Making the Grades
Everyone knows fairytales have to end with "happily ever after". It's a given. A handsome prince, who apparently doesn't mind morning breath, awakens Sleeping Beauty with a kiss from her lengthy snooze. Snow White finds a guy over 3 feet tall to fall in love with and Rapunzel catches a man who is willing to buy hair products in bulk. Even Little Red Riding Hood gets away from the Big Bad Wolf and is reunited with her granny.
So what happens when Cinderella's evil stepmother, Frieda (voice of Sigourney Weaver), decides to take over Fairy Tale land and put the evil guys in charge? Suddenly, all the happy endings are replaced with gloomy conclusions.
The trouble starts when the kingdom's Wizard (voice of George Carlin), who ensures all stories wrap up blissfully, takes a golfing vacation to Scotland and leaves his two apprentices, Munk (voice of Wallace Shawn) and Mambo (voice of Andy Dick) in charge. Arriving at the Prince's (voice of Patrick Warburton) royal ball, Frieda and her two ugly daughters are intent on one of them winning the hand of the unwed royal. Then Frieda gets wind of the Wizard's absence and after some shady shenanigans snatches the Wizard's scepter from his helpers' hands. With her newfound power, she summons all the wicked wolves, nasty trolls and villainous giants to join her in ensuring they end up with the favorable outcomes.
However, Cinderella (voice by Sarah Michelle Geller)---Ella for short---isn't about to let her dreams of marrying the prince be derailed by her stepmother. With the help of her friend Rick (voice of Freddie Prinze, Jr.) who is a dishwasher at the castle, she searches for a way to guarantee her wishes come true.
This updated story with the spunky, brunette heroine blends several well-known fairytale characters with some new ones. Yet despite the familiar cast, the film seems short on charm. Ella is a determined maiden but her friend Rick spends inordinate amounts of time moping about his place in life and flipping aside his unruly hair.
The lack of serious content concerns makes it tolerable for most older children who won't be frightened by Frieda's evil incantations. However, dropping some cash on this Saturday morning-like animation may leave parents feeling a tad unhappy after its over.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Happily N’Ever After.
Rumplestilskin is worried about the effect of violence on his baby. Do you think violent movies have an effect on children? Does your family have viewing guidelines?
What does Ella like about the Prince? Is their relationship based more on looks or personality? What qualities does she fail to appreciate in Rick?
How does the depiction of Cinderella in this film differ from the classic 1950’s animated film? What stereotypes does this script alter? To which portrayal do you relate?