The recent release of The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm has garnered much attention for Jack Zipes, who is the first to translate all of the brother's original stories into English.
Those who only know the Disney interpretations, brace yourselves. The first version of their tales are shocking in comparison. No adorable animated animal sidekicks are in sight. Instead, all of the Grimm's stories are quite gruesome.
In the original version of Cinderella, birds peck out the eyes of her stepsisters. Worst of all - her dad isn't even dead, he just LETS all that bad stuff happen to his daughter. How rude!
The entire world might not be ready for the real stories, but it seems essential to know the truth behind an author's original intent. Watered down plot might make things kid appropriate and more pleasant, yet it is doubtful that it improves the quality of a story.
Sir Kenneth Branagh (yeah, he's been knighted) should have included some of these more edgy elements into his upcoming directorial project - the latest movie version of Cinderella.
Oh, this is a Disney production? Never mind, that would make it too scary.
But can they get Cate Blanchett to play the evil stepmother? They did! Glorious. Now that just made this a whole lot more interesting.
When the trailer for this movie was released today, anyone who said that their first thought wasn't, "Aw, nuts! Do we need another version of Cinderella?", is lying. Especially, if nothing different has been done. Taken straight from the Disney canon, it's a very simple story that we all know and love.
There have been cartoon movies, stage productions, endless movie versions of the stage productions, plus the memorable interpretation from Faerie Tale Theatre. It can be said that it has all been done before.
That cynicism completely disappears the longer the trailer plays. Modern filming technology has reached a point where a fairy tale land looks magical and very real. The effects aren't overdone, like another recent adaptation - Alice In Wonderland. Both the computer animated parts blend perfectly with the actors and the actual world around them. Cinderella's classic robins egg colored dress also looks dazzling and has that showstopper effect more than ever before.
Fans of Downton Abbey will recognize the girl in that beautiful dress as saucy cousin Rose (not to be confused with cousin Amy) from the hit PBS show. Here, she is not just a side role, but leading the entire cast. Although, Cinderella is bound to be shown up. It's just unfair casting both Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter, who play the evil stepmother and the fairy godmother - no one, no matter how hard they try, will be able to top their presence on screen. Who really cares, those two classy broads make this one a must see.
The gruesome elements from the Grimm's original stories might eventually jazz up movie versions of Cinderella, but right now, it actually isn't necessary. Casting talented people and hiring directors with creative visions (Branagh has done it all) can still transform any old story into something new again.
Until next time.