Once Upon a Time…

…I watched some films based on fairy stories.

Red Riding Hood (2011)

Amanda Seyfried plays the role of Red in this mix up of the Perrault story and Brotherhood of the Wolf. The village is being terrorised by a werewolf. Enter stage left Father Solomon and his henchmen, who are the go to guys for killing werewolves, and I their way just as much of a problem as the beast itself. There are plenty of suspects, most of them young guys who want to go out with Red or close members of her family (well, it is a small village). It all looks very pretty, with snow on the ground so that Red stands out all the better, but not a lot else to recommend it. The plot has no surprises. It touches on the perils of fanaticism and obsession, but doesn’t really do anything more than that. The fight scenes are never anything more than obvious CGI, and the end twist was a disappointment. Look aside, all very much a ho and a hum.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Charlize Theron chews up the scenery as the evil Queen, who conquers everything and kills everyone who gets in her way, except Princess Snow White, who she allows to grow up and become a warrior woman who leads the rebel forces to victory against her. I quite liked Charlize; she was a most agreeable baddie. Not so keen on Kristen Stewart as Snow, who played her as Joan of Arc but just looked sulky and not at all convincing as the rallying figure for the revolutionary fight back. Her conversion to Amazon didn’t convince either. It was mildly fun in a ‘Oh, look at the CGI on that’ kind of way, visually appealing, and for nasty Charlize, but I don’t think I’ll be watching it again any time soon.

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

A Terry Gilliam film in which Will and Jake Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger) are travelling con men, swindling the good people of the Black Forest out of their hard earned money by performing fake exorcisms and the like, but then they encounter a very real supernatural menace and have to earn their fee for once. There’s a bit more to this than the other two films, though it’s hardly classic Gilliam. The plot is convoluted, with lots of zany characters and moments of humour, plus a visual look  that’s appealing, including some rather nifty sfx. Underlying it all there’s a feel good factor, the brothers Grimm given a chance to become the heroes they pretend to be and redeem the sins of their past. Overall it put me in mind of Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, albeit I thought that a far superior film. This was entertaining enough.

With hindsight maybe I should have watched Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters with Gemma Arterton in.

Fairy tales underlie so much of our fiction, but leaving aside cartoons I can’t think of any really good films inspired by them.

Possibly the Sigourney Weaver version of Snow White, but aside from that…



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13 Responses to Once Upon a Time…

  1. petertennant says:

    Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast”, another good fairy tale film that sprung to mind immediately after I clicked on Publish.

  2. Ray Cluley says:

    Hard Candy as a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, if that’s allowed? And more tenuous, Sleeping Beauty starring Emily Browning was very good, I thought.

    • petertennant says:

      Good film, but I’d never connected “Hard Candy” to “Red”, though it seems obvious now you’ve mentioned it, but on checking Wikipedia seems the film was inspired by and extrapolated from real events, and the red cloak was only a case of wardrobe serendipity.

      I’ll keep an eye out for “Sleeping Beauty”, as I haven’t seen that one.

  3. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is very, very similar to The Brothers Grimm, but not as good, so I think you made the right decision. And since we watched it Netflix keeps recommending Hansel and Gretel Get Baked, which is annoying.

    • petertennant says:

      I see from Amazon there is also a “Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft”, which implies they might be on collision course with the Witch Hunters. What with those two and “Get Baked” we could have unearthed a new subgenre.

  4. Ali L says:

    Mirror Mirror is rather good fun. And Jack the Giant Slayer is great – much better than I expected, with some good giggles thrown in. 🙂

  5. petertennant says:

    Oh, there might be an apple in it for you.

    Yes, an apple. Definitely an apple.

  6. petertennant says:

    I thought you’d given up smoking (yes, it did take me four days to come back with that ‘witty’ reply – well four days to work through the backlog of emails till I found the one reminding me that you’d replied).

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