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Film / Sabrina Goes to Rome

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Sabrina Goes to Rome is a 1998 Made-for-TV Movie that's a spin-off of the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. It only features Melissa Joan Hart and Nick Bakay, reprising their roles as Sabrina and the voice of Salem respectively.

Sabrina Spellman is on a two-week vacation to the city of Rome. She has been given a family heirloom - a locket that belonged to her ancestor Sophia who lived during the Renaissance. It's Sabrina's mission to try and open it before the two weeks are up or its magic will be lost forever. In the meantime, Sabrina falls for Paul - an American photographer. She's unaware that Paul and his friend Travis know she's a witch and are planning to get proof to sell the story. Rounding out the main cast are Gwen (a British witch played by Tara Strong in a rare live action role), her familiar Stonehenge (a talking guinea pig) and Alberto (Gwen's love interest).

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Followed by another movie Sabrina Down Under also featuring Tara Strong as Gwen.

Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Sabrina uses magic to give herself fencing skills when confronted with Lorenzo's guards.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The novelisation added a subplot featuring Sabrina's aunts back in Westbridge. Possibly to make Sabrina's romance with Paul less cheat-y, Harvey is caught going around with a girl called Tish who turns out to be in the Witness Protection Program.
  • Arc Words: "Let the magic guide you".
  • Beta Couple: Gwen and Alberto.
  • Big Eater: Both the familiars.
  • Catchphrase: Gwen says "frizzle" when something goes wrong.
  • Character Action Title
  • Chekhov's Hobby: "12 years of gymnastics finally paid off".
  • Continuity Drift: Sabrina's characterization in the two movie's continuity is a little different from how she is in the sitcom. She's more responsible and capable in contrast to her reckless and lazy use of magic on the show.
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  • Continuity Lockout: No mention is made of Sabrina's relationship with Harvey back in Westbridge. And likewise, Gwen is never brought up in the TV series.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The novelisation has a bunch. For one it describes Gwen as having 'short cropped hair' and owning a hamster instead of a guinea pig. She also says "bullocks" instead of "frizzle". Travis's name is changed to Max (unless Travis is just his surname but it still counts since characters call him that anyway). When Gwen tries to magic herself and Alberto to Sabrina, the novelisation says they end up in Greenland while in the film they're just inside a snow-globe. And the end says Sabrina finds a picture of Roberto and Sophia in the locket which doesn't happen in the film.
    • Also it gets the names of the Spellman butlers wrong. They're named Tiberto, Antonio and Silvio - when in "The Great Mistake" in addition to Silvio, the other two are Lance and Derek. It counts as a snarl because Hilda explicitly says she brought them back.
  • Cousin Oliver: Sophia is actually Sabrina's aunt - as in her father's sister. Her not being mentioned before is technically given a justification - she was banished as a result of being betrayed by a mortal.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Sophia's wannabe suitor Lorenzo thinks that even after Sophia knows that Roberto was tricked into betraying her, she would choose her magic over him. Also he believes that Roberto betraying Sophia will cause her to marry him instead - not considering Sophia would forgive Roberto.
  • Exact Words: Gwen's love spell to Alberto contains "wings of grey" - so he turns into a pigeon.
  • Genki Girl: Gwen, due to popping so many jellybeans.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: As to be expected when Sabrina goes back in time to a Renaissance ball.
  • Happily Adopted: Paul was raised by an Irish couple but his real parents were Italian. It's not stated whether or not his real parents died. His grandfather is still alive at least.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Sabrina tries to hide her magic from Gwen when she gets the hiccups, and loses control. It doesn't last too long, and she finds out anyway.
  • Identical Grandson: Sophia is Sabrina's aunt and is identical to her (both are played by Melissa Joan Hart). This is even Lampshaded several times, many characters finding it odd how they look alike.
  • Inept Mage: Gwen, whose Establishing Character Moment as such is attempting to freeze time, and showering everyone with water.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Gwen turns Alberto into a pigeon and later a goat by accident. She also says she turned herself into a rabbit weeks before.
  • Karma Houdini: Played with. Lorenzo never received any comeuppance from trying to break Sophia and Roberto up. He could very well be at large in the present day. Although he never did get Sophia and got the woman he loved banished.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Attempted by Sabrina at first when she goes back in time. Subverted when she conjures herself sensible breeches to make it easier.
  • Latin Lover: Alberto for Gwen.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Gwen's hair is shown down a lot more as her romance with Alberto progresses.
  • Loophole Abuse: Sabrina isn't punished for Paul and Travis discovering her magic - since they did so on their own. However she is still bound by the rules when she reveals her magic to Paul, as she didn't know he already knew.
  • Love Redeems: The main theme of the movie.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Gwen's first spell to Alberto can be reversed by kissing him. But when she turns him into a goat? Presumably because the first spell was done with an incantation and was related to romance (hence the kiss) while the second was just her trying to turn Paul into an animal.
  • A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: Gwen's spell to Alberto - turning him into a pigeon - can only be reversed with a kiss.
  • Making a Splash: An accidental example. Gwen is constantly trying to freeze time but she ends up showering people with water - due to not getting the temperature setting right.
  • Maybe Ever After: Sabrina and Paul. Their final scene is romantic but certainly seems like a goodbye without intending to keep in touch. Since Sabrina and Harvey got back together in season 3, it's safe to say things ended there.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: A variation. Alberto's ancestors were originally witches but they are mortals now. His mother intends for them to reclaim their magic - so she always takes in witches on vacations. Her hope is that Alberto will marry one.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: When Sabrina goes back in time, Melissa Joan Hart gives Sophia a slight hint at an Italian accent. Lorenzo has an American accent. Fridge Brilliance could be that the witches have American accents while the mortals have Italian.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Stonehenge's 'British' accent. Averted with Tara Strong, whose accent is quite decent.
  • Rule of Cool: The sword fighting scene in the Renaissance.
  • Salt and Pepper: A variation. Salem and Stonehenge - a black cat and white guinea pig respectively.
  • Running Gag: In-universe where Stonehenge claims that Gwen is always sending people to Greenland by accident.
  • Scenery Porn: The film was shot in Rome and it damn sure makes sure you know it.
  • Secret Keeper: Paul becomes one at the end.
  • Shopping Montage: Two young women in Rome. Even when they can conjure any clothes they want.
  • Shout-Out: Roberto's two enemies from the Renaissance are named Mercutio and Lorenzo.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sophia and Roberto.
  • Those Two Guys/ Team Pet: Salem and Stonehenge take on these roles.
  • Together in Death: Implied with Sophia and Roberto.
  • Translation Convention: The Renaissance people speak English to Sabrina but we assume they're speaking Latin or Italian really.
  • Trope Codifier: This film establishes and confirms the rules about telling a mortal that one is a witch; if the mortal betrays the secret, the witch is stripped of her powers and banished - or else has 12 hours to turn the mortal to stone.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Sabrina probably didn't need to do all that back-flipping in her fight. Slightly justified since it's due to magic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sabrina turns Travis into a series of different animals towards the end. The last we see of him is as an emu, not knowing whether she turned him back or not.
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