Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fairy Tale and Mythology Round Up: History of Little Red, La Belle et la Bete Trailer, Jupiter Ascending Trailer, Disney Villains High School, Moana: the Next Disney Movie

Grandma, What a Big History You Have!
Back in November, Once Upon a Blog featured an excellently written, moving piece on the history of Little Red Riding Hood and how her story has changed over time to serve the audience, since the first known variation in the 1st century. Well worth the read!
"Fairy tales, on the other hand, are much more mutable and most have their true origins in oral tales and are much more difficult to trace directly. They're accessible to all peoples of culture, time, class, education and to children as well as adults. That the tales are still recognizable after all this, that their motifs and essential stories remain intact ad recognizable speaks to how true they are in speaking about the human condition. As a result fairy tales are not only pretty special, they're essential." 
SurLaLune comments on it as well, and introduces us to the book Revisioning Red Riding Hood Around the World by Sandra L. Beckett and many other Red Riding Hood resources. My personal favorite is Red Riding Hood Uncloaked, but I am excited to sink my teeth into a few of the others she recommends!


Breaking News: Gans' "La Belle et la Bete" Trailer Released This Morning 
Once Upon a Blog found the trailer for Gans' La Belle et la Bete for us, and it is absolutely stunning! They seem to be doing a straightforward version of the tale, with no modern twists or wierdness. It is actually kind of refreshing.

Here is the 1946 version by Jean Cocteau for comparison:


We have discussed Jupiter Ascending, the sci-fi Snow White adaptation starring Mila Cunis and Channing Tatum, several times on this blog, but now we have a trailer, and it looks epic! For those longing for a space opera, this is it. Directed by the Wachowski siblings, you know it is going to be visually stunning:


Why this "Disney Villains: the Next Generation" show is a problem

Io9 recently reported on a new show coming out of Disney:
[The Descendants is set] In a present day idyllic kingdom, the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney's iconic Beauty and the Beast) is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the trouble-making offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar who have been imprisoned on a forbidden island with all the other villains, sidekicks, evil step-mothers and step-sisters. These villainous descendants (Carlos, Mal, Evvie and Jay, respectively) are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes including Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan. However, the evil teens face a dilemma. Should they follow in their nefarious parents' footsteps and help all the villains regain power or embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom?
I will let you all respond as your conscience dictates. Io9 has some rather interesting questions about it.


The Next Disney Movie in Development: Moana (2018)
Disney has another movie coming out for 2018, perhaps as a response to all the backlash Frozen got. It takes place in the South Pacific with a princess (alas, another princess) of color!
"The main character will be Moana Waialiki, a sea voyaging enthusiast, and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her family needs her help, she sets off on an epic journey. The film will also include demi-gods and spirits taken from real mythology."
It sounds like a lot of fun! I am a little nervous because the concept art has her all sexified Hopefully it can be an awesome adventure story without her looking like a stick body with ginormous eyes.

REVIEW: Breadcrumbs

by Anne Ursu

“A boy got a splinter in his eye, and his heart turned cold. Only two people noticed. One was a witch, and she took him for her own. The other was his best friend. And she went after him in ill-considered shoes, brave and completely unprepared.” 

Hazel has moved from a more progressive, creative school to a traditional school in a new neighborhood. She feels so out of place. All the things she enjoyed about learning are discouraged. Her only touchstone is her best friend Jack. They let their imaginations run wild, inventing stories and playing baseball as superheros who are not allowed to use their powers. However, one day, Jack gets something in his eye, and he is completely different. He is mean to Hazel and doesn't care about what they used to care about. And then he disappears. Everyone thinks he went to visit his aunt, but Hazel knows something is wrong. She knows he was stolen by the Snow Queen. She must embark on a mission, facing wolves, witches, and ice, to save her best friend... who might not want to be saved.

To read more, see my review at Palimpsest.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

REVIEW: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

by Sarah Beth Durst

“She had a hundred reasons: because Bear had carved a statue of her in the center of the topiary garden, because she could always make him laugh, because he'd let her return to the station, because he won at chess and lost at hockey, because he ran as fast as he could to polar bear births, because he had seal breath even as a human, because his hands were soft, because he was her Bear. "Because I want my husband back," Cassie said.” 

Cassie has lived her whole life in her family's arctic research station. Her world is ice and science and tagging polar bears and survival. Her grandmother had told her fairy tales about her mother, the adopted daughter of the North Wind, who was supposed to marry the Polar Bear King but married a mortal instead. The North Wind was so angry that he threw the mother into the land of the trolls, never to be seen again. When Cassie grew up, she realized these were just stories to make her feel better about her mother's death. That is, until the Polar Bear King comes to claim Cassie as his wife. After agreeing to rescue her mother, Bear whisks Cassie away to his ice castle at the North Pole. She and Bear slowly and deeply fall in love, but when Cassie betrays Bear and he is torn from her side, she must brave the frozen wasteland to find him again.

To read more, see my review at Palimpsest.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fairy Tale and Mythology Round Up: Fairy Tales as Literary Crack, Modern Reds, the Bullied Cinderella, Mythic Assholes, Norse vs Marvel Mythology, and Christmas Fairy Tales

It looks like November is another crazy month for me, so I am a little behind in my fairy tale news. Here is a digest of the interesting things I have found so far!

1) Catherynne M. Valente Speaks on Fairy Tales at NY ComicCon
Once Upon a Blog directed our attention to the wisdom of one of my favorite authors, Catherynne M. Valente who wrote The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Lead the Revels There. At NY ComicCon this year, Ms. Valente said:

"Here's the thing about fairy tales... They are the best-edited stories of all time... boiled down, espresso-like stories that go straight to the back of your reptile brain."

I love that idea. They are like sea stones, rolled around in the surf of hundreds or thousands of years to be stripped down to the essentials, the truths span all of time.


2) Post Victorian Little Red Riding Hood
Tales of Faerie, as ever an pillar of fairy tale scholarship, distills Jack Zipes' The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood into a blog post exploration of what Red Riding Hood symbolizes in the modern age. She discusses how it is used to underline political, ecological, and gender equality issues, as well as more traditional interpretations.


Cinderella’s stepmom and stepsisters were SO mean.

The YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) had an excellent blog post about how Cinderella is a story about bullies. The special thing about Cinderella in comparison with other bully stories is that it doesn't dwell on the bullies. The bullies are an obstacle that Cinderella must face as she takes her destiny in to her own hands. 
"The stories I like—whether on my library shelves or playing out in my own neighborhood—are the ones where our teens don’t relinquish their pens to the bullies. They get help, stop it, or endure despite the high cost. But they go on writing their own story, singing their own song, toward a happily ever after that stands separate and apart from the attacks against them."

4) The Biggest Assholes in Greek Mythology
 The gloriously irreverent Io9 has created yet another hilarious list, the biggest assholes in Greek mythology, and Zeus is at the top of the list. The first half of the list sticks with the known assholes, but then we get into more obscure people, like Ixion, who pushed his father-in-law onto a bed of hot coals, went insane, tried to have sex with Hera, and ended up having sex with a cloud.


Io9, snarky as ever, lists the many..not so much errors, but differences between the Marvel Asgard and the old Norse Asgard. It makes me want to sit by the fire on a winter night and read some eddas. I do miss the clever, tricky wanderer Odin and the mischievous Loki and the doofus Thor and my favorite nightmare creature, Fenrir.


Apparently Christmas = Fairy Tales at Marks and Spencers! Here is a cute ad for their store that leads you through Alice in Wonderland, Little Red, the Wizard of Oz (with a female Tin Man and Lion), Hansel and Gretel and Arabian Nights. With a special cameo from Helena Bonham Carter! Once Upon a Blog has background and commentary.

That is all for now, though I have a lot more coming up! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Fun: Fairy Tale Ads

Here is a little bit of Friday fun that I found on Tales of Faerie. Lemmonpepper99 on You Tube has compiled a playlist of fairy tale TV ads dating all the way back to the 1930s!

It is interesting to see what themes the ads pull out while trying to sell something. Little Red Riding Hood is either about sex, safety, or personal power. Cinderella is more often than not about searching for things we desire or transformation. Sleeping Beauty is strangely comedic in most, and ends up being either about sleeping peacefully or waiting for what you want. The Goldilocks ones are always about "just right." 

I think my favorites were the Little Red Adidas commercial and the Oreo commercial for their animation, the Nokia one for finding fairy tales in every day life, and the GHD and 7up commercials where our heroines take their destiny into their own hands. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Movies: A Tale Dark and Grimm will be an Henry Selick Movie!!!!


(breathe. Resume quasi-professional demeanor.)

A Tale Dark and Grimm, by Adam Gidwitz, is one of my favorite fairy tale adaptations of all time. Click here to read my review of it. Click here to read Adam Gidwitz's defense of dark fairy tales.

Now, it is going to be a movie with one of my favorite film artists at the helm, Henry Selick of Coraline and Nightmare Before Christmas.

If you watch the trailer you will see how well the story lends itself to Selick's style. 

OUAB has more details about the movie and what the book is about, so check her out. 

Articles: "Feminism" in Disney's Frozen and The Snow Queen

So I was full of lies when I said I wouldn't talk about Frozen anymore. Once Upon a Blog has really been cooking these last couple weeks, churning out really thought provoking articles on feminism, "feminisim," and blatant sexism in Disney's Frozen and other movies.

1) Disney's Ugly Princesses (Just Kidding. Being Pretty is a Requirement.)

There has been a lot of internet outrage when Lino DiSalvo, the head of animation for Frozen, claimed it was really difficult to animate women:
 "Historically speaking, animating female characters are really, really difficult, because they have to go through these range of emotions, but you have to keep them pretty and they’re very sensitive to — you can get them off a model very quickly. So, having a film with two hero female characters was really tough, and having them both in the scene and look very different if they’re echoing the same expression; that Elsa looking angry looks different from Anna being angry.”
Basically saying that it is more important for the character to be pretty than to express a range of emotions realistically.

This also brings back the conversation of how similar both the heroines in Frozen look like Rapunzel. I didn't realize how much until Once Upon a Blog showed this:


Ridiculous. It is like they did a test poll of what the most appealing face was and are cookie-cuttering it. OUAB has more thought provoking analysis. She also follows it up with a part 2: The Good Thing About Comas and Sleeping Princesses (?!) aka Ugly Princesses Not Allowed Pt 2, in which she explores the internet's outrage further, and branches out into the rest of the Disney Princess canon. 


The Snow Queen by Julia Griffin

This post might be my favorite because it examines the false feminism of Disney's Frozen ("Look! We have TWO heroines!") with the very real portrayals of female strength in the original "Snow Queen." OUAB discusses The Feminist Fangirl's post about why she is not supporting Frozen because, in the original, not only the protagonist, but 99% of the supporting cast are strong women of different ages and types: The Robber Girl, The Robber Girl's Mother, The Snow Queen, The Princess, The Garden Witch, The Lapland Woman, The Finland Woman, Grandmother, and the Lady Crow. It would have been a fantastic opportunity for Disney to showcase all kinds of female physicality, not just the cookie cutter princesses above. OUAB's post focuses not so much on ranting against Frozen, but as a on a lament for the original, and the lost opportunity there. 

(Though if you want ranting, the Feminist Fangirl post is fantastic!: "That Disney feels it’s necessary to take a female driven, female dominated story and cut it down to one princess protagonist with a dashing male helper/love interest, is honestly disgusting and one of the most blatant examples of Hollywood’s lack of faith in women in recent memory." Go girl! )

Also check out this really great blog post by Laura Athena: The Snow Queen: Visions of Female Strength for a great analysis of the women in "Snow Queen" (though the formatting makes it a bit difficult to read).


OUAB, as am I, is intrigued by the new trailer, which focuses on the sisters, and she discusses how few tales of sisterly love there are in fairy tales. The main protagonists are usually princess and prince, or sister and brother rather than two sisters. I can now sort of see how it is "The Snow Queen" again, only the Snow Queen and Kai are combined into one character: Elsa. However, it does not excuse the above article's point that they are lauding themselves for having two lead female roles, when they cut down a cast of 10 female roles and replaced them with male love interests and sidekicks. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Video: Who is the Wolf? Two Red Riding Hood Interpretations

I have a long backlog of adaptations I wished to discuss, and when I was exploring them, I came across two very different Little Red Riding Hood tales, one a short film, one a webcomic. While most interpretations focus on a young and handsome stranger as the wolf, these give us a different look at the wolves in our lives.

The Red Hood from Danishka Esterhazy on Vimeo.

The Red Hood first examines the wolf as "men." All men have an animal inside them waiting to strike. The enemy is not a predatory stranger, but the supposedly safe husband. And then the wolf is the girl. The wolf is not a specific gender. It is a primal and desperate urge inside all humankind.

Once Upon a Blog has a wonderful write up of it, including background and words from the director about her vision for the film. My joy at Red's killing was not as complete as Gypsy's however. When the husband stopped, and did not attack her, I saw a moment of doubt, of softness, like he might want to talk. But then her lover did not give him a chance to speak. That moment of the husband's hesitancy diminished the triumph I might have felt in her actions.

Redden by Maya Kern is a short webcomic which sends Red, a little girl, off to visit Grandmother, a terrifying monster in the woods. She is helped along the way by a wolf who gives her his pelt to "stay pure." When Grandmother see's Red, she decides to keep her as an apprentice. She forces her to set traps for the wolves of the forest, and  Red tries to helps them get free. But one day Grandmother catches her, and Red must fight for her life. The end is beautiful and heart wrenching.

The literal wolf in the tale is a friend whom Red must struggle to protect against Grandmother. Grandmother is the real predator.

File:Walter Crane26.jpg

illustration by Walter Crane

This brings up an interpretation of the fairy tale that is seldom explored in adaptations. The motif of the replaced relative comes up often in fairy tales. A mother is killed and replaced by a stepmother who is evil. The Brothers Grimm changed a lot of mothers to stepmothers so that the mother would remain good while still exploring the idea of someone who should love you treating you horribly. While the wolf in the forest is male, he goes and usurp's grandmother's place, even going so far as to wear her clothes, get in her bed and imitate her voice. A grandmother who used to be loving and kind, but now is cruel. The wolf is actually the grandmother. A loved one who has changed. Or in fact, a loved one who should be good but is evil. It is an interesting aspect to explore.

There are many wolves in the world. I think that is why "Little Red Riding Hood" is so captivating. We have wolves in every culture, in every walk of life: the person who appears to be good, but really is not. As much as the predatory male stranger is a strong and resonant interpretation, it would be interesting to see adapters to go in other directions to confront the other wolves in our lives.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

VIDEO GAMES: A Wolf Among Us, the Fables Video Game Trailer

Yet again, old news, but really exciting! The Fables video game, A Wolf Among Us, has a trailer! No news on when it is coming yet, but the art in the video game holds true to the artistry in the graphic novel. The nature of the game has you making moral choices to get you through the story, and your choices effect the game play and how others respond to you. You must negotiate Fables politics while getting your job done.

Very exciting! I hope they have more news soon!

Video: "Cinderonce" Makes Me Happy

I am catching up from my blackout period, so I know this is old news, but this video is one of my favorite things to come out in fairy tales this year: the story of Cinderella told through Beyonce songs.

It is brought to you by the fantastic artist, Todrick Hall who gave us Beauty and the Beat which went viral a year or two ago, and Cinderfella, a gay take on Cinderella which I had never seen until Once Upon a Blog's post

Everything in Cinderonce is lip syched, except for Todrick's vocals, but honestly, I didn't care! It was part of the homespun charm. It is a testament to how the themes of Cinderella still speak to a modern audience, and how the themes of Beyonce's songs transcend time. :-)

The best part is a cameo by drag queen Shangella as the fairy godmother! She is fabulous and makeovertastic. And Tiffany Daniels rocks the traditional Disney dress as Cinderella. The story is silly and tongue in cheek, but also very heartfelt at times.  

See more about the videos on Once Upon a Blog and Io9.

Here is Beauty and the Beat, a rendition of the song "Belle" set in the 'hood. 

Here is CinderFella, a touching gay retelling of Cinderella with a mix of Disney and modified pop songs (and sassy cameos from other Disney princes and princesses): 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MOVIES: Into the Woods Pictures and Questions of Form and Style

I was going to save this post for a little later, but there are a whole slew of pictures from filming Into the Woods that have just come out on Broadwayworld.com.

Many are of Cinderella's wedding with Prince, Cinderella, Stepmother and a non-Lucy-Punch Stepsister action:

Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine & Company Film INTO THE WOODS Royal WeddingAnna Kendrick, Chris Pine & Company Film INTO THE WOODS Royal Wedding
Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine & Company Film INTO THE WOODS Royal Wedding

Cinderella's dress is beautiful!! And Chris Pine definitely looks charming, if maybe not sincere.

And then we get my beloved James Corden as the Baker and Emily Blunt as a preggers Baker's Wife:

First Look At INTO THE WOODS Movie Cast In Costume!
First Look At INTO THE WOODS Movie Cast In Costume!

This actually brings home something I was going to write about. I was jarred when I saw this tweet from Anna Kendrick a few weeks ago: "Voice lessons, horse riding lessons, corset fittings. It’s like I’m in finishing school except I’ll be back in sweats by Xmas #IntoTheWoods."

I saw "horse riding lessons" and the weight of Into the Woods as a movie really hit home. For me, much of the charm of Into the Woods is the style, the obviously fake cow that eats a shoe, the flat cut out trees that are layered, the strong conceit that we are watching a fairy tale story being told by a storyteller, the Narrator. The idea that Cinderella would be riding a real horse, through presumably a real forest was difficult to swallow.

It brings up the question: how much of what we love about Into the Woods is the content, and how much of it is the form? Can it translate to real trees and real horses and real cows, or will we loose a lot of what we loved about this complex story told in this deceptively simple and homespun environment? 

Along similar lines, I have noticed that they do not have a Narrator listed in the IMDB credits. They do have a Baker's Father, but no Narrator. This may mean they have not cast the role yet. It could mean that, like the film of Sweeney Todd, they chose to get rid of the highly theatrical narrative structure that made the play special. You could certainly tell the content of Into the Woods without the Narrator, all you would need to do is cut one joke. But you would loose the style. 

In addition, I feel that the style and the content are not mutually exclusive. The Narrator sets up your typical fairy tale with his narration, which makes it all the more astonishing when the characters decided to break out of their roles, when the story becomes all too real, when stories begin to have weight and truth that you never realized before: that "children will listen." If the story is told straight out, without the idea that you listening to someone tell you a familiar story, that you are entering into this "Once Upon a Time" world where you know all the comforting rhythms, we will lose much of the weight of Act II.

What do you think? Do the images so far, including the one below, represent what you loved about Into the Woods? I must admit, they made me excited. Here's hoping that we do not loose the style, or the movie is able to create a new style that serves the form and the story. 

First Set Photos From INTO THE WOODS! Rapunzel's Castle, The Woods & More
Rapunzel's Tower Under Construction

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TV: BBC's Atlantis looks like Young Hercules

The trailer for BBC's Atlantis came out a little bit ago, and honestly, the only thing I can see going for it is Mark Addy, Juliet Stevenson and Sarah Parish. Jason, the main character, has almost no palpable personality. Pythagoras could go either way, stereotype or endearing sidekick. It looks like a generic Greece with everyone who has ever been associated with Greece, mythological or otherwise, having a good adventurous romp with McGuffins galore. But perhaps it is just a bad trailer? As the comments say below in the Io9 article, BBC gave us fairly good if a bit hokey adaptations of Merlin and Robin Hood.

Thoughts? Anyone excited about it?

UPDATE: HOLY CRAP! They are either doing a really horrible job marketing this show, or they are geniuses. Jason is possibly a TIME TRAVELER?

Friday, September 20, 2013

ARTICLES: Fairy Tale Class, Unsatisfying Princes, Dancing in Red Hot Shoes, a Fairy Tale Conference, and Fairy Tale Fiction Initiatives!

There has been a lot of juicy fairy tale analysis and scholarship while I was gone! Here are a few meaty tidbits to sink your teeth into.

USF offers it's First MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in Fairy Tales
At last, you don't need a bagillion dollars to take a college course in fairy tales!  The course is called "Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of Princess Stories" will be taught by professor Kevin Yee. Unfortunately, it already began, and we all missed it, but hopefully it bodes well for things to come. You can follow some of the work on Once Upon a Blog. InkGypsy took the course and is providing summaries and thoughts on each of the weeks! Here is her summery of Week 1 - Cinderella (Part 1) which has some really beautiful and insightful reflections from her classmates. Part 2 examine's Disney's Cinderella and it's contribution to the genre. Look for more soon!


The Ending of Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast is Supposed to be Disappointing. 
Once Upon a Blog discovered that, apparently, Cocteau meant for the transformation of the Beast into the prince to be disappointing in his highly influential La Belle et La Bete. He stated in an essay, "My aim would be to make the Beast so human, so sympathetic, so superior to men, that his transformation into Prince Charming would come as a terrible blow to Beauty, condemning her to a humdrum marriage and a future that I summed up in that last sentence of all fairy tales: ‘And they had many children.’” This is emphasized by the fact that the same actor played the transformed beast and the unwanted suitor at the beginning of the film.

Glen Keane, supervising animator for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, who referred to Cocteau's film for inspiration, agreed. "I never referred to him as anything but Beast,’ he answered. ‘To me he’s always been Beast. I always just believed that Belle called him Beast from the moment that he transformed… so whatever his name was before is not important because he was called Beast after that.’ Keane also went on to add, ‘matter of fact, when he changed into the prince, I knew everybody was going to be disappointed by that, because they fall in love with the beast’"



Once Upon a Blog, yet again, great scholar that she is, has researched the history of Snow White's cruel ending, where the evil stepmother is forced to dance in red hot shoes. Check out the link to see the historical torture device that may have inspired her fate. (I always think of this fantastic monologue when I read about the red hot shoes.)


This year's American Folklore Society Conference is focusing on Fairy Tales! It is in Rhode Island from Oct 16-19th if you want to go. Really interesting topics. Click the link to find out more on SurLaLune.


There are also two really exciting initiatives by my fellow fairy tale bloggers. First, Diamonds and Toads has launched Timeless Tales magazine! Each issue focuses on retelling of a specific fairy tale. She also includes a recording of the tale so you can listen to it. 

Something to Read for the Train has launched a similar, but more personal, initiative, A Grimm Project, where she is using each of the 242 Grimm tales as a prompt for her own creative writing! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

MOVIES: Into the Woods Update

I did not include this in my general movie overview earlier this month because I felt it deserved its own post.

First, there was a huge uproar when we found out that Disney had cast Sophia Grace Brownlee as Little Red Riding Hood, opposite Johnny Depp's wolf. (see Io9's post as well)

Sophia Grace: Little Red Riding Hood in 'Into the Woods'!

1) People were concerned that it was stunt casting, because Sophia Grace is not an actress, but a child celebrity singer. 2) Sophia Grace is 10. I, like many of my colleagues on the internet, had interpreted the "Hello Little Girl" scene between the Wolf and Little Red, and her subsequent song "I Know Things Now," to be about sexual experience. "Hello Little Girl" uses culinary and sexual imagery in the same breath: "Think of that scrumptious carnality twice in one day." "I Know Things Now" describes how she got "excited and scared" when he "drew me close and he swallowed me down down a dark slimy path where lie secrets that I never want to know." It did not help that the wolf costume in the original Broadway production had a phallus, and that Robert Westenburg was highly suggestive:

On the other hand, in his interview for BroadwayWorld in 2011, Sondheim states that the theme of the play is about parents and children. As one of the two active children in the play, having Little Red as an actual child would enhance that theme. Depending on the interpretation, I could see this song played purely as a "beware of strangers" cautionary tale. I hoped that is the direction they were heading when they cast a 10 year old. 


Disney recently swapped Little Reds, replacing 10 year old Sophia Grace with 12 year old Lilla Crawford, a stage actor with several Broadway shows under her belt. 

This certainly addresses the first concern: stunt casting. Yet, however mature Lilla may be, 2 years (though an important 2 years) is not a huge difference. We can safely assume that Disney will not emphasize the sexual nature of the scene, but judging from the change, they are apparently taking the public's concerns into consideration. 

Anyway, you can now see the completed cast list here, which includes most of the people we have seen before, but with one exciting addition: Annette Crosby (the sassy fairy godmother in Slipper and the Rose) will play Little Red's Granny. I am also ecstatic about Lucy Punch playing an evil stepsister, as she seems to have made a living in fairy tale films playing exactly that (and Sally Shepherdess from 10th Kingdom). It also includes character descriptions so you can get a glimpse of what they deem to be the essence of the character.

ART: The Tragedy of the Three Little Pigs

Fun small post while everything is crazy. There is a consistently clever blog on Tumblr called Tragedy Series who comes up with very unique tragedies to mourn. This is one of my favorite:

Heed the warning of this tale.

Monday, September 16, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Stung by Bethany Wiggins

"As I jump out the window, I glance over my shoulder. The window frames a face with smooth skin and hollow cheeks -- a boy on the brink of manhood. He peels his lips back and growls, and I stare into his brown eyes. For a moment it is like looking into a mirror and I almost say his name. Until I realize his eyes are wild and feral, like an animal's...As I sprint across the empty schoolyard, past the silent, rusted playground, I dare a look over my shoulder. My brother is hobbling toward the fence, his angle hanging at an odd angle to his leg. His eyes meet mine and he holds a hand up to me, a plea to come back. A sob tears at my chest, but I look away and keep running."

Fiona wakes up in her bedroom. Everything is covered in dust. The world around her is lifeless, and there is a tattoo on her right hand. She is 4 years older than she was when she fell asleep. She steps into a world divided, where those bearing the tattoo must live outside the wall because they are infected with a deadly disease that could turn them at any moment into mindless beastly killing machines. Those within the wall are safe, but at what cost? When Fiona is captured by the militia, she is marked as a Level Ten, the deadliest of all the infected. Yet, she feels normal. As flashes of memories come back to her, she and her former classmate Bowen, now a hardened militia man, must discover her secret before it is too late.

To see what I thought of this Sleeping Beauty adaptation, go to my other blog: Palimpsest

BOOK REVIEW: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

by Marissa Meyer

“A sickening howl stopped her, sucking the air out of her lungs. 
The night's chatter silenced, even the loitering city rats pausing to listen.
Scarlet had heard wild wolves before, prowling the countryside in search of easy prey on the farms.
But never had a wolf's howl send a chill down her spine like that.” 

This second book in the Lunar Chronicles follows a delivery girl named Scarlet whose grandmother has been missing for two weeks. The police have given up, but she tenaciously searches for clues. When she meets a young, handsome, ambiguously affiliated street fighter, Wolf, who might hold the key to her grandmother's disappearance, they embark on a journey that might save her grandmother, or doom Scarlet to the same fate. In the mean time, Cinder (protagonist of the last book), is breaking out of prison with the charming, but rather self absorbed Captain Thorne. And poor Prince Kai is left to deal with the evil Lunar Queen alone. 

To see what I thought of it, check out my other blog, Palimpsest! (HINT: I thought it was awesome.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


My goodness. It has been a while since I have posted. I blame Master's Degree, Sickness, Vacation and First Week of School. Lots to catch up on, so lets get down to it. My first installment will be regarding all the fairy tale movies coming up.

H&G: a modern day retelling of Hansel and Gretel. 
"...I have always been struck by this fable’s portrayal of adult women. The stepmother and the witch are portrayed as heartless villains. Whereas the father, although also complicit in the abandonment of the children, is portrayed as caring and loveable. In reading about the history of the tale, I discovered that Wilhelm Grimm revised the traditional tale several times. He changed the mother character into a stepmother and he also made her less sympathetic. According to folklorist Jack Zipes, Wilhelm Grimm “deepened the characterization of the father and stepmother so that he becomes much more caring and concerned about the children and she becomes more coldhearted and cruel.” This sharp gender dichotomy, this demonization of the adult female characters, was an element of the story that I wanted to explore and challenge. 

This was my starting place for writing H&G." - Danishka Esterhazy, Writer (Begins touring to film festivals Fall 2013)

Hallmark Transforming "Mirror Mirror" Comic Into Family Movie "The Hunters"
"Hallmark Released Synopsis: Carter and Jordyn Flynn (Payne, Forbes) aren't the average mom and dad. For them, a typical workday can take place anywhere in the world, raiding ornate museums and evading pursuing authorities as Hunters, protectors of powerful fairy tale artifacts that are anything but make believe. (Edit FTNH: Definitely sounds like a special annex of Warehouse 13!)" Victor Garber and Michelle Forbes will star.

This sounds right up my alley! I love me some Warehouse 13. Hallmark does not instill a lot of confidence, based on it's past movies (aside from it's Snow Queen), but it could be really cool! I certainly want to read the graphic novel now.

What a Fables Movie Must Have, According to Creator Mark Buckingham
"I think if it doesn't have Snow White and Bigby [Wolf] in it, then... [that's a problem]. They were such a core element of the first 50 issues of the story. So I think their romance, their relationship, is a really core aspect of the series. Beyond that, the beauty of Fables is it has such a rich cast, and you can really cherry-pick a lot of different aspects from it, and create a really good story, even if you don't necessarily follow the entire narrative."

Maleficent First Footage Reactions and Full Cast
"Maleficent is the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.” A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well." (Full Cast)

First Footage Reactions from ScreenCrush: "To give you some idea of what was shown, it imagines the famous Christening scene of baby Aurora. The three fairies (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) fly to the castle, ready to bestow their gifts on the child. As soon as the green fairy, Fauna, is about to present hers, the candles are snuffed out and a dark whirlwind heralds the evil witch herself. “Well, well,” says Jolie, accompanied by a villainous, whispered cackle. Scenes flash forward as we see Aurora growing up into her teenage self, while Maleficent, engulfed in a green flame, casts the famed curse we can all probably recite from memory." (More from Once Upon a Blog)

Channing Tatum's Bizarre New Look in the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending

Tatum Channing's Werewolf Assassin in Jupiter Ascending
In this sci-fi version of Snow White, Tatum Channing plays the Huntsman character, an albino assassin half-wolf. In Channing's own words, "I’m a splice, splices are essentially built in a test tube. I’m a hybrid wolf and human. And half albino, so I’m a little defective."

I am rather excited for this, but I hope it doesn't mean we can't have a Cinder movie too.

Disney's Next Animated Feature (Unofficially) is Giants
They are apparently doing to "Jack and the Beanstalk" what they did for Tangled and Frozen, which was highly successful in Tangled, but debatable in Frozen. There are so many plot details over at Once Upon a Blog, so please go over there and see them! The pics on the blog are not from Giants, however!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Movie: Gods Behaving Badly

Christopher Walken as Zeus, Nelsan Ellis as Dionysus: Best Movie Ever?

So this is happening, and I am so frikkin excited about it! According to I09, there is a movie coming out based on the book Gods Behaving Badly, a personal favorite of mine. The Greek Gods have not disappeared. They have adapted to circumstances, and are living in an apartment in London (well, NY in the movie). They are still squabbling and screwing as usual, but lack of belief has depleated their powers to almost nothing. Then, two hapless mortals stumble upon this celestial group house, and are caught up in a story that not only tests them to their limits, but may signal the end of the world as we know it.

The cast looks amazing! Christopher Walken is Zeus (who has shut himself away in the attic), Nelsan Ellis  is Dionysus (now a DJ), Sharon Stone is Aphrodite (a phone sex operator), Edie Falco is Artemis (a dog walker), John Turturro is Hades, Rosie Perez is Persephone, Phylicia Rashad is Demeter, and Oliver Platt is Apollo, which I am so excited about! And Alicia Silverstone is one of the hapless mortals.

Christopher Walken as Zeus, Nelsan Ellis as Dionysus: Best Movie Ever?Christopher Walken as Zeus, Nelsan Ellis as Dionysus: Best Movie Ever?

It is in post-production according to IMDB, and is labeled as coming out in 2013, but there is no trailer yet, or any further information, so I will keep you posted! This is Joseph Campbell at his best!