Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fairy Tale Roundup: Frozen is not Snow Queen, Adaptation in Saving Mr. Banks, What is Coming of Age?, Gans' Beauty and the Beast Stills, and RDJ as Pinocchio?

Frozen isn't Really "The Snow Queen" After All
According to the character profiles that recently emerged from Disney, Frozen is inspired by "The Snow Queen," but is not really the "Snow Queen" in the slightest. It is about two princesses, one of whom has magical ice powers that begin to corrupt her. I would love it if this ended up being a "Snow Queen" prequal, but until there is any sort of confirmation on that, I think I'm going to forgo reporting on any more Frozen things.

Saving Mr. Banks and Fairy Tale Adaptation
While Mary Poppins isn't quite a fairy tale, Once Upon a Blog examines the upcoming film and how it depicts the process of adapting fairy tales into Hollywood blockbusters: "trying to find the balance between being OK with the necessity of that, so the tales continue to live, and the despair I feel at missed opportunities when I see a lack of respect and/or understanding of the source material." She then goes on to state that fairy tales are malleable, and should reflect the time in which they are told:
"I'm interested in fairy tales even more as living things; things that both impact and reflect our society and the worldwide human experience.How tales are told, shared, recorded and retold show us where we've come from, reflect what's happening now and, if we pay attention, give us tools for where we're going. Studying history is excellent and valid but without paying attention to what's happening to fairy tales in the media and popular culture, it's like the sociology student closing the window on a college protest against Vietnam because he couldn't concentrate on his social and political science studies."
Great stuff! I am of her mind, that the source material is vital, and yet the tales must change to reflect the values and needs of the times. Click the link to read more about the movie and the rest of her thoughts. So excited for this movie!


Coming of Age Rituals: Do They Mean Anything?
The Hub recently published this compelling examination of coming of age rituals through the book Sons of the 613 by Michael Rubins. While not about fairy tales, most popular fairy tales are coming of age stories. The lowly person must rise above his or her station or means to do something spectacular and save the day, and thus become an adult. In the modern day and age, we do not have a set "you are now an adult" ritual. Sure, you could say you are an adult when graduate college, or get your first car, or have sex for the first time, or own a house, but the line is different for each person, and more often than not seems to be pushed later and later as adolescence extends into the early 20s. Religious ceremonies are symbolic coming of age rituals, but in contemporary society they rarely mean that the child is now treated as an adult.The protagonist's brother in Sons of 613 feels that physical feats prove that you are a man.

One of the students in the blogger's class offered a different mesasure for adulthood that I think also can apply to fairy tales:  “becoming an adult is really about getting over yourself. It’s not always about you.” Some coming of age fairy tales pass this test and others don't. Cinderella does not. Jack is ambiguous, depending on if you interpret his actions as selfishly motivated, or if you see his actions as an acceptance of household responsibility. The girl in "Diamonds and Toads" could be said to become an adult because she helps a poor old woman along the way, and gets rewarded, but you could say that decision came from innocence, rather than strength of character, as she was always kind. Perhaps the heroine in "The Seven Swans," who almost losses her life to save her brothers? Do you know of any coming of age fairy tales that fits this description of coming of age?


Stills of Gans' Beauty and the Beast
The film looks beautiful! And they seem to be basing the moving entirely off the de Baumont novella, rather than any sort of popular culture permutation since then. It includes merchant father down on his luck, selfish sisters and the dreams! While apparently close to La Belle et la Bete, because they are both based on the same story, Once Upon a Blog states that the film will have more if a live action Miazaki style than any of the other adaptations. So excited for this one now!


(image from GeekTyrant)

Robert Downey Jr. To Play Pinocchio
Flavorwire has reported that Robert Downey Jr. will play both a young (ger than we are used to) Gepetto and motion capture and voice Pinocchio in an upcoming movie directed by Ben Stiller. Usually Pinocchio is about a man who wants a son, but in this case, due to the strange casting, it might be about a man who wants to make a duplicate of himself. Strange, but intriguing, and appropriate for the roles that Robert Downey Jr typically embodies.


  1. Your support on the Saving Mr. Banks post means more than I can say. It really is the driving force behind the blog and helps me decide which stories to draw attention to and which not (on both sides - academic and pop culture). Thank you Megan!
    Ditto on the Frozen thing. I'm sure I'll find some commentary on Frozen and Snow Queen, simply because most people aren't going to see what essentially was "fine print" saying "this is not Snow Queen" but likely it will be more on the response to the film than the film itself. I'm not surprised really, just... disappointed for a lost opportunity. -sigh-
    And I just read something about RDJ, Pinocchio and Jekyll and Hyde which I must investigate..!

  2. OOh! That sounds interesting! I'm excited to hear what you find out!

    And yeah, it pisses me off when you have this great opportunity to get folks interested in an ancient story and totally botch it. Like with OUAT. So many missed opportunities there.