Critics' Corner: Dark and Sexy Fairy Tales Are Coming

Critics' Corner: Dark and Sexy Fairy Tales Are Coming

May 24, 2011

Grae and Dave try to predict which of the many upcoming fairy tale movies will fit like a glass slipper or taste like a poison apple…

Grae: So let me tell you a bedtime story, little Dave…

Dave: Does it end with Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother being crushed by a storm of giant rocks falling from the sky?

Grae: Um, sort of?

Dave: Good, because there's an old-school version of Cinderella out there, a Chinese version, that ends that way.

Grae: Of course it ends like that. This is why they're a world superpower.

Dave: But tell me your story.

Grae: Once upon a time there was a huge, mean movie industry that refused to create original material. They pumped out regurgitated concepts one after the other and forced the good, hardworking people of the land to waste their money on them. The End.

Dave: Yes, I too am annoyed by the onslaught of borrowed ideas from big studios. And what you're referring to is a coming trend of darker, sexier fairy tale movies because they can't do just one of anything in our hometown.

Grae: Except the Hottie and the Nottie, there was only one of those.

Dave: …which was really just a dumbed-down version of Rapunzel with an ugly chick. I think. I tried to drink my way through that one and it’s not like I saw it twice.

Grae: ACK!

Dave: We can look forward to battling Snow Whites in a cage match, as there are THREE SNOW WHITE MOVIES on the way, including one with samurais or Xaolin monks, I hear.

Grae: I never understood this business model of “Hey let’s do the same thing that guy is doing.”

Dave: I get this business model. It’s about Crushing Thine Enemies. And I approve of it because I have been watching Game of Thrones.

Grae: Oh, you big strong man, you. I personally understand the business model of supporting each other's ideas and creating lands full of flowers and lollipops.

Dave: That’s adorable, but crushing thine enemies is more fun. And in that spirit, out of three Snow Whites, I would like for one of them—the one with the monks or whatever--to be ultraviolent. Just tossing that demand out there to the unlistening wind.

Grae: Don't get your hopes up—Disney is doing it.

Dave: I can still wish for something along the lines of Snow White and the 13 Assassins. I hereby request that characters be kicked in the face and sworded clean through, as I have been watching Game of Thrones.

Grae: You’ve got me wondering if domestic disturbance calls increase when the show is over, a la Monday Night Football. Are there any swords in your house?

Dave: I’d have given Bridesmaids an extra star on our rating scale if Kristen Wiig had chopped off Rose Byrne’s head.

Grae: This is getting weird.

Dave: Fair enough. So, I have a philosophy of movie watching: Unless it's from the people who make the Date Movie and Epic Movie series, then I look forward to each new thing I see with at least some anticipation and hope that it’ll be great.

Grae: An optimist that’s a fan of beheading. Okay, I’m listening.

Dave: So in that spirit, here is what I'm looking forward to, based on concept alone: the Hailee Steinfeld Sleeping Beauty, in which she’s not going to be merely comatose but inhabiting a dream world in which she will have to fight stuff.

Grae: Yes! I love her and think she will look great in a pink-then-blue-then-pink dress with these swords you keep talking about. Hopefully they will do it with the same level of hardness as True Grit.

Dave: I hear that there's also going to be a different Sleeping Beauty story called Maleficent from her perspective. As long as it's not a musical about how misunderstood she was and instead adopts a root-for-the-demoness stance, I’ll be happy.

Grae: Tim Burton just dropped out of that one, and Angelina Jolie is supposed to play Maleficent.

Dave: I would love Angelina Jolie in that because I’m a fan of hers when she’s a movie badass.

Grae: Her lips are too pillowy for her to be the good guy. Er, gal.

Dave: Right. And when she has a gun she’s at her best. So replace the gun with superwitch powers and make her truly evil--which apparently, if you listen to Chelsea Handler, she actually is in real life.

Grae: (Cut to Angelina Jolie making her United Nations of children scrub her vast kitchen floor while she cackles and reads Joan Crawford’s book My Way of Life.)

 

Dave: I hear that Jack and the Beanstalk is going to happen too, called Jack the Giant Killer--that one I don’t know about. I worry about it becoming a Gulliver’s Travels sort of thing.

Grae: Jack and the Beanstalk is super fairy tale-ish, hard to toughen it up. It's a dude climbing a big ole plant into the clouds.

Dave: Violence can make that better. What if the magic harp gets her strings hacked off? What if the magic beans make Jack into a slicing and dicing murder machine? Do you see how violence solves most problems in plotting a film?

Grae: You actually do have a point. I would pay a lot of money to see that.

Dave: See? Now getting back to the rain of falling rocks, I really do hope that the new ones, especially the ones based on actual Grimm tales, end with the kinds of brutality that a lot of those stories originally came fully loaded with—punishment, dismemberment, banishment, and suicide.

Grae: Yeah but Red Riding Hood was pretty dark, and look what happened.

Dave: There’s a balance that I would like to be struck somewhere. What should happen is everyone who gets a green light to make one of these upcoming fairy tale movies has to watch three movies over and over and model themselves after at least one of them.

 

1. Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast
2. The Princess Bride
3. Pan's Labyrinth

Grae: Isn’t that kind of advocating plagiarism? Aren’t we officially against that?

Dave: Yes, but originality is its own fairy tale. Every new thing borrows and mutates some old thing. I just want filmmakers to be inspired by something decent.

Grae: I am not sure if watching those movies can save Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Sounds like a reality TV show.

Dave: I would like it if Hansel and Gretel were actually played by Amy Poehler and Bill Hader who voiced them in Hoodwinked Too, and it was an action comedy.

Grae: Stop being so optimistic! I thought that was my job! This one has Jeremy Renner fighting Famke Janssen. If you think about it, she makes the perfect witch. She’s always so dour—especially House on Haunted Hill.

Dave: I forgot I ever saw House on Haunted Hill.

Grae: Go with that--don't try to remember it. I, however, had an evil spell put on me by a gypsy I cut off in traffic, who doomed me to love Taye Diggs and watch the movie every time it’s on cable.

Dave: There’s a bright side—she could have made you fall in love with Tate Donovan and have to watch Love Potion No. 9.

Grae: Touché..

Dave: There’s at least one new Wizard of Oz movie coming out too, but I don’t know from whose perspective. Oz?

Grae: Would that make it like Funny Games? “These kids broke into my house and are making me do stuff!” In any case, I am tired of seeing them drink from the same small well of ideas. There are plenty of other fairy tales for them to pull from.

Dave: Such as?

Grae: Prunella, the girl who picks plums off a witch’s tree.

Dave: And…

Grae: And the witch captures her, and her son sneaks in and says he will release Prunella if she kisses him. She won’t, but he does nice stuff for her anyway, and eventually pushes his mom off a cliff. This teaches little girls all KINDS of good lessons.

Dave: The Grimm tales that nobody talks about would be great too. Like The Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was. This kid goes into scary situation after scary situation and can’t learn how to be frightened of anything until, finally, he grows up and marries a woman who throws ice water on him. The End. I’m not sure what the moral is but it’s funny.

Grae: It’s the Hot Tub Time Machine of fairy tales.

Dave: There’s also The Singing Bone, about two brothers who go boar hunting and one kills the other and his ghost makes the dead boar’s bones sing. Eventually the murdering brother is executed for his crime. There’s also The Girl without Hands about a virtuous girl whose father chops off her hands in order to receive wealth from the Devil. When those get made I will live happily ever after.

Grae: Hey, I see what you did there. Nicely done.

Dave: Thanks. Oh hey, one more thing.

Grae: Yes, sword-wielding-yet-still-optimistic maniac?

Dave: How many of these do you think will star Johnny Depp?

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