WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

%name WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

Arguments – they’re part of life. We’re all competitive beasts, never wanting to admit fault or defeat, and will go to great lengths when defending our honor when challenged or threatened. Arguments have started wars, shattered relationships, broken families, declared victors, but have also awarded respect. A win will always be a win, but longstanding respect and admitted defeat are far greater trophies than another tally mark on a record sheet somewhere. That’s where our story begins for this group of alcohol swigging, loud mouthed master-debaters (had to make that joke once, c’mon!), connected by our love of whiskey, which is only overpowered by our love for all things pop culture – cinema, music, television, gaming, you name it. Inebriation and verbal assaulting, how could this go wrong?!

Needless to say, all we do now is argue about pop culture and hot topics of the day. Despite sounding like the grunts and groans of a pack of psychopaths, we decided to translate our debates into a readable affair. This means that every few weeks or so, we will be posting our thoughts on upcoming releases and pop culture in general. Since agreeing is for peace-loving hippies, our arguments will be broken up into two sides, and the winner is decided by the readers. Yes, our fates are in your hands!

Before we begin though, allow us to introduce ourselves.

Christian: A nearly retired cop with nothing left to lose, Christian turned to bath salts and cat urine to deal with losing three wives and up to seven stepchildren (they were gingers though, does that even count?). Although it is true that he is extremely opinionated, Christian only pushes his opinions on those he loves most (especially you, dear reader). Famous for his last stand at the Alamo and ability to produce children with a single look, this is a man who should by no means be considered harmless. Aside from devilish good looks and cologne that doesn’t come in an aluminum can, his knowledge of everything pop-culture will leave wives crying for divorce and daughters breaking the locks their fathers rightfully installed on their chastity belts. Debating isn’t exactly his strong suit, but he did once defeat a whole debate team using only the power of a flamethrower, so maybe that counts.

Gem:  Gem has lived the secluded life of an academic, dedicated to a better understanding of critical analysis. Emerging from five years struggling to insert page numbers into Word, Gem indulged in the world of film to satiate her creative side – from which burst the need to obliterate those who do not agree with her inane, profane ranting. Her most critically acclaimed debate was executed at this year’s Comic Con when she swayed a crowd of riotous nerds into agreeing that yes, a coat rack could defeat Wolverine. The opposition doesn’t stand a chance.

Nato: Traveling back in time from a dystopian universe where pop culture debates are a game of life and death, Nato (formerly Natobombious Kick-Assious) continues to extend his unbeaten streak against the competition he now sees in three (barely) functioning alcoholics who devour useless entertainment factoids like the bottles of Jack taped to their hands. Nato can make a case for anything, but enjoys the new challenge of debate through writing, disabling his hypnotically enchanting “hair-flip” closing visual, typically bringing competition to their knees with one swiftly punctuated “swoosh.” Who needs a closing argument when you have great hair? You’re about to witness the great lengths he’s willing to go and mighty stretches he’s willing to make, abandoning all notions of self-respect just to deliver the most convincing arguments conceivable. A pop-culture chameleon, Nato can do it all. We promise we’ll do our best to contain him, but it might be too late already…

Alex: Formed from the recovered DNA of Stephen A. Douglas, Ben Franklin, and Socrates, Alex is an unstoppable force in an argument. Basically every epic speech in every courtroom movie/TV show ever was copied verbatim from arguments Alex has made. If the world listened to his points on abortion, gay marriage, or America’s healthcare system, all people would finally be in agreement. But why waste his talents on such minutia? It’s the world of the media that sparks the fiercest debates, and thus his fiercest opinions. But just because he’s such an eloquent debater in person doesn’t mean that doesn’t translate into his writing. Some argue the pen is mightier than the sword. Well Alex doesn’t write with a pen, he uses a sword to slice paper into the words that crush those who disagree. Whoever opposes him ought to fear for not only their dignity, but their safety as well.

Today’s Argument: The Worst Cinematic Fairy Tale Adaptation 

With the recent release of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters being an enjoyable surprise (to Nato at least, which you can read in his review), the crew here started talking about our favorite cinematic fairy tale adaptations. Coming up with movies like The Princess Bride, the conversation was very civil and positive – but what the hell is the fun in that? Ditching our favorites and digging into our least favorite films, that’s when we really started to cement this week’s Throwdown. So, for you enjoyment, read on to join in our ongoing battle for worst of the worst honors!

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Nato – Red Riding Hood

%name WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

How do you properly destroy a Hollywood fairy tale movie? I don’t know, but why don’t you just ask the mightiest vampire slayer in all the land – Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).

Yes, director Catherine Hardwicke and writer David Johnson effectively created the Twilight equivalent to a fairy tale by doing everything wrong. What could have been a Gothic treat was derailed by numerous choices which originally turned serious cinema fans off to Stephenie Meyers’ vampire love story franchise, wasting potential and every audience member’s time simultaneously.

I mean, where do I start? The original story is about a girl named Little Red Riding Hood who is tricked and eaten by a wolf disguised as her grandmother – some variations having a lumberjack cut them out of the wolf’s stomach while others have the lumberjack saving them right as the wolf advances on the youngster.  When thought about as a mature R rated re-telling, how awesome would it be to see the fabled tale culminate in a visually epic ending of gore-tastic possibilities showing some burly lumberjack type setting Red Riding Hood and her grandmother free by slicing open the wolf’s stomach?! F%ck you childhood!

Instead we get another pouty young actress playing the lead role (Amanda Seyfried), an unnecessary love triangle that made Seyfried’s character extremely unlikable, a confusingly misplaced Gary Oldman, a story about pre-teen angst that was much more annoying than predicted, and the pussiest Big Bad Wolf I could have ever expected.

Apparently, to be a character in any one of Hardwicke’s films, there has to be something depressing about you love life. Be it losing a lover, being forced into a loveless relationship, or having to choose between lovers: Hardwicke is all about dramatic relationships. Too bad she has no idea how to successfully implement said drama without coming off tacky and laughable. I’m really surprised somebody didn’t just start sparkling for the hell of it, I mean there was a werewolf again, why not?

Good lord, if I ever have to watch Catherine Hardwicke butcher teenage love again, I think I might give up on movies. I hoped it wasn’t possible, but she was able to translate everything that was shit from Twilight into a different era in time. There’s a ferocious wolf on the loose, and Valerie is too busy crying because two guys are in love with her? Hmm…who do I pick. The dreamy commoner? The dapper rich boy? WHY IS LIFE SO DIFFICULT – which was the whole freakin’ movie by the way.

And the wolf!? Please. Again, every trailer was hiding the wolf like it was some hideous monster and not seeing it in the trailer would be some kind of payoff. Well, it was exactly what you’d expect. A wolf. Just a big wolf. That was strong. And ran really fast. Nothing special. Nothing eccentric. Not that it was a bad thing, but don’t try to convince us there’s something special about your villain.

Love in the time of fairy tales – only horribly executed. Sorry Catherine Hardwicke, but I just hope your next project Plush doesn’t make the same mistakes, but we all know it will.

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Alex – The Brothers Grimm

%name WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

It pains me in so many ways to write about how horrible The Brothers Grimm is, but no matter how much I wanted to like this movie, I just couldn’t.

I mean, come on, Heath Ledger and Matt Damon starring as brothers in a movie by Terry Gilliam. How could that not rock? Well, to put it simply, it could not rock by turning two German scholars into witch fighting con-men.

The movie is predictable from start to finish, and not just because we already know all the fairy tales that are meshed together. Why meander for half the film around the fact that they’re going to run into some real enchanted crap? Why not just put it out there and have the whole film be about that? Now that would have been something interesting.

Probably the worst part of the whole film is Ledger’s character. A boy so dim-witted that he actually thought magic beans would be better than medicine for his brother, and a man who is still grieving and letting his entire life be run by one decision from his youth is an absolutely horrible character. He’s a mere shell of the kind of character that would actually lend something valuable to the plot, but falls as far short as Rapunzel’s hair after a Natalie Portman cut.

Peter Stormare is a very good actor, but he was very, very bad in this film. It was like he was trying to imitate the silliness of a Johnny Depp character with some funky over-exaggerated accent that was painful to listen to every single minute of the film. I even considered turning the subtitles on and the sound off for his scenes.

The cameos of the characters from the beloved fairy tales are merely that, brief cameos that hardly lend anything to the film. I haven’t the foggiest idea why they didn’t come up with some intricate story weaving together all of Grimm’s tales. Now that would have been a film worth watching. As is, The Brothers Grimm is the most disappointing fairy tale film I’ve ever seen.

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Christian – Alice In Wonderland

%name WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

How do I know that Alice In Wonderland is one of the worst live-action adaptations of a fairy tale? Easy: because I’ve watched it. I don’t know anyone who has seen the movie and would defend it for anything other than money or a crippling need to fulfill their crack addictions. Everything about this movie is just unnecessary considering the volumes of adaptations of the source material that have been done to death.

So let’s go back to 2010. I was a fresh faced high school graduate, and Tim Burton had just released a new movie for Disney. One of my favorite cartoons was now getting a Burton treatment. Huzzah! Excelsior! Let’s go see this bad boy!

The first thing I noticed that was slightly off-putting was the amount of attention spent on Johnny Depp in everything involving the film. The posters, advertisements, toys and everything else surrounding the film were all centralized on Depp’s Mad Hatter. But hey, the guy’s a great actor, so let’s give this a shot, eh?

Nope, never should have done it. Alice takes a backseat faster than you can say, “This sucks, and I would very much like my money reimbursed, my wasted time given back, and a date with your daughter and/or wife set up to appease my troubled libido.” This wasn’t Alice In Wonderland. This was a bad acid trip centered around Johnny Depp and Burton’s wife doing whatever they’ve been doing for the past ten years together.

Using an established classic as a vehicle for stars that don’t even need a vehicle is detestable. But that’s not the whole reason this movie was terrible. Oh no, trust me, there were plenty of reasons. Everything was completely computer generated, and even if some of it looked beautiful, a majority of it was too obvious not to see past.

Look at the greatest fairy tale of our time: The Princess Bride. That movie is fantastic because it focuses on a story that is just brilliant and doesn’t waste it’s time on “impressive” visuals or an actor playing yet another kooky character. Why can’t every live action fairy tale just be The Princess Bride? Name it what you want, but just give us that again. It wins, forever.

But back to Burton’s shame. Despite his handful of genuinely good films, Alice In Wonderland is definitely not one of them. Go to Wikipedia and look up how many adaptations have been done of this story. Hell, there was a porn version released in the 70s. Chances are it was much better than this one, since it was the people on screen getting screwed and not the fans.

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Gem – Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman B 600x360 WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Not So Classic Fairy Tale Adaptations

The film’s obvious, and most well-criticised flaw is one upon which most agree: Kristen Stewart has all the charisma, acting prowess and seductive skill of a paper bag. As Charlize Theron’s Evil Witch stands proudly before the mirror to ask “who is the fairest of them all?” the first major error in the film’s fairy tale judgement arises, or possibly the mirror needs to get down to Specsavers, as it says more than once that K-Stew is more dollsome than the delectable Miss Theron. WHAT!?

And this impossible notion extends far beyond a questionable mirror, to two actual humans. One of those being Chris Hemsworth, aka, Thor, the studliest bastard this side of Channing Tatum, and the other a jack the lad British chap who happens to be a sodding Prince! It beggars belief that not one but two men, and not one but TWO franchises could cast a woman with the sexual dynamism of a menstruating warthog as a woman whose honour is worth defending and whose beauty is worth dying for.  Rubbish.  As soon as she appears onscreen, Bella, sorry, Snow White depends on every trope she bled dry for her role in Twilight. Long glances, sullen stares, lip biting, and a tendency to make the handling of simple props look like an attempt to build a suspension bridge out of tripe.

The only way K-Stew manages to amp up action into the role is when the writers liberally sprinkle deus-ex-machina-esque plot devices throughout her first twenty minutes.  So she’s been locked in prison for years and coincidentally on the day some old git wants to cop a feel, she manages to a) notice a huge nail protruding from her window sill which has been there THE WHOLE TIME SHE WAS IN PRISON and b) work up sufficient strength to not only dislodge the nail but then wield it as a weapon and break her way out of the tower.  Of course, because she’s got tons of strength after eating her own hair for 15 years. Then, after noticing a sewer grate (which has been left open, conveniently) she goes all Andy Dufresne and crawls through shit, piss, and the Queen’s monthly blood rats, emerging at the other end  to find a white horse awaiting her. Sod. Off.

This sort of poor plotting only fuels the indignation felt by audiences worldwide towards Stewart – who makes no moves at all to appear as though she is at any point deserving of such good fortune. No. In fact, she does the exact opposite by repaying all of those who stood by her, all of those who sacrificed their lives by giving a motivational speech which roused a dying need in this writer to do ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD except join Snow White’s army.

The film’s minor saving grace is Theron, who, in her hammiest and most over-the-top role plays the Queen like a Lynchian miscreant. However, the only problem with allowing Theron full reign (don’t pardon the pun – it’s crap and it’s staying) is her accent. It wavers between hoity-toity English that no-one ever speaks and completely incomprehensible. As she briefs Hemsworth on his task to retrieve Snow White, she also asks him to “hunt hard on.”  For PG-13, this writer thought such an open attitude to bisexuality in fairy tales was worth commending and the only part of the film which was unpredictable.

So you’ve heard it all, but which is actually the worst of the worst? Take to the comments and be sure to let us know!

If you’ve enjoyed this reading, feel free to check out any of our past entries:

Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Mark Wahlberg

Mightiest Movie Santas

Twilight Battle! Team Edward Vs Team Jacob

Battle Brad Pitt! Aniston Vs Jolie

Battle Batman! Bane’s Plan Vs The Joker’s Plan

Lord Of The Rings Battle! Who Is The Fiercest Fighter In All Of Middle Earth?

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