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Fantasy Movies and Good vs. Evil


Good and evil are subjective. Human-beings are always on their own in deciding what is right from wrong. I have a very adequate understanding of this truth it is just strictly up to us to decide on how we deal with things or people we know are bad. While we also must try our best to discern who and what is right and wrong based on what we've learned and understand, and to at least a degree based on what we feel. In my studying how to be a screenwriter I learned of how what goes on in your own screenplay not only correlates to the genre you are writing in but also to the sort of world of the movie that you are intending for. I read of this in Blake Snyder's third Save the Cat! book in which he described how the villains of these three movies and were dealt with in ways that were appropriate for the types of worlds the movies were set in. In Pretty Woman the bad guy is reprimanded but not as severely as he might have been. In Real Genius the antagonist is rescued instead of just left to die. In The Dark Knight the enemies are shown being killed off by Batman and, as Blake Snyder noted, the word Dark is in the title itself. And while these movies may not be of the geared toward children genres, I have observed how villains of those sort of movies have been dealt with in any of the same three ways in accordance to the sort movie world it was. Such as The Sword in the Stone, The 5 Children and It, Sleeping Beauty. Though these three movies actually were not directly based off of their source material, though were still very excellently constructed movies on their own merits, especially for their type among their genre. Just as these three versions I've seen of Snow White I recall viewing each had the villain of the wicked queen meet a comeuppance toward the end that all resonated well with the atmosphere of each of their film variations. In the Disney classic, just after giving Snow White the poisoned apple, the queen still in the guise of an old crone is chased away by the seven dwarfs during a storm and off a cliff after a bolt of lightning strikes and a boulder falls on her instead of the dwarfs. In the Canon Movie Tales version, the queen finds out from the magic mirror that Snow White is alive and about to be married to a king, then in her rage she breaks the mirror and then as she travels quickly to the King's palace she ages more and more. By the time she arrives she is so completely withered and weakened with old age all she can do is observe Snow White as she stands happily with the king, before turning away and shattering like her mirror also just then. While in the Faerie Tale Theatre episode of the story after Snow White is saved by the prince he reportedly tells his court magician about the evil queen's attempts to harm Snow White and was able to get connected to her magic mirror with his own. Thus when the Queen next speaks to her magic mirror after he informs her Snow White lives on as the fairest of them all he proclaims to her the curse she has been under as her fitting comeuppance, which is she will never see her own beautiful face again and all her mirrors turn to black as she looks into them. All of these fit well with the style in which the same story was told while remaining true to the actual tale.

This also reminds me of a statement made by the narrator of an animated version of Snow White in the Funky Fables series after Snow White has fallen victim to the poisoned apple. "Not to worry, folks. She's not dead, she's just in a trance. After all, this is a fairy tale and not a horror show." Which is a good way for distinguishing these two types of fantasy. However, there are many old age fairy tales that were much more darker and more grim in their original versions than many would be led to believe these days. Such as in the original Cinderella tale the stepsisters cut off their heel and toes to try to make the glass slipper fit their feet, then after they failed at this their eyes were pecked out by birds. In Rumpelstitskin's tale, after the Queen says what his name is and keeps her child he is so enraged at losing he stamped his foot through the floor and in trying to pull it out he splits himself in half. Also in the Little Red Riding Hood tale, the big bad wolf eats the grandmother and later the huntsman cuts the wolf's stomach open and lets her out and then fills his insides with rocks as his punishment. Anyone would agree that these days such old fairy tales are told better. Just as some of them nowadays are told better by just changing the ending to a happy one instead of the one the original tale gave us. I would gladly take the Disney ending of The Little Mermaid over the one from Hans Christian Anderson's original tale, in which the mermaid fails to have the prince fall in love with her and as a result from the deal with the sea witch disintegrates into sea foam. I also prefer the princess kissing the frog to turn him back into a prince instead of throwing him hard against her bedroom wall, just as I dare say so do all others who are fond of this story. There are also incidents where Disney and other movies based off of old-age fairy tales have not just tailored the story material to be more appropriate for general audiences of today, but have also characterized the hero of them to be of a much more lovable nature. This includes Aladdin from the original Arabian tale in which he is a stereotypical street thief and not likable, in contrast to how Disney portrayed him as kindhearted and sympathetic towards others around him just enough for the audiences to connect well with him. The same is even more true for the original version of Pinocchio in contrast to how Disney did the character. In Carlo Colloddi's original story the wooden puppet brought to life at first ran away from Geppeto who was then falsely accused of child molestation and arrested. Then while Geppeto was absent from the house, Pinocchio met with the wise cricket living there who began lecturing him on how he needed to be more considerate, and then his response to this was to throw a hammer at the cricket and hit it hard against the wall. Now could anyone ever imagine Disney's Pinocchio doing this sort of thing to Jiminy Cricket? No way! Never! This is exactly the point especially because R.L. Stine, the successful author of the Goosebumps books reported he had the original Pinocchio story read to him as a child and it inspired one of his books, Night of the Living Dummy, which is a modern-day horror story version of the Pinocchio tale. Whereas the Pinocchio of the Disney classic was not at all bratty like Collodi's was at least at the beginning of the tale. He was totally gentle and good hearted, just naive and inquisitive about everything around him and got into trouble without meaning to at all. Of course all was redeemed better than ever in the end thanks to the guidance of the cricket and the intervention of the blue fairy. This was actually the same sort of ending theme of Collodi's story, but it just led up to it from different events because of what I'd just explained. Another more "up-to-date" live-action movie version from 1996 told the story in magical realism sense and still kept true to the book's original themes. Pinocchio started out as a live wooden boy puppet who was voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas (it was reportedly so lifelike the filmmakers talked to it off set) and he was brought to life because he was carved from a tree that had a heart carved into it from a love that never got to be fulfilled and Geppetto made Pinocchio in the image of the son he never had but would have loved to have. Pinocchio when brought to life was actually neither bad nor good but was just "woodenheaded" in that he was clueless about what was right or wrong. Of course through the movie's events he grew to be more consciously aware of everything and everyone around him he just naturally came to want to learn right from wrong to become a real boy and develop the ability to love as such. So that by the end when he could shed tears from his ability to feel love he became a real boy and his voice actor officially took over for the wooden animatronic in flesh and bone.

In essence, the degree of good over evil is as subjective to the genre just as much as the theme and format of the movie is, and this includes adapted material equally as much. So this accounts for these vastly different ways in which the Jabberwocky creature was depicted in these various adaptions of the Alice in Wonderland tale. From being just a vision accompanying Humpty Dumpty's narration in a 1982 TV stage play in which Alice watches as a young man slays the monster with his sword and brings the head back to his elderly father. To a nightmarish illusion of a seven-year-old Alice in a 1985 miniseries, after she reads the poem aloud in her living room and by the end must face this fear she created as just the illusion it really is. Then in Tim Burton's 2010 feature film in which Alice as a young adult returns to Wonderland and must fulfill the prophecy of her destiny to slay the Jabborwocky and thus end the reign of the savage Red Queen. And there has also been a version called The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland in which a modern American girl is mistaken by the Care Bears for the missing princess of Wonderland. Then later they discover the real princess is being held prisoner by an evil wizard within the lair of the Jabborwocky, who turns out to not be any sort of monster at all but just a very miserable creature who had a thorn stuck inside his foot and just needed to have the Care Bears pull it out so that he would become their alley. This delightful movie I remember had very little to do with the original source material by Lewis Carroll, but that was actually the whole point of why it was in the franchise of the Care Bears.


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