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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer - Mary-Kate and Ashley's US Videocassette/DVD Collection Trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette - Fashion Close-Up
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Filmographies

Winning London

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . G . NTSC

  Feature
Contract

Remember these two kids? That's right, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, the perky little fashion nuggets, are the same twins that played the infant Michelle on Full House. Most of us remember them as barely being able to utter "da-da", but America has grown up with these uber-twins for around a decade now.

Chloe (Mary-Kate), Riley (Ashley) and their team have been selected to represent their school for the Model United Nations competition being held in London. It'll be fierce competition, but these cute, fashionable and intelligent girls will surely be up to it.

They take in London's landmarks by day and (all-ages) nightclubs by night, somehow cramming in time to memorise the entire country's history in their bid to represent England in the Model U.N. competition. Along the way, Chloe falls for local English lad and fellow Model U.N. competitor, James (Jesse Spencer). James is a posh private school cutie with one of the most exaggerated English accents this side of Carry On.... But that's all good... you go Jesse, knock 'em dead son!

Apparently once in the running for Darth Vader, for the time being rather than becoming a pivotal part in the world of Luke and Leia, Jesse has to settle for Mary-Kate and Ashley. I don't know about you, but I’d probably feel like choking someone with 'force grip'.

Will class boundaries get in the way of true love? Will the Americans win the cold hearts of the British? Careful, don't strain yourself...

  Video
Contract

Yes, it's another NTSC Warner transfer, but the production doesn't really demand much better in this case. The film is presented in full-frame throughout, which is exactly the way it was supposed to be seen. Winning London is a tele-movie, it was never particularly intended for the cinema screen.

The video quality is generally free from problems throughout the feature. No MPEG artefacting or any other forms of authoring errors are present during the film. There is, however, a large amount of grain present. Whether this is due to budget limitations, using lower-grade film stock or a camera operator who knows as much about lighting as they do about military manoeuvres in Cuba, I'm not entirely sure. But the result is an image that is all over the place in terms of quality.

It doesn't really help matters when home video footage and poor-quality video stills are intercut at countless moments during the film - on the plus side, however, this does give it a kind of personal edge that its young target audience should enjoy.

  Audio
Contract

The two stereo audio tracks available, English and Spanish, do the job just fine here. They are clear and well mixed, with no major problems for understanding dialogue.

The film has a surprisingly mature soundtrack on offer too. Being set in London, the makers of the film have used pop music more or less from that region. In other words, where one might be expecting endless boy bands and other pop froth, you end up getting much more well chosen tunes - and even a classic or two that traces back to before Mary-Kate and Ashley's birth.

  Extras
Contract

While there's a decent amount of extra material on offer here, the discovery that most of it adds up to one long infomercial, fuelling the raging fires of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's trendy empire, isn't the least bit surprising.

The Fashion Close-Up featurette focuses on the mammoth amount of wardrobe contained within the film. Much of it, of course, is Mary-Kate and Ashley's own label. Amazing, it's done so subtly you would never have guessed...*cough*.

The Behind the Scenes featurette has a look at the fun the cast and crew had while making the film. Witness Jesse Spencer putting on an English accent even when he's not being filmed!

Cast & Crew information is also available, just in case you missed the names of Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen somewhere along the line.

A Filmography is available in the form of Mary-Kate and Ashley's US Video Highlights, chronicling all of the productions the girls have been in; you know, just in case.

Last of all is a Trailer for Mary-Kate and Ashley's video and DVD releases.

Gosh, I’ve said Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen a lot haven't I? Remember kids, you can also buy dolls... and lunch boxes... oh, and remember to use AOL for all your Internet needs. Oh yeah, drink Coke too...

  Overall  
Contract

To put it simply, Winning London is mildly entertaining fodder. Probably a bit too sugary for its mid-teen audience, probably too self-aware for anyone younger and a terrifying example of the extent of marketing for anyone older. It's got some positive messages about world harmony within and is a fairly thorough whirlwind tour of popular London - but then again, so was National Lampoon's European Vacation.

So, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have done the Bahamas, Australia, Paris and now London. Dare I say that in a few stops they might reach Dallas? Whoops... sorry.


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      And I quote...
    "Will the Americans win the cold hearts of the British? Careful, don't strain yourself... "
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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