Monday, December 10, 2012

Repeatedly Ever After

I have no real idea what to write about today (ha--there's the trick with telling myself I'll blog once a week every Sunday or Monday ... I have to have something to say!), but, I watched Snow White and the Huntsman yesterday. Most of it, really. Okay, some, and then I let it keep running while I zoned out. Not like I didn't already know the ending, sheesh.

Not that it was a bad movie--I wouldn't assert that--just an utterly unnecessary one.

But I write fantasy so I should like fantasy movies, right? Well, two things to say about that--first of all, yes, I like fantasy movies, IF they don't devolve into tropes and cheesiness. Which a lot of them do seeing as they're movies, made for the mainstream and not necessarily people like me who have read a zillion such stories already. When I watched the movie last night and they entered the Enchanted Forest all I could think of was how it felt like a ripoff of a different movie I'd loved from years ago (quick aside: as a kid we used to go to a theme park called the Enchanted Forest. Even then I wasn't too enchanted by it).

Secondly, there is a difference between fantasy and fairy tale, which my humble opinion asserts goes as deep as the way it's written. I used to read lots of fairy tales as a kid and there's a set format, expected themes like princesses and wicked stepmothers and love triumphing over, heck, anything. Sure there are expectations in fantasy, too, but fairy tales are a genre that existed, say, five hundred or more years ago; the expectations are a bit outdated for today. Maybe this is a roundabout way of saying we know what's going to happen in the end once we know it's a fairy tale. You know Snow White lives happily ever (yawn) after. Because she always has. Just like you know the evil queen won't.

Essentially, I guess, it boils down to the fact that once you know a story is a fairy tale, you know it'll end happily. ever. after. The dramatic steam goes out of the story. But I guess that's true of any story that's been retold a half million times over five hundred years with hardly any changes. And maybe also there's a part of me that associates fairy tales with kid stuff (not all of them are, if you read the originals) and therefore automatically feels patronized to watch/read one, whether it's a remake of the same old story, or some author's 'amusing' new take on a tale. Which I'm not crazy about, but that's another blog.

Also, since the first time I watched Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty as a kid, I had no capacity whatsoever to identify with the characters.  No emotional investment. I didn't much care if the princess got kissed or saved or adored or whatever because ... I don't know. I guess because if all you can do is passively sit by and wait to be rescued, all you are is a writer's convenience. And I had better ideas for what those princesses could be doing ....

Needless to say, the princess didn't take my advice this time around, either.

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