The Family Filmgoer
Friday, March 18, 2005; Page WE46
Strong performances at the center of this ultra-sanitized family film will keep kids (mostly girls) 8 and older interested in "Ice Princess," even though its alleged high school juniors and seniors seem more like middle schoolers and its setting feels more like 1965 than 2005, laptop computers and digital cameras notwithstanding. This is really a teen saga for grade schoolers to enjoy. The film contains no strong language or crude humor. There's barely a hint of sexual innuendo in the story, a little flirting and a chaste kiss. The only elements in the film that could give very young children or their parents pause are unethical behaviors. The skaters in the film say destructive things or slam into one another before competitions. And some of their parents are scary -- ambitious stage moms crossed with haranguing Little League dads. Yikes!
Rachel (Naomi Watts) and her young son, Aidan (David Dorfman), have left Seattle after their experiences with the death-dealing videotape in "The Ring" (PG-13, 2002). Now they're living in a quiet Oregon town, and Rachel, once a hotshot reporter, works at the tiny local paper. But the unexplained death of a teenager convinces her that the lethal tape is back in circulation. She destroys the copy, but the malevolent spirit of the long-ago murdered child Samara (Kelly Stables) escapes to taunt Rachel and Aidan in this meandering sequel. Like its predecessor, "The Ring Two" opts for dark foreboding and nightmarish dreamscapes instead of gore, but it feels like a rehash and its thrills are few. Even director Hideo Nakata, who did the hit Japanese films that inspired these U.S. versions, couldn't give this one the zing it needed.