I’m going to begin by saying that I’m the kind of person that loves to pick apart media, especially when it uses the impressive name of science to back it up. The moment is absolutely delicious when you realize that something like Jurassic Park couldn’t even exist (beyond the fact that we would universally murder the idiot who would re-curse the earth with velociraptors), because recreating the perfect ecosystem for a previous time period would be impossible. For example, in real life, a team of scientists began an experiment called Biosphere II where they attempted to duplicate an ecosystem. They suffered a lot of problems recreating current environments, mostly due to the imbalance of microbes in the soil which produced too much carbon dioxide. So, recreating an unsealed Jurassic ecosystem wouldn’t even get past the gardening stage.
Forms of media that happen to excuse themselves with the claim “but science!” make me shake my head and laugh. But I’m not bragging. I have weaknesses. You see, I’ll laugh at science fiction, but when it comes to fantasy I’m a gullible child. Any obstacle, any issue of explanation, any creature that defies every ounce of logic in my head can be wiped away with the word “MAGIC”. I love magic! It gives us unicorns, dragons, Rupert Grint and one of my favorite things in the world (second to Rupert Grint): fairy tales. Fairy tales are more than stuff for kids. They weren’t always known as Disney movies and they were even more terrifying. This point excludes The Lion King because it is not a fairy tale and there is nothing worse than killing Mufasa. In the past, fairy tales could be messed up. There were ones with incestuous under and overtones (a lot of father-daughter marrying), bestiality and torture. Some were insanely gruesome – this includes an old Italian version of Little Red Riding Hood that I read, which didn’t have a wolf that ate a grandma and spat her out, but had an ogre that made Little Red Riding Hood eat her dead grandmother’s teeth before eating her too. Ah, Italy in the summertime.
That’s what is so great about fairy tales: they can be innocent or traumatizing, cheesy or nauseating. Fairy tales are a creative template that can be twisted in any which way, including for adults. Right now, a good candidate for fairy tales for adults is the show Once Upon A Time. It took a while for me to give this show a chance, because it seemed way too sugary for my taste (I prefer creepier fare). The premise is about a bunch of fairy tale characters that get cursed into a world where there is no magic and they are doomed to never have a ‘happy ever after’. Funnily enough, that depressing world is the real world, so maybe you should prepare yourself with a bottle of wine in case you get too bummed out. I started watching the first season two weeks ago and I got addicted. The show is not entirely good, because sometimes the writing is trite and repetitive. Some parts of the plot seem almost naively wrong. As an early spoiler, the main character Emma finds out Henry is the son she gave up for adoption when she was eighteen. She believes she is his rightful mother because he likes her better, even though it’s a closed adoption and Henry’s under the age of eighteen, so really she could have her pants sued off so fast you’d think she was wearing tear-aways.
Speaking of tear-aways, the most redeeming quality of the show is the actor Robert Carlyle from The Full Monty. Carlyle practically carries the show with his portrayal of Mr. Gold and Rumpelstiltskin. If you aren’t a fairy tale fanatic like me, you should watch it just for him! He may not do a striptease, but he will still keep your eyes glued to the screen. Once Upon A Time is something you can easily get hooked to, because you can recognize characters but they become completely new in this context. The show has a lot of potential, and you can’t help but sit and wonder what story they’re going to flesh out next. For those who need a show that doesn’t take up too much brain-power, but is more creative than The Real Housewives of Who-gives-a-shit? then I would recommend Once Upon A Time.
Also, if you want to check out other fun fairy tale stuff I can recommend a couple more things:
1. The Bloody Chamber – by Angela Carter. An anthology of short stories that are beautifully written and very dark. If you love gothic visuals and impressive vocabulary, you should definitely grab a copy.
2. The Disney Classics. I know this is an obvious choice, but they are classics for a reason.
3. The 10th Kingdom – This is my favourite movie. I have loved it since I was a little kid and I still love it. I probably love this movie more than most human beings. Okay, so first let me explain that this is not an ordinary movie. It was actually a-made-for-T.V series that is packaged as a movie because it runs for six and a half hours. It is an epic tale involving multiple characters ranging from trolls to dwarves to talking dogs. Watch for the lovable Wolf and for the amazing portrayal of the evil Queen. The 10th Kingdom is simultaneously cheesy enough for kids, but hilarious and dark enough for adults. The best part is that you can watch it all for free on Youtube!
If anyone wants me to review or watch other fairy tale movies, shows or books just let me know in the comments and may all your dreams come true.