The iconic remake of The Parent Trap, starring Lindsay Lohan, was released 25 years ago. In her film debut, Lohan plays the role of both Annie James and Hallie Parker, twins separated at birth. Annie and Hallie meet at summer camp, discover that they are twins, and swap places at the end of camp in hopes of getting their parents back together.
While the 1998 version of The Parent Trap is iconic and well-known, it’s a remake of the 1961 movie of the same name. The Parent Trap from 1961 was based on the book Lonnie and Lisa. The 1961 version, while the original, is undoubtedly less enjoyable than the 1998 adaptation.
The twins in the original version, Susan and Sharon, played by Hayley Mills, were very similar personality-wise; they have the same tendencies and patterns. For the majority of the camp scene, the twins spend most of their time in each other’s presence, even before their time in the isolation cabin. This gives them less time to show the audience their personalities. In Lohan’s version, however, the twins are just different enough. For example, Annie plays piano and speaks French, while Hallie does not.
The original movie is also overly serious, as well as outdated. The grandmother comments that girls should not have short hair. While this might have been a common belief at the time, it is a somewhat unpopular opinion now. Lohan’s adaptation of The Parent Trap is much more timeless because there aren’t any noticeably outdated comments. This version was also funnier and less solemn than the original, making it better for its target audience.
Another main point that makes Lohan’s version more memorable is the villain. While the stepmother of the twins in the original version was unlikeable, the stepmother is a better villain in the 1998 version. She was more two-faced and threatened the twins with a foreign boarding school. The mother of the twins was immature in the original version, while the mother in the reboot had better communication and was more responsible. This main difference in the reboot made the stepmother more hateful because she was the only obvious villain in the movie.
There’s a universal belief that reboots are always worse than the original, but 25 years later, the reboot of The Parent Trap continues to prove that statement wrong.
~ Laila Clarke `26