Tuesday 18 December 2012

Retelling Tales: Fairytales with a modern twist

Everyone nowadays has seen - or at least heard of - NBC's Grimm and ABCs Once Upon a Time as today's example of modern day fairytale retellings. Although they take very different approaches to storytelling, the both centre around a world where fairytales are real. It seems that these two shows have started a fad in hollywood of fairytale retellings with movies like "Mirror, Mirror" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" but really, we've been retelling tales since the tales were told - and yes, that was the cheesiest line I could come up with. 
In fact, the Brothers Grimm are just retelling tales and folk lore that have been around for centuries but I'm getting a little ahead of myself. These are the modern fairytale retellings from books to movies to television, OUAT and Grimm are just two in a long list of tales retold. And this list I'm providing is just a sampling.

If you look up fairytale retellings on Goodreads you're going to get a lot of books pop up. 
    One of the most popular nowadays is 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer: a Science Fiction retelling of Cinderella where our leading lady is a cyborg living in futuristic Bejing.

    Another is 'Beastly' by Alex Flinn: adapted into a movie staring Mary Kate Olsen and Vanessa Hudgens.

    Then, of course, there is 'Ella Enchanted' by Gail Carson Levine: a favourite author of mine, known for her YA fairytales.

    Month9 Books recently released 'Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes' featuring - you guessed it - twenty two authors spinning their own twisted tales.

    That's just four and there are hundreds if not thousands more out there, available with the click of a button.
Not even thinking about Disney or Barbie there are countless movies based on popular fairytales (especially Cinderella). There's a psychological reason for why people are drawn to the story of the girl who finds true love through a magical slipper but there is just not enough time to explore it. So instead, I'm going to rattle off a short list of movies based on fairytales that aren't Disney Animated or start with 'Barbie and the'. Ready?
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Little Match Girl
  • Sydney White
  • The Snow Queen
  • Rumplestiltskin
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Brothers Grimm
  • Shrek (1,2,3,and 4)
  • Happily Never After
  • Jack and the Giant Slayer
  • Black Forest
  • The Frog Prince
  • The Red Shoes

Ta da! So now you have something to occupy your time during your Christmas break. Some of them suck, some of them are awesome (like Brothers Grimm) and some are just weird (like Black Forest) but there's something out there for everyone.
Like movies, there have been fairytale retellings extended into televion since the 1930s. They're everywhere and come in all different forms.

Once Upon a Time: tales of love, betrayal and magic woven together in both fantasy and reality.

Grimm: bringing the legend of the Brother's Grimm to life in the form of monsters and magic.

10th Kingdom: a mini-series thrusting a girl into a post 'happily ever after' fairytale where not everyone is who they appear to be.

Faerie Tale Theatre: a series of retellings starring an amazing cast from the 1980s of so many well known actors it'll make your head spin

No matter how long ago these tales were written, there still sings a ring of truth and necessity to them that is reflected in the countless times these stories have been told over and over again in books, televion, movies and even musicals (Google: Once Upon a Mattress).
These are just a few examples of the timeless classics retold again and again: some in a gruesome twist and others in a family friendly environment that tell the tale as it's never been told before.

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