I'm a sucker for fairy tales. Even after reading and loving Madonna Kolbenschiag's feminist book, "Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye", I'm still very much in to the fantasy and romance of happily ever afters.
I enjoy many different fairy tales and folk tales. And, Cinderella is one that makes it to the top of the list of my favourite fairy tales.
I love the many versions of Cinderella - from the original tale to the various retellings.
But yes, I became so excited to see how the same story, the same characters... can be told in many different ways. I enjoyed reading about (and watching) female characters in fairy tales depicted as stronger, more assertive... able to take care of themselves, even though their quest still involves finding their One True Love.
Ever since reading Ella Enchanted, approximately 10 years ago, I developed a good collection of retold/remixed fairy tales by Ms Levine, as well as authors like Donna Jo Napoli and Shannon Hale. And, my library continues to grow with such books.
In fact, I must confess that when I attended a children's writing workshop over a year ago in my local library, I was so thrilled when the instructor asked us to begin writing our own version of a well-known fairy tale. I finally found the perfect excuse to start my very own fairy tale retelling!
The strange thing is that even though I love Cinderella, I ended up writing the beginnings of Princess and the Pea. My instructor and fellow writing students were actually very encouraging when I read my work out loud, so I was pleased. But, I haven't had the opportunity to work on the story again.
In any case, I think I'm beginning to stray... So, where was I?
Ah, yes... Ella... and fairy tales.
Anyway... today, I intended to buy my li'l girl a Disney Princess video as she started to ask about watching movies and professing a lot of love for princessy things. Since my current animated movie collection is limited to things like Finding Nemo, Shark Tale, and The Incredibles, I thought getting her the classic Cinderella video might be good. Perhaps, even Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Snow White. Unfortunately, none of these classic movies were available in the shops that I checked today. So, I just ended up buying Disney's Princess Stories Vol. 1: A Gift from the Heart, which I must say isn't really all the great. But, at least the girl still loved it. I'm still hoping that I can get her the proper princess movies though.
Well, during the hunt for fairy tale movies, I found Ella Enchanted (the movie) starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. The fact that it was: a version of one of my favourite books + a fairy tale retelling + great cast + musical AND it was on sale for AU$12.87 at Big W - Well, it seemed only right that it finally joins my movie collection.
Yes, the movie's not quite like the book. Yes, it's not as good as the book. Yes, the movie's a bit iffy in places. But, did I enjoy watching it? Oh, absolutely YES.
Loved Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy in this film. So amazing to see that Anne can really sing and do a good version of Ella of Frell. And, Hugh... Well, definitely not a bad Prince Char. In fact, I became convinced that he is now "List" material, so he ended up bumping off another celeb on "my list" (to blog about another time). Oh, and I also enjoyed seeing The Princess Bride's (another fave movie!) Cary Elwes, even though he's the baddie in this one.
So yeah... I remember that I really enjoyed watching Ella Enchanted on DVD a couple of years back. And now, I'm glad that I have the DVD so I can watch it any time my heart desires some feel-good moments. In fact, I think my second viewing of this film has made me like it more than I did the first time for some reason (even considering purchasing the soundtrack album).
Thanks to my intensified love for films lately, I'm even loving the fact that the DVD has some bonus features like extended scenes and behind-the-scenes footage. Lately, one of my pre-requisites for a good DVD buy is finding such footage - how the movie was made, commentaries from directors/screenwriters/actors, alternate versions of certain scenes, etc.
After watching the film, I found out that the author of Ella Enchanted has actually recently started a blog of her own. So happy to find out about this because not only is Ms Levine writing about her books - she's even sharing some insights and ideas about creative writing in general. Coincidentally, her most recent blog entry (written yesterday!) is about her thoughts/feelings about Ella Enchanted the movie. Really interesting to read such a post about how some authors get involved in the process of getting their work transformed in to a movie.
Now, I'm hoping to re-read Ella Enchanted the novel... and perhaps, watch some bits and pieces of the movie again when the mood strikes.
Let me just leave you now with one of my favourite parts from the film - Anne Hathaway's rendition of Somebody to Love by Queen -