While waiting for next week’s Tangled, Disney’s take on Rapunzel, I’ve been mulling over what makes a successful fairy tale movie for kids. There are a lot of ephemeral ones out there, more out all the time it seems. The ones that work for me are those with a bit more heft — some are updated, some are not, but all have wit, charm, and depth. Here are four of those, one of which will be very familiar and three others that may be less so. Do add your own suggestions in the comments.
Ashpet. This is a delightful independent, small-budget, film, a Cinderella set in the rural South. It is one of Tom Davenport’s From the Brothers Grimm series; the others are excellent too.
Enchanted. Okay, this is the familiar one, but it is really clever and charming and holds up on multiple viewings. The gentle digs at all sorts of classical Disney films are extremely funny if you know the originals and still extremely funny if you don’t.
Unfortunately I can’t find a trailer for the very sweet and under-the-radar I Was a Rat! (although I did notice the whole thing is up in parts on youtube — probably illegally so I’m not linking to it). I regularly read aloud Philip Pullman’s book, a witty and elegant fiddling about with Cinderella, and find this movie to be a very faithful rendering of it.
Penelope. This is a very interesting contemporary take on Beauty and the Beast, fun, different, and a tad surprising.