Thursday Movie Picks #35: Live Action Fairy Tale Adaptations

ThursdayMoviePicksHappy Thursday everyone! This is another entry to the weekly Thursday Movie Picks that’s spearheaded by Wandering Through the Shelves Blog.

The rules are simple simple:
Each week there is a topic for you to create a list of three movies. Your picks can either be favourites/best, worst, hidden gems, or if you’re up to it one of each. Today the theme is… 

Live-Action Fairy Tale Adaptations

Well, I’ve been sick the past few days and I’ve actually written a much longer post for this but for some reason WordPress did NOT save my draft so I lost it all 😦

Ever After (1998)


A reimagining of the classic Cinderella story – with Leonardo da Vinci as the fairy god-father

What if Cinderella were real? That’s the main premise here, showing the Brothers Grimm talking to a Grand Dame telling them the story of Danielle de Barbarac and showing them her glass slippers. I’ve always had a fondness for this movie despite Drew Barrymore‘s laughable *British* accent. But hey, she more than makes up for it w/ her charm. She has a lovely chemistry w/ Dougray Scott as the dashing Prince Henry. I like that Danielle is no Damsel in Distress, but when she absolutely needed help, there’s Leonardo da Vinci to the rescue! Anjelica Huston is fun to watch as the wicked stepmother, and

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)


In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

As I mentioned above, I’ve already written a much longer stuff here but lost it in the WP snafu. This is definitely NOT a feel-good fairy tale, as it’s mesmerizing as it is terrifying. Part terror, part wonder, Guillermo Del Toro has crafted a spellbinding fable with amazing set pieces and special effects. But the story is as rich and intriguing as the visuals. As the young protagonist, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) has that wide-eyed innocence that serves as a stark contrast to the brutal world she’s trying to escape from. There’s something so wonderfully organic and mystical about this film, though the unflinching brutality warrants its R rating. There are plenty of weird and downright freaky creatures, the faun and pale man (played by Doug Jones) are key characters here, but the scariest character is no doubt Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Perhaps one of the messages is that the real *monster* of real life actually look like you and I.

Cinderella (2015)


When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger in the woods.

Yes, another Cinderella story, but as far as live-action adaptation is concerned, this could be a new favorite. I’m borrowing from Rotten Tomatoes‘ critics consensus here: “Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella proves Disney hasn’t lost any of its old-fashioned magic.” Precisely. I think Disney made the right call in NOT making this another reimagining of a classic story, thought there are some subtle *twists* about the main characters that still fit nicely into the story. It’s a gorgeous and lush production, on that front alone makes this a wonderful movie to see on the big screen. Lily James and Richard Madden fit their roles as Cinderella & Prince Charming as perfectly as those Swarovski glass slippers fit our heroine’s nimble feet. But the inspired casting is Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, scene stealing all the way through with her elegant icy-ness.

What do you think of my picks? Have you seen any of these films?

39 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks #35: Live Action Fairy Tale Adaptations

    1. Hi Jay! So you’ve seen Cinderella already too? Glad you enjoyed that too. If you haven’t seen PL or EA, you should definitely see those soon 🙂

  1. Pan’s Labyrinth is clearly a very popular choice, I also picked it and seen it mentioned two other times. I have to agree that Captain Vidal is the scariest monster in the story, based on the dictator Franco.

    1. Seeing Pan’s Labyrinth mentioned, I kinda wish I picked it too because I love it so. However, I wasn’t really thinking out of the box and went with ones that were adaptations of classic fairytales.
      The scariest thing about Captain Vidal is that he’s human. And isn’t it interesting how Ofelia escapes one brutal world into another place that is just as terrifying filled with its own monsters.

      1. Hi Wandering! Hey we can’t pick ’em all, I think you had great choices too. It’s so true what you said about Vidal, he’s worse than even an animal. It’s true that real life have our shares of monsters, just as the fantasy world do!

    2. Hi Myerla, glad you picked Pan’s also. It’s really not something I could see again but I’m glad I saw it. It’s even scarier that Vidal was based on a real person!

  2. Nice picks Ruth. Sorry to hear your draft got screwed up, how annoying! I’m not sure how I feel about this Cinderella remake yet – I like the casting of Blanchett but it also looks like a bit of a Downton reunion. I’ve still got to wait a couple of weeks for its release here to find out. Pans Labyrinth is still on my watch list too!

    1. Hi Natalie! Yeah it’s such a pain to lose what you’ve written the last 2 hrs, esp when you’re sick. Ah well, glad I was still able to participate. If you’re on the fence, you should give Cinderella a shot. Blanchett would not disappoint but there are plenty to love as well. I don’t think the Downton aspect would really come up, at least it didn’t to me but maybe as I’ve only seen the first two seasons.

  3. Ever After is surprisingly good. Drew Barrymore did have a really awkward British accent but the chemistry and charm of it all made it unnoticeable 🙂 Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my faves as well. That atmosphere and those creatures, real or not was just wow.
    I’m going to see Cinderella soon. Its not released till tomorrow but I’m supposed to go see it next week. I’m pretty excited about it 🙂

    1. Hi Kim! Yeah Drew has charm in spade and Dougray was so darn handsome the accent didn’t bother me, ahah. Hope you enjoy Cinderella as much as I did!

    1. Hi Ted, Pan’s appeal to horror fans as well I think given how terrifying it was. Yeah there were a bunch of excited kids at the screening, but I think adults would enjoy Cinderella, too 🙂

  4. Irene McKenna

    I love Pan’s Labyrinth! That version of Cinderella looks quite good. It might be worth seeing in the theater.

    1. I was surprised to see the good reviews until I saw it. It’s perfectly enjoyable, somehow Branagh infused new life into the classic story.

    1. Hi Fernando! Yeah, I think that’s a darn near masterpiece by Del Toro, visually it’s so striking. If it weren’t so violent I might see it again.

  5. I’m so happy that the new Cinderella is getting such raves and that you loved it!!! My girls are headed to the theater with their grandmother now to see it…but they’ll be seeing it again, because I actually really want to see this one…so maybe tomorrow!

    LOVE Ever After and Pan’s! Great choices.

    1. Hi Drew! Oh I think your girls would enjoy it, all the kids at my screening seemed to love it. I went w/ my hubby and my girlfriend, both love it too. The Frozen Fever at the beginning is quite adorable too.

      Glad you’ve seen Pan’s and Ever After, both seem to be popular choices!

  6. Ever After I thought was pretty good. My favorite part of the film is the wedding sequence where Dougray Scott meets his bride who is crying her eyes out as he realizes that the bride doesn’t want to marry him. The King and queen realize, “oh, and I thought our problems were bad”.

    Pan’s Labyrinth…. needs to be on Criterion ASAP.

    1. Ahah yeah, that scene is hilarious, I just rewatched it last night and it still made me laugh.

      I’m surprised Pan’s Labyrinth isn’t on Criterion already!

  7. Fun blogathon…I should start doing blogathon again one of these days 😉

    I like both your chosen movies, I haven’t seen Cinderella yet, but I will watch it because of Cate Blanchett

    1. Hi Nov, I haven’t been able to participate often but I do it when I can. Cate in Cinderella would not disappoint, but there are other things to like about the film, too!

  8. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Live Action Fairy Tales are not a favorite of mine. Grew up with the lushly animated ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Snow White’ from Disney. So, my bar is set kind of high.

    Though, if you are the Disney Studios and are set to do a Live Action take of a Classic. The wisest move is to hire a director (Brannagh) who knows all about making magic work on the screen. Cast it to the best (Cate Blanchett looks and sounds like a delicious choice!) of your abilities. And give them every opportunity to romp and play!

    I may have to call and check in with my older sister. Just to see if she and her daughter may have this scheduled for a weekend afternoon “Family Time” activity. Looks and sounds like it has all the makings of a memorable one!

    1. Hi Kevin! Glad to see you’re a fan of the classic animated films, yes those are still tough to beat. I enjoyed the latest Cinderella and Disney definitely did a lot of stuff right w/ hiring the director and the cast, esp miss Blanchett. I was a bit skeptical on Lily James as Cinderella but I ended up liking her performance too.

      P.S. Would love to get another one of your guest posts again btw [wink, wink]

  9. Oh, Pan’s Labyrinth is wonderful, and I like Ever After, though I haven’t seen it in years. I was a little disappointed with Cinderella, but I liked it overall.

    1. Oh no, you’re not too fond of Cinderella? I actually wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, and I think it’s wise that Disney didn’t do another ‘reimagining’ like Maleficent.

  10. Pingback: Everybody’s Chattin’ + MARCH Viewing Recap |

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