Growing up we’ve been put to bed by our parents by either reading us a good story or letting us watch a good G-Rated cartoon/movie. Every birthday cake is inspired by Disney characters and we’d always play with the fairies, adorable talking animals, and pretend we could fly. We would swing on trees, wield our swords against witches and sorcerers and go home to Mommy or Daddy boasting how we saved the day. Fairy tales were and probably still is a big part of our lives. I’ve seen, heard and read hundreds of tales on how we want to ride into the sunset and live happily ever after with our Prince Charming.
Lately there seems to be another Hollywood trend wherein some of our most beloved fairy tales are given a make over to appeal more to the older generation. In fact there are two Snow White versions being produced as of the moment. So in light of this, lets turn the wheels of time and revisit some of fairy-themed movies.
The Brothers Grimm with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. Two hunky guys who are the genius behind a lot of our favorite bedtime stories. As seen on the movie, the original Grimm stories are dark and violent, hardly a feel good story that will help put a restless child to sleep, a very stark contrast to their Disney counterpart. An action/adventure movie through and through plus having two hunky men onscreen never hurt.
Before Whitney went to the deep end and Brandy got involved in that unfortunate event, there was Cinderella. It’s not your typical Cinderella story because it’s a musical and the cast are members of different ethnicity but a couple of songs into the movie and you won’t even notice that. They managed to keep the storybook feel in terms of the effects, costumes and backdrop and the story wasn’t tweaked that much either aside from making it funnier than the usual melodrama associated with this tale. The songs are catchy and Whitney Houston rocked as the fairy god mother.
I love Drew Barrymore as Cinderella in Ever More. She’s not the typical doormat damsel, she’s feisty and goes after what she wants albeit on the sly. The fairy dust is absent on this film so we won’t see magic and pumpkins turning into carriages and all that. It’s tweaked to appeal to the grown ups who still fancies the idea of Prince Charming and happily ever after. A chick flick through and through and unless you’re on the first stages of dating or your guy is into Drew Barrymore then I suggest that you see this film with your girlfriends.
Not your typical cartoon, the Shrek franchise appeals to almost everyone. A movie adaptation based on a picture book of the same title, here we have a power house voice cast combined with parodies of classic Brothers Grimm stories and pop culture. These four movies will surely evoke a couple of laughs. It’s so amazing that DreamWorks was able to maintain the voice actors all throughout the franchise which lends consistency to all four films. My favorite is Eddi Murphy and his storyline with the Dragon and their little Dronkies.
A classic turned Supernatural and in my opinion, I think this is what the Brothers Grimm really meant when they printed Little Red Riding Hood ages ago. Red Riding Hood is dark and and a grown up fantasy film. Amanda Seyfried was perfect to play Valerie with those amazing blond locks and big, blue, innocent eyes. The movie will keep you in suspense til the end and will definitely keep you guessing who the Werewolf is.
Disney’s Enchanted is what made Amy Adams a household name. In an attempt at self-parody to the Disney Princess archetype, this movie is funny and touching at the same time plus it’s a musical which adds to its charm (my favorite is the Central Park Parade). We got a clueless Princess who can beckon animals to do her bidding with a song, a Pantaloon wearing, sword wielding Prince out to save her from the evils of NYC and McDreamy as her savior, we got everything we need for a hilarious, feel-good movie.
Hallmark Channel’s Snow White: The Fairest of them All didn’t deviate much from the classic story but this version made some of the elements darker and scarier. Miranda Richardson is a scene stealer as Queen Elspeth, the wicked stepmother and Kristen Kreuk pulled off the role as Snow White pretty well. For a TV movie made in the 90’s this film is one of the best Snow White retelling so far.
Another Walt Disney production, Hook is based on the very precocious Peter Pan and his band of mischievous children out to annoy Captain Hook. Although Robin Williams is not very appealing as Peter Pan the movie made up for it in terms of visual effects and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook was just amazing! In true Disney fashion, the story is very wholesome.
I still have to catch Beastly starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. I just read the book and Flinn just modernized the story, making it more appealing to this generation but the key elements are still present. The Witch putting a curse on a Prince for having a rotten core turning him into a ghastly, hairy beast, banished from society. The only thing that can save him is a kiss from his one true love who will love him for who he is and not what he looks like. The story is still relevant today in terms of what it wants to convey especially now that we are so influenced and pressured to be like what we see on TV, movies and magazines. Although most critics said that this movie was not so good, I’m still curious enough to catch this on DVD.
There are still dozens of movies based on various folk lore about damsels, princes and knights and I’m sure that we’ll see more of this in the future. Fairy tales were and will always be part of our lives and the generations to come. They not only inspire us to dream but also to persevere and not to lose hope.