As a fan of the original "St. Trinian's" movies I was surprised by the 2007 update as it managed to get a bit of the old movie spirit but updating it for a new audience. Sadly I can't say the same of the sequel "St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold" because it ends up weak with far too many set pieces and not enough story. It's not like you expect a strong storyline when it comes to a "St. Trinian's" movie but you do expect the spirit and chaos of a school of tearaways and in many ways that is what is missing. Instead it is a case of forcing the identities, kids trying too hard to be geeky or tough and it makes it a very disjointed movie.
It's a new term at St. Trinian's and having been made head girl Annabel Fritton (Talulah Riley - The Boat That Rocked) is unsure whether she can follow in the footsteps of the great Kelly (Gemma Arterton). But when an old ring comes to light Annabel has to show her leadership qualities as they learn the ring is part of a clue to a legendary treasure that a long departed relative of Camilla Fritton (Rupert Everett) stole. The only trouble is that the girls are not the only ones aware of the legendary treasure and Lord Pomfrey (David Tennant - Bright Young Things); leader of the secretive AD1 sect is also after the rings to find the treasure.
The irony of "St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold" is that it does not need a strong storyline and in fact the whole idea of the girls searching for some hidden treasure is good enough. The way this develops with not only a secretive group also after the treasure but the twist at the end of all the treasure hunting is imaginative and fun. But the storyline plays second fiddle to a lot of set pieces and rather than being the driving force of the movie it feels like it has been moulded around various gags the writers thought of.
The knock on effect of this is that whilst for about the first 20 minutes "St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold" is entertaining as we have a new term and meet the various cliques from posh totties to the geeks it soon becomes dull. It becomes dull because the set pieces are too forced and orchestrated so when the girls defend the school from a bunch of AD1 operatives after the ring it lacks the element of chaos. When they try and track down the other ring it again feels too orchestrated, too many over designed set pieces rather than being amusingly ragged and frenetic. And it is a shame as part of the fun of "St. Trinian's" is the chaos of the girls getting away with murder and hurling flour at people.
Because everything ends up feeling too scripted it also means the performances from the various actors end up feeling forced. The various young actresses such as Talulah Riley, Tamsin Egerton and Zawe Ashton all seem too rehearsed and there is no mess to their performances which is what is needed. And whilst you also have the likes of Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and David Tennant they all seem as over rehearsed as everyone else and it means the humour of their characters lacks a punch. Having said that having Firth looking dishevelled as a drunk is amusing especially when his posh voice comes out from beneath his unkempt hair and mass of beard.
What this all boils down to is that "St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold" whilst amusing is not up to the standards of the first movie and it is because it feels too rehearsed. That element of comical chaos of girls running amok is lacking and as such it not only feels too regimented but also disjointed with the story playing second fiddle to various set pieces.