Tags: Fairy Tales

Article: How Christian is Disney's Frozen? (Not very.) Part 1

I’ve been surprised at the popularity of efforts to interpret major story elements in Frozen as a Christian parable. I’m not talking about merely commenting on the climactic act of self-sacrifice as reflecting Christlike love, etc. That, I don’t object to. I mean interpreting the film’s structure and themes as, in effect, an allegory of the Gospel — one rivaling or even surpassing C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.   Read more >

Review: Frozen (2013)

C+ | **½ | +1-1| Kids & Up

Frozen may be the most tragic fairy tale in the Disney canon, which is saying something.   Read more >

Post: The Wizard of Oz [Video]

Digitally remastered from the original negatives, painstakingly restored, The Wizard of Oz celebrates its 75th anniversary in style. Here’s my “Reel Faith” 60-second tribute to this beloved classic.   Read more >

Post: Oz the Great and Powerful [Video]

Oz the Great and Powerful in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.   Read more >

Review: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

C | ** | +1-1| Kids & Up*

Oz the Great and Powerful is brightly colorful, sincere and meant for children. That doesn’t make it good, exactly, but at least it’s basically the right kind of movie, which is saying something these days, alas.   Read more >

Article: Mirror Mirror and Fairy-tale Revisionism

I do take issue, though, with Hollywood’s current obsession with “dark,” “gritty,” “edgy” fare threatening to crush any sense of wonder and fantasy. What a joy, then, that Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror offers a gorgeous, fantastic fairy-tale world bursting with extravagant imagination and splendor.   Read more >

Post: Brave [Video]

Brave in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review — plus clips from the film!   Read more >

Review: Brave (2012)

A- | ***½ | +2| Kids & Up*

Among Hollywood animated films, it may be the most positive affirmation of family since The Incredibles and the best fairy tale since Beauty and the Beast.   Read more >

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

C+ | **½ | +1-1| Teens & Up

The film transposes its story from the register of fairy tale to that of epic myth — but it’s trying for unironic epic myth, iconic good vs. iconic evil. Iconic evil: check. Iconic goodness: There’s the rub.   Read more >

Review: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

A+ | **** | +2| Kids & Up

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is widely celebrated as a beginning, the first feature-length animated film in Hollywood history. It’s just as correct, though, and perhaps more illuminating, to hail it as a culimination — as the crowning achievement of years of experimentation, discovery, growth and achievement by Disney’s animation team.   Read more >

Review: Mirror Mirror (2012)

B | *** | +2| Teens & Up

What’s the last movie you saw that created an imaginary world that was actually beautiful, bursting with color and beauty and inspiration? A world that reminded you of the feeling you had as a child the first time you saw Dorothy open that door on the Technicolor world of Oz? A world you would actually like to enter and walk around in?   Read more >

Post: Tangled [Video] (A review in verse)

Disney’s Tangled in 30 seconds — in rhyming verse.   Read more >

Review: Puss in Boots (2011)

B+ | *** | +2-2| Kids & Up*

Banderas’s swashbuckling Puss in Boots first appeared in Shrek 2, quickly establishing himself as one of the most popular supporting characters in the franchise. Now in a starring role in this spinoff, Puss spins the story in a direction strikingly different from the Shrek films.   Read more >

Post: Red Riding Hood: The Anti-Nativity Story?

Lots of Red Riding Hood reviews, including mine, made obvious connections to the Twilight films, the first of which was directed by Red Riding Hood director Catherine Hardwicke. It takes a mind like Peter Chattaway’s to contemplate connections to Hardwicke’s The Nativity Story — and conclude that Red Riding Hood is in some ways “the anti-Nativity Story.”   Read more >

Review: Red Riding Hood (2011)

D | ** | -2| Teens & Up

Red Riding Hood is a movie of a sort that I would very much like to see if anyone could make it, which is another way of saying that it is not that sort of movie at all. A real Hollywood fairy tale is the rarest thing in the world. Hollywood is more comfortable with myth and legend. Partly, I think, it’s a matter of scale: Mythology provides the sort of sweeping, epic scope that lends itself to big-screen Hollywood feature filmmaking. Fairy tales are smaller and more intimate, and require a lighter touch.   Read more >

Review: Tangled (2010)

B+ | *** | +2-1| Kids & Up

We really do accept as normal whatever we’re raised with, don’t we? Like, say you’ve lived all your life alone in a lonely tower in a hidden valley, and your golden hair is 70 feet long, and the only mother you’ve ever known — the only person you ever see — comes and goes using your hair as a rope ladder, and she’s never let you so much as set one foot outside, and your hair does this magic trick when you sing that — well, not to give it away, but that would just be life to you, wouldn’t it?   Read more >

Review: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

A+ | **** | +2| Kids & Up

At the intersection of great animated films, great filmed stage musicals, and great fairy-tale romances, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast stands alone. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, it is simply the quintessential Disney masterpiece, the perfection of everything that Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid aspired to.   Read more >

Review: Shrek Forever After (2010)

B | *** | +2| Kids & Up*

After three Shrek films aimed squarely at adolescents, I’m mildly surprised to find that DreamWorks has made a final chapter aimed more or less at middle-aged men, and specifically husbands and fathers. You know, undemanding middle-aged men going to a Shrek movie. But still.   Read more >

Post: The End of Fairy-tale Princesses?

Yesterday I wrote about the possible effects of the box-office success of Alice in Wonderland on fairy-tale revisionism in family films to come. The flip side is the box-office disappointment of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which hit DVD shelves yesterday.   Read more >

Review: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

D | | -1| Teens & Up

The film is actually a joint evisceration not only of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, but also of “Jabberwocky,” with Alice recast as (so help me) a messianic warrior-hero destined to claim the fabled “Vorpal Sword,” don shining armor, and wage an epic battle on the fated “Frabjous Day” against the forces of the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the dragon-like Jabberwocky.   Read more >

Review: The Princess and the Frog (2009)

B | *** | +2-2| Kids & Up*

There’s a villain with magical powers — but instead of Disneyfied magic, like Aladdin’s friendly genie, the film’s New Orleans voodoo is an occult world of terrifying powers and principalities in which the villain himself is at much at risk as anyone. It’s almost Disney’s most overtly Christian depiction of magic and evil at least since Sleeping Beauty, if not ever — though the waters are muddied by a benevolent, swamp-dwelling hoodoo mama in a sort of fairy-godmother role.   Read more >

Review: Pinocchio (1940)

A+ | **** | +2| Kids & Up*

Emotionally resonant, visually dazzling, imaginatively captivating, thematically rich, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio may just be the greatest of all the early Disney masterpieces, possibly outshining Snow White, Fantasia and Bambi.   Read more >

Review: Enchanted (2007)

C+ | ** | -1| Kids & Up*

(Written by Suzanne E. Greydanus) Where is the real man here? Giselle’s rapport with Morgan and sweet naiveté are endearing; are we supposed to find Edward’s incompetence and arrogance equally so? Do our female hearts swoon when he checks his teeth in his sword, or boorishly flails it about at everything that moves? Why can’t the prince be an idealized example of chivalry, bravery, strength and honor, as Giselle is of sweetness and goodness?   Read more >

Review: Shrek the Third (2007)

C | ** | -1| Kids & Up*

Shrek the Third continues the deliberate bad taste that is the franchise’s hallmark, with the usual hit-and-miss results… What’s missing is the heart that leavened the first two films.   Read more >

Review: Happily N’Ever After (2007)

C | ** | +0| Kids & Up

Ella’s so blindly devoted to the Prince, and so convinced that he’s the one to save the day, that she seems just another swooning groupie rather than a worthy heroine. If she hasn’t any more sense than that, what exactly does Rick see in her? What does that say about him?   Read more >

Review: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1965)

B+ | ***½ | +1| Kids & Up

There may be no dethroning the Disney cartoon as the definitive musical retelling of the story of Cinderella in the popular imagination; but for my money Rodgers & Hammerstein’s made-for-TV musical is a better take on the timeless fairy tale set in stone by Charles Perrault, and a better introduction to the story for children.   Read more >

Review: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1957)

B+ | *** | +1| Kids & Up

Despite the formidable star power of no less than Julie Andrews, this original version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s made-for-TV musical Cinderella has been astonishingly neglected, overshadowed by the 1965 version starring Lesley Ann Warren.   Read more >

Review: Cinderella (1950)

B | *** | +1| Kids & Up

Coming in the wake of a string of early classics — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi — Disney’s Cinderella represents, alas, the early stages of Disney-itis.   Read more >

Review: The Princess Bride (1987)

A | ***½ | +2| Kids & Up*

Rob Reiner’s great cult classic The Princess Bride is one of those rare satiric gems, like The Court Jester and Galaxy Quest, that doesn’t just send up a genre, but honors it at the same time, giving us the excitement and pleasure of the real thing as well as the laughs of a comedy.   Read more >

Review: Ella Enchanted (2004)

B | *** | +0| Kids & Up

Borrowing a page from Sleeping Beauty, therefore, Levine came up with the central dramatic conceit of her Newbery Honor-award winning book, Ella Enchanted: From her infancy Ella has been under a fairy curse (here bestowed in cluelessness rather than malice) obliging her to obey any imperative statement directed at her, from anyone. The moral of the story, in the author’s own words in interviews and letters to readers, is: "Don’t be too obedient!"   Read more >

Review: Shrek 2 (2004)

B | *** | +1-1| Teens & Up

If Pixar’s Toy Story movies connect with the child in all of us, DreamWorks’ Shrek pictures are aimed squarely at our inner adolescent. I suspect I may be more in touch with my inner child than my inner adolescent.   Read more >

Review: Shrek (2001)

B | *** | +1-1| Teens & Up

Loosely based upon a story by children’s author William Steig (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble), Shrek is a satiric, updated fairy-tale love story, sort of like The Princess Bride, if André the Giant had been the hero, and had worn Lou Ferrigno body paint. And if Princess Buttercup did Matrix-style wire-fu and knocked out bad guys.   Read more >

Review: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

A- | ***½ | +1| Kids & Up*

A worthy successor to the early classics Snow White and Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty is the one great fairy-tale adaptation of Disney’s post-war period, outshining Cinderella and unrivaled until 1991’s Best-Picture candidate Beauty and the Beast.   Read more >

Review: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A+ | **** | +2| Kids & Up

The Wizard of Oz is one of a very few shared experiences that unite Americans as a culture, transcending barriers of age, locale, politics, religion, and so on. We all see it when we are young, and it leaves an indelible mark on our imaginations. We can hardly imagine not knowing it. It ranks among our earliest and most defining experiences of wonder and of fear, of fairy-tale joys and terrors, of the lure of the exotic and the comfort of home.   Read more >

Coming Soon

Recently Added

In Theaters – Latest

In Theaters – All