Friday, May 31, 2013

Fairy Tale Roundup: New Fairy Tale Fiction, Why Fairies Suck, and OUAT Trivia

Upcoming Fairy Tale Fiction
SurLaLune is frikkin amazing and has kindly created two Listmania lists of the 55 (count them, 55!) new fairy tale fiction books coming out this year, including Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, Stung (a post apocalyptic Sleeping Beauty), Cold Spell (a modern retelling of Snow Queen), and The Grimm Conclusion (the new Adam Gidwitz book!)  Apparently the biggest upcoming trend is Snow Queen, which gives me a happy. She will continue to add to the lists as more books come out, so keep an eye on it!

The Biggest Reasons Why Fairies are Evil
Io9 debunks the myth that fairies are benevolent creatures by looking at their fairly awful track record of stealing and selling souls, drowning people, kidnapping the womens and marrying them or making them serve as nurses for their children, the famous "seduce and destroy" maneuver, stealing babies and murdering children, disproportionate revenge, and enslavement. Don't forget to leave your fairy milk out as tribute, or you will be in a world of trouble.

OUAT Trivia
A new tumlbr has emerged called OUAT Trivias with 100 fun facts about the show and fairy tales related to the show. It hasn't been updated in a bit, but I highly encourage looking at the trivia they have. Some are a bit obvious and some are a stretch, but others are interesting, like:

 #91 "The book that Ruby gives Belle in "Tiny," The Mysterious Island, is the same book Mary Margaret Blanchard reads in "7:15am," a reference to Lost."

#67 "In the scene at Lake Nostos were Lancelot is on bended knee, he utters the words "God in his mercy, lend her grace," which is a direct reference to the Tennyson poem, Lady of Shallott. In the poem, the Lady of Shallott is cursed after trying to look at Lancelot directly, and dies as a result. Lancelot sees her dead body floating down a river, and says these words not knowing that he caused her death."

#62 "Regina calls her horse by the name Rocinate, which is the name of Don Quixote's horse."

One of them tells of the other "missing people" on the post-curse-breaking notice board, including Pierre Abelard (a medieval philosopher), and characters from Midsummer! Pretty fun stuff!

I am unsure now whether or not to do a final few episodes of OUAT review. Is it too late now? Have I missed the interest boat? Let me know.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fairy Tale Roundup: Cinderella Movie, Snow White and Rose Red, English Censorship, Werewolves vs. Little Red, and the OUAT Wonderland Trailer

Catching up in the fairy tale world, here are several highlights from the blogosphere!

1) Robb Stark is cast as Prince Charming in the Kenneth Branagh/ Cate Blanchett Cinderella
Intreguing. Very promicing that he is much more than just a pretty face. And Cate Blanchett as the stepmother is phenominal. Kenny directing? Not sure. There are few films he has directed recently that I have been thrilled with. Sure, Much Ado, Henry V and Midwinter's Tale are amazing! But after that, his movies seem to tip from passionate realism into melodrama. Love's Labor's Lost was charming and had some excellent moments, but a bit ridiculous, and Thor was interesting, but certainly not all that it could have been. Hopefully he will do what he does best: keep the camera rolling and let the amazing actors loose to do their thing.

Don't forget, this was the Cinderella Mark Romanek (dir. Never Let Me Go) was going to direct before his concept was deemed too dark for Disney. Let's hope Ken doesn't swing in the opposite direction. Or at least sticks to his artistic guns and does not pander to Disney execs.

2) Snow White and Rose Red by Kelly Vivanco
Kelly Vivanco, one of my favorite artists, has written and illustrated an adaptation of one of the strangest and most interesting fairy tales, Snow White and Rose Red. She has a way of capturing a question in a painting. You are always compelled to ask "Why?" There is a fox in a top hat. Why? There is a girl sitting in a field with flowers, but she doesn't look happy. Why? Click here for more of her beautiful work.

3) Tales of Faerie has recently come out with two excellent posts. The first one, When Grimms' Fairy Tales Came to England,  is about how the English, nostalgic for "authentic" old traditions and values in the throws of the industrial revolution, took the Grimm's fairy tales and adapted them for 19th century England, cleaning up the morals, making them appropriate for children, and emphasizing the often false idea that the tales were collected from folksy German peasants.

The second, Werewolves and Little Red Riding Hood, is an exploration of the relationship between werewolf legends and Little Red Riding Hood tales. She draws connections between tales of werewolf trials in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries and the folktales of the little child accosted by the wolf in the same towns a century or two later. She examines common elements of those tales and extrapolates on their meaning, free from any morals or edits Perrault may have imposed.

4) Lastly, we finally have a trailer for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and you know what? It looks pretty good!

It begins by embracing the darker traditions of the Alice in Wonderland story that have sprung up in popular culture and analysis, exploring the idea of Alice's madness. I love that it is taking a darker route. I am a bit confused by the genie, and how that fits into Wonderland, and the CGI looks mostly pretty sub-par as I feared, but overall, I'm excited!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

TV: OUAT Monster Review Dump

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have returned from the land of the dead! The 75th Anniversary of my day job had taken over a bit, so I was unable to post. But I am back and scrambling to get back on track.

First order of business is the OUAT reviews. It has been too long since I watched them to give specific reviews, but I will give you my general impressions!

The Queen is Dead

Ah, Mini-Snow-White acting her little heart out. Did anyone else find it heartbreaking that, presumably because Toby Ziegler couldn't or wouldn't do the show again, poor Snow had to lead the nation in mourning for her mother? That scene where she turns and kneels and she is all alone. 

This episode had the worst case of "Let Us Talk Loudly and In Unnecessary Detail about our Evil Plan" with Regina and Cora. Much like Regina's "Let Me Unnecessarily Use Magic so Someone Can Take a Photo of Me" in a previous episode. Tighten your storytelling, people. There are other ways. 

I loved the brutality of Hook hitting Charming in the head with a crowbar. I love when the show digs it's toes into darkness like that, but they always end up undercutting it with magic or miraculous healing powers like Charming apparently has. (Except for poor Gus. RIP.)

And poor Joanna. The death of Joanna was the perfect thing to send Snow over the edge. She lost both of her mothers to Cora, and the darkness she had in Season 1 returns to guide her choices in the next episode.


The Miller's Daughter

The show is at it's best when they give good actors meaty dialogue and just let them at each other. Exhibit A: Cora and Rumplestiltskin in their very strange romance. Both actors are enormously talented and they let are just let loose to chew the scenery and have their charged "Fuck Everyone" relationship. Exhibit B: Mr. Gold and Belle's phone call. Who wouldn't want something like that said to them? And it was a perfectly unselfish moment on Gold's part. He is dying and he doesn't need to explain himself, or rail against the world, or make it about him. He makes it about her. In his dying moments he needed to tell her how wonderful she was. Exhibit C: Rose McGowan as Cora. Amazing. Every intonation, every movement of her facial muscles exudes Barbara Hershey. Never was there more perfect casting. Exhibit D: Bae and his Father. That scene was so moving, full of everything they were not saying. Exhibit E: The heart break of Cora ripping her own heart out, making her unable to love her daughter. It is so awful when we learn that Snow was absolutely right, and she could have not done Rumplestiltskin's spell and returned Cora's heart, and everyone would have been happy. Instead, she chooses darkness and perpetuates the acts of hate. All in all, a top notch episode.

Io9's Review: This is what hate sex looks like in Disney's Fairy Tale Kingdom


Welcome to Storybrooke

This was a fascinating episode. I loved exploring the early days of Storybrooke, how Regina gets incredibly bored with years and years of interacting with people under her control. A really solid tasty flashback, letting Regina wrestle with herself and her loneliness. It was so simple and strong, with no over the top CGI.

Io9 makes an interesting point about how in the Enchanted Forest, everything is black and white. You are either good or you are evil. In Storybrooke, things are much more complicated. However, Regina doesn't let things be complicated for Snow. Snow killed Regina's mother and is now has a one way ticket to Evil Town. She is forcing Snow to experience the pidgen-holing Regina has felt. The question is, do the rules of magic work like that? Will the magic hold her accountable for the rest of her life? Will she be allowed to change?

Io9 Review: At last, Once Upon a Time uses fairytale tropes to rip out your heart


Selfless, Brave and True

The flashback with Pinocchio and Tamara was so great! Real storytelling, with real emotional stakes for everyone. And the Red Dragon was a Dragon! The world of magic is so much bigger than we expected. Bigger than the little Storybrooke curse. I want more of THAT! However, the episode lost me when the Blue Fairy turned Pinnochio back into a little boy. Does the boy have memories when he was a man having sex with all those women? Is he a man in a boy's body? Or is he all innosence and has no memory of those times at all? If so, doesn't that rob him of something? He went through a lot of pain and growth to become who he is and now that is all gone. I do understand getting a fresh start with Geppetto, but I felt like it would have been stronger for him to confront Geppetto as a man and ask for forgiveness and discover what their relationship is now



I will get to Lacy and Rumple in a second, but first I want to give a shout out to the "Regina and Emma sitting on a bench" scene. It was perfect. The two women sitting and talking about real things, taking their history into account, and connecting as people. Yes, at the end, it devolves into scheming and plotting, but it starts in such a nice honest place. 

Now, on to Lacy and Rumple. I was so captured by the idea that Belle and Rumple would help remind each other who they are. Such a beautiful idea. The flashback fulfilled something I never knew was missing in "Skin Deep": an honest development of Belle's relationship with Rumple. She didn't automatically see the best in him while he was making jokes at the spinning wheel. This story was the perfect stepping stone for them. And the acting was, of course, superb. Rumple has these small glances where he is just so in wonder at her. He tries to mask his vulnerability with jokes, but he is clearly falling in love with her. We see it first in that perfect moment where he is unable to make a deal with the Sheriff that would hurt her, and it just unfurls from there. She has a power over him that he doesn't fully understand. 

Lacey revels in Mr. Gold's darkness. Which has to be wicked confusing for Rumple. There is a beautiful parallel between Mr. Gold beating the Sheriff with his cane while Lacey eggs him on and when Mr. Gold beats Hook with his cane and Belle appeals to his better self. Does Mr. Gold love Belle/Lacey enough to do what ever she wants or will he honor the memory of Belle and try to be a better man dispite Lacey in Belle's body? OR will the mix be good for him? He is not an angel, or a devil. He is a man, and Belle/ Lacey allows him to explore both sides of himself. 

PS, Is Regina mayor again? What paperwork is she doing?
And PPS, And this moment was PERFECT!

Aaaaaand don't be mad, I haven't seen the most recent one. I will watch it as soon as I can, schedules just have to align.