Saturday, August 13, 2011

Are Fairy Tales the "New Vampires"?

So I'm taking a little detour on my personal project to talk a little bit about what's going on in pop culture.  Now I'm not conceded enough to think that any of this was my idea first, or that I have more claim to this whole Grimm Fairy Tale thing than anyone else, but I do find this recent turn in programming to reinvent fairy tales a little interesting.  For example; this year alone there are two different versions of Snow White coming to the big screen,  (again not to toot my own horn, but I did my spread over a year ago... )  ABC and NBC are also competing with two versions of grizzly bedtime story programming.

NBC's  Grimm:

The Wikipedia page gives this description:
Set in present-day Portland, Oregon, the series puts a new twist on the stories of the Brothers Grimm in which a homicide detective learns that he is a descendent of a group of hunters known as "Grimms", who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. Upon learning of his destiny and that he is the last of his kind, he has to protect every living soul from the sinister storybook characters that have infiltrated the real world

And ABC's Once Upon a Time

Wiki def:
The series is loosely inspired by the classic fairy tale stories except set in the present day, hence the series name. The stories hold a key to the mystery that will draw a bail bonds collector and the son that she gave up for adoption 10 years earlier to a New England town called Storybrooke, Maine. This town is actually a parallel world in which fairy tale characters look like normal people and don't remember their true identities or anything about their true lives.
When I saw all of the marketing campaigns coming up I was equally excited, and a little agitated to watch all of these projects coming out that I had no way to be any part of.  Also I was a little floored at how similar both projects seem to be, at least in definition.  I'm sure the shows themselves will find their own rhythm overtime if they last past the first season, but at the moment I think the networks should be a little worried due to the obvious comparisons that will arise.

Anyway, I started thinking that all of this was coming up just as all the major networks and studios have exhausted their vampire resources.

True Blood is well into 4th season, The Vampire Diaries... okay well I don't know anything about that show, it never interested me, but it seems to be on it's merry way.  And the Twilight Saga whether you like it or hate it is coming to a close.  It feels like with the studios on the brink of loosing their pale anemic multibillion dollar cash cow has been scrambling to find it's new outlet.  And that outlet has been to return to the terrifying, undisneyfied versions of classic tales.

The trend really started I would say about a year ago with the release of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

This movie was huge in case you missed it, but if you are reading my blog I'm betting you didn't.  The problem was, the movie didn't even follow the premise of Alice in Wonderland.  This charming children's story about a girl who wants nothing more than to be a grown up was twisted and turned into a story about a young woman who wants nothing more than to stay childlike.  And more over, with the addition of things like the fudderwacken ( in my opinion the Jar Jar Binks of this film) and Alice's slaying of the Jabberwock I have to say over all, while the movie was visually stunning and had good points I was not a fan.

Then there was the critically and publicly panned Red Riding Hood.

This was followed by another flop in the form of the film Beastly.

All in all I guess I've noticed the main trend with updating fairy tales is that the movie ends up being striking to look at, but in terms of the story it's either boring, not entertaining, or just plain bad.  So Have the studios got this whole trend wrong? Should they have just stuck with beating the already long dead vampire bat? If all anyone seems to be doing is creating a pretty picture that moves across the screen, devoid of a story that people like is my project even worth continuing if other people can produce just as pretty a picture for a thousand times the budget?


  1. I think fairy tales are becoming big in films and television right now because that's what's popular in fiction writing, especially YAs. (Just like vampires and other supernatural creatures were/are.) "Beastly" is actually an adaption of a recent novel.

  2. Beastly is an adaptation of a current novel, but the novel is a very close adaption of Charles Perrault's Beauty and the Beast. I've also heard that the book is much better than the film. Anyone read the book?

  3. The book is pretty good. After I read it, I was hoping I'd like the movie even better, which is didn't. But the book is a fun ride and much more serious the sloppy, short film.