second film has ever even watched the first film, because they just don’t match. In some ways, I suppose you could see it as a parody (of such varied subjects as Malory Towers, Pirates of the Caribbean, even The Lord of the Rings, somehow), but parody has to be very, very sharp, otherwise it’s just silly, and Fritton’s Gold is too often non-parodic to work as parody. (Does that make sense?)

Then there’s the little details. The fact that the latitude and longitude of the Globe Theatre is wrong (thanks to the Resident Grammarian for pointing this out). Why go to all the trouble of making up a latitude and longitude when you could just use the correct one? And what about the bit at the end where Anabelle declares to the Doctor (who is, I might add, holding a gun) that she’s going “to tell the world” the secret of the treasure? I’m sorry, you’re saying this to a man with a gun? There’s a very obvious solution to that problem, and it’s probably not a good idea to draw his attention to it. Honestly.

The soundtrack is disappointing, too. The soundtrack to the first film was full of energy and attitude, whereas this one falls a bit flat, although the brilliant, anarchic school song (“St. Trinian’s/Defenders of anarchy”) does make a rather eerie appearance.

The acting is all right, I suppose. Rupert Everett plays Camilla Fritton again, in just about the only really convincing performance in the whole sorry mess. David Tennant is pretty much the stereotypical villain here, a wannabe Moriarty who never actually seems as intelligent as the script needs him to be; Sarah Harding as the new girl is pretty much a non-entity; and Tamsin Egerton’s character Chelsea seems to have forgotten everything she learned in the first film.

Well, I did actually manage to sit through this film, which I suppose is a point in its favour, but only a small one. It’s not irredeemably awful, just moderately so.

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