Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fairy Tales Revisited through Film

In the past two years, the film industry has seen an abundance of classic fairy tales revisited with a twist.  Perhaps fairy tales are making their way back up the age scale.  It's interesting to think that fairy tales started out as stories which adults enjoyed and they evolved into tales which society deemed suitable for children, believing they had innate moral lessons which children's minds would unconsciously seep in.  However today, the general opinion among many parents is that perhaps these stories are too dark and in some cases too gruesome and that they may even have mixed messages.  Some stories like The Seven Wives of Bluebeard are too much for kids, but I think parents should remember the following, as described by Professor Maria Tatar: " There’s nothing wrong with editing, refashioning, and creating your own version for a child, or choosing a tale from the many different versions out there–one that is age-appropriate and also leaves something to the imagination–let’s you fill in the many blanks.  What I’ve always loved about fairy tales is that they are so compact and surreal—no one accepts the story at face value and we can’t help but react to the terms of the tale.  Fairy tales  get us talking about what you do when you meet a wolf  in the forest, encounter a beast at home, or find a talking frog in your backyard.  The story is just the beginning of a bigger conversation that continues over the years. " I do think it's a bit ironic that in a society where morals sometimes hang on a thread and where children are exposed to so many things just because they are not "part of the culture", fairy tales are what parents are worried about.


Back to Hollywood though, so now fairy tales which were made for adults and refashioned for children are once again being revamped to play to a young adult/adult audience.  The latest attempt at bringing another fairy tale to life is Rupert Sanders' Snow White and the Huntsman.  I'm one to take a film for what it is.  When I go and see a movie that has been adapted from the page, I don't like to sit there and list off everything the director and actors did wrong, and complain why did they change this, oh why did they do that... Instead I think it's more productive and entertaining to take this film for what it is and see what elements were retained, which were heightened, which fell by the wayside and simply add the vision to framework created by the original story.  While I haven't been too excited about the other fairy tale-esque films as of late (other than Burton's Alice, although Alice in Wonderland is not technically a fairy tale so I'm not sure it should be put into this wave of fairy tale films), I am looking forward to seeing this film and how it will add to and subvert previous notions of Snow White.

Here's a great video, where director, Rupert Sanders, Snow White, Kristen Stewart and the Evil Queen, Charlize Theron, discuss the film and the elements which make it really it's own fairy tale and how they stayed true to but also  how it complicates our idea of Snow White:

Just wanted to add this screen shot from a press junket interview, that works well with this post! :

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