Beastly, Red Riding Hood and five other horrible fairy tale adaptations
The releases of Beastly and Red Riding Hood mark just two more additions to a time-honored film tradition: hackneyed, shitty movies based on fairy tales. Inspired by these cloying new releases, we decided to take a look back at five more insipid films that were vaguely based on magical children's stories -- to terrible effect.
A Cinderella Story
This take on the little cinder-girl story stars preening early-2000s Disney queen Hilary Duff in modern high school as she tries to woo the football player awkwardly played by the now equally passé Chad Michael Murray. Not only is this movie nauseatingly vapid, but it also gives teens unrealistic expectations about online relationships -- a major plotline involves Duff confiding in her mysterious internet pal about the bummers of her life, only to find out later that the online mystery man was the hunky hunky quarterback all along. (It was not, as we would expect, some creepy old dude in a basement.) The film throws in the all Cinderella staples -- evil stepsisters, fairy godmother, and a school dance in place of a ball -- but really the fairy tale stuff is just fluff added to another empty teen romance.
Low point: Murray running off the football field to make out with Duff while Jimmy Eat World's "Hear You Me" plays in the background. And then it starts raining.
Has Amanda Bynes ever been in anything good? This film sure doesn't help her cause by transporting the story of Snow White to the Greek system. The evil witch is a catty sorority president, the seven dwarves are dorky dudes who take in Syndey after she's kicked out of the sorority house, and the magic mirror is some sort of Hot or Not internet ranking site. Any stupid pun that vaguely relates to Snow White is probably in this dud.
Low point: The sorority president gets a hacker to bug Sydney's computer. It's a poisoned Apple. Get it?
While this Cinderella spin-off was based on an intelligent children's book, the movie version lost most of its charm and depth somewhere on the way to the silver screen. While Anne Hathaway endearingly plays the Cinderella character, the film is ruined by embarrassing musical numbers and bad physical comedy.
Low point: A whole cast rendition of Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" at the end of the film.
It seems strange that a film made by Terry Gilliam, starring Heath Ledger and featuring a myriad of werewolves and witches and blood-drinking queens could be so, well, boring. But it is. This special effects-drenched film throws too many fairy tales together into a confusing, supernatural mess.
Low point: Matt Damon kissing a toad.
Hansel & Gretel
With flimsy sets and blatant overacting by Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, this 2002 version of the creepy German story could be just another bad fairy tale film. But what really pushes it over the edge into the terrible category are the incessant pop culture references. The writers were likely trying to make it appeal to adults by throwing in modern lingo, but it ends up appealing to nobody.
Low point: Dakota Fanning doing her best Haley-Joel-Osment-in-The Sixth Sense impression to whisper "I see fairy tale people."
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