Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Into The Woods": New Movie Poster, New Website & Random Thoughts on How We (& the Media) View Fairy Tales

And one more bit of Into The Woods news for Thursday:

Today also saw the launch of the official website (although there's not a whole lot there apart from the trailer, cast list and the photos you've already seen) and new promo poster variations (see above and below).

The Facebook page is finally becoming active too.

The important thing this confirms is that they're still releasing on Christmas Day in theaters in the US. I can see the Winter merchandise and decorations now... although they're mixing up with Narnia a bit in my head at the moment, which I wouldn't mind too much since so much of the first Narnia movie merchandise at the time of the release was just stunning.  I'm going to do my best to be optimistic about this.

One note does concern me though: we're a little tired of fairy tale stories backstabbing us, or the media doing their level best to "shock" the public by uncovering their dark sides via these "OMG did you know..!" lists. Adam over at Fairy Tale Fandom has a great and timely post on this very subject.

One thing my forced downtime made me do, since I couldn't handle computer screens, was to do a lot more reading. While I plan to get to the various books in more detail in the coming weeks, I have to admit my favorites were not the novels but the collections, specifically Jack Zipes' recent wonderful book, The Golden Age of Folk & Fairy Tales from The Brothers Grimm to Andrew Lang and to a lesser extent, though still great to read, Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (with the English version and the German version side by side so I could look at Shaun Tan's sculptures while reading).

Why? Because they were just "as is" - no emphasis on the happily ever after or the magic but also no emphasis on the dark, gruesome, grimness either. They were just tales in which something out of the ordinary happened and people had to choose how to respond and what, if anything, they should do about it.

When I started getting a lot better and could watch TV again, I also spent some time showing my kid some more of Miyazaki's movies and discussing extraordinary, ordinary things (if you follow me) and it struck me just how similar the sensibilities are - which is probably why I love the movies so much. While the fantasy creatures and impossible things were notable, it was clear that many of these things could have been either frightening or wondrous, depending on the context they were seen in and particularly how the child (usually it was a child) at the center of the story saw it. We weren't told "this is beautiful" or "this is scary", we had to hold our breath and see what the kid thought.

Here is an excerpt from a wonderful set of images, illustrating Miyazaki's philosophy in storytelling. It's something I sincerely wish more filmmakers, especially regarding family films, in English speaking countries would adopt:

The excerpt above is slightly out of context so you can see the full five illustrated page summary HERE.

Anyway - these are my random musings as I watch fairy tales being presented to the public once again. I'm actually hopeful that Into The Woods will work in favor of balancing some of the glitter vs gruesome polarization we currently see when the public contemplates fairy tales.

1st Official Trailer: "Into The Woods"

Ta da! And here it is:

My first thoughts are mostly positive, especially considering my (and many others') fears. Glad to see they're continuing the trend of customizing the view of the Disney castle for the film. 

How about you?

At Long Last, the Journey "Into The Woods" Begins

Over the last couple of days we've been treated to a bunch of stills (care of People Magazine) and a sneak peek of some footage, care of Entertainment Tonight (see below, with apologies for the quality) for Disney's, much anticipated/feared live action version of the award winning musical, Into the Woods. 
It was originally set for theatrical release this Winter (December 25, 2014), but there's a chance that may be moved... TBC.

Although it would seem they're currently doing some reshoots, the marketing machine appears to have finally chugged into gear. Rumor has it that we'll be seeing a proper trailer either August 1st or August 2nd.

In the meantime, here's the ET segment (cut off). Note: the first version I saw was removed so see this ASAP in case this goes too! (, no doubt we'll get a better look very soon):

Hm. Interesting. It actually looks quite... theatrical, though there will no doubt be more effects than we have currently seen. For fans of the Broadway musical, this is still going to be a tough sell but unless it's been completely "Disney-fied" and much glitter added where we have yet to see it, there appears to be a chance of a traditional live action musical here. (Gasp!)

(We've seen the images below before but I thought I'd add them for context.)

Emily Blunt and James Cordon look great, as do many of the cast but I'm going to have to see quite a bit more before I'm completely sold on the Witch, Cinderella and especially the Wolf... (Johnny Depp in a hat. Why are we not surprised?)

What do you think so far?

PS Personal note: I am finally - mostly! - recovered from my 'broken crown', it's unlikely I will be able to blog every day for a short while yet, but I will do my best to manage to bring you news as often as I can. While it turns out it's completely true that a good whack on the head does have you seeing bright lights and stars (but no tweety birds) just like a cartoon, recovery from said stars can actually take (a very inconvenient, painful and frustrating period of) weeks and weeks (very UNlike a cartoon!). Please take care of your heads!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Of Vinegar and Brown Paper...

Broken Crown by Vu Mai (from his Sims Medieval renders)
My apologies for the lack of fairy tale news. I'm working on repairing my crown, which is taking a little longer than expected. I've been advised to take still another week for recovery but hopefully I will be back to blogging by the second week in July.

Keep an eye out for rogue uses of fairy tales while I'm away, would you?