Movie Feature

Fairy tales take over the movies

By Dave ChuaMovies - 02 April 2012 12:00 PM | Updated 3:28 PM

Fairy tales take over the movies

From left: Chris Hemsworth, Lily Collins, Gemma Atherton, Jeremy Renner and Kristen Stewart

Undeterred by the mediocre performance of the film ‘Red Riding Hood’, Hollywood studios continue to plunge headlong into converting fairy tales into celluloid in 2012. There are not one, but two, takes on Snow White in the upcoming months.

Of course, it’s not just the big screen. There have been two television takes on classic fairy tales; the detective and ‘X-Files’ influenced ‘Grimm’, and the more dramatic ‘Once Upon A Time’, both to mixed results.

Why the rush? Have the stories of the Brothers Grimm turned to gold? No, it’s a question of demand and supply. Now that most of the major super hero comics have been turned into movies, studios are hard pressed to find new stories to convert.

Super hero movies have already been done so much they’re already being revised. ‘The Spider Man’ franchise is undergoing a reboot, and the ‘X-men’ series had to travel back in time to put a new movie in theatres. Nor are superhero movies a guaranteed hit. Warner Bros landed on its face with the ‘Green Lantern’. Now that the comic book fount appears to be running dry, the executives are looking for another celluloid goose that may lay a golden egg.

So why not look for the tried and true? It worked for Disney, with their adaptations of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and recently, the 2-D version of ‘Rapunzel’. But those were animated versions, which relied on a younger audience for their box-office takings.

The new batch of fairy adaptations appears far more serious, with A-list stars such as Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts and Jeremy Renner on board.

But will audiences bite down on this apple? The evidence suggests otherwise. There’s the matter of brevity; the original stories might be worth 15-20 minutes of entertainment, but for cinemas they’re puffed up to an hour and a half, at the least.

Worst of all, if they go the route of ‘Red Riding Hood’, which tried to turn it into a ‘Twilight’-like story of eternal longing, audiences are going to become even more jaded and unresponsive. The look-a-like medieval Western setting of the films, with the guys-on-horseback and shield combat, will surely test the patience of the audience. 

Still, there’s no stopping the deluge. There are supposedly 5 ‘Peter Pan’ movies in development, and Guillermo Del Toro is working on a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ project. Of course, it all depends whether this new batch of Fairy Tale movies sinks or swims.

Here’s a rundown on the fairy tale movies coming your way.

Mirror Mirror’ (5 April)

Directed by Tarsem Singh, whose last movie ‘Immortals’ was universally scorned, this one looks like a more comedic take on the Snow White story. It appears to actually have little ones, aka dwarves, and it’s fortunate that it’ll come out before Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’, which also features many dwarves. Still, Julia Roberts as the evil queen is a scrumptious idea, even if she’s going to chew up every scene she’s in.

Snow White and the Huntsman’ (31 May)

Featuring Kristen Stewart from the ‘Twilight’ films and Chris Hemsworth who played Norse God Thor, the pair have to team up against evil Queen (Charlize Theron), who seems to have spent some time looking at Madonna’s music video ‘Frozen’. We don’t think there are going to be any dwarves in this one.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters’ (10 January, 2013)

No gingerbread house can tempt bad-assed looking Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Atherton)

15 years after their traumatic gingerbread-house incident, siblings Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Atherton) have become a formidable team of bounty hunters who track-and-kill witches – who can blame them? Directed by Tommy Wirkola, who made the semi-cult hit ‘Dead Snow’, this could be a hit or it could land on its face. There’s already news that the film is delayed until next year and Renner and Atherton are only up-and-coming stars. If it does possess some of the wicked humour that Wirkola showed in his previous efforts, this new incarnation could stand a fair chance.


Jack the Giant Killer’ (1 February, 2013)

We’re not too confident this will be a hit. For starters, the aggressively-titled film has a rather dainty Nicholas Hoult – he played Marcus in ‘About a Boy’ – as the supposed farmhand. Still, it is directed by ‘X-men’ director Bryan Singer,  so it’ll be up to Singer to find the magic that he had with the mutants to turn this one into a winner.