We have a fascination with fairy tales


I went and saw Mirror, Mirror over the weekend.  It was a cute rendition of the Snow White tale, and I particularly liked the actors who were portraying the dwarves, many of whom viewers will recognize from other movies.  The costumes were absolutely gorgeous.  And I found it rather interesting that they were driving hard on the 99% vs. the 1% theme which seems to be popular lately in liberal circles.

On the way out of the theatre, however, I passed by a poster for another upcoming rendition of Snow White: Snow White and the Huntsman . This rendition is supposed to be darker and features the Queen as a monster who needs to eat Snow White’s heart in order to stay young and beautiful. I also watch a few–and only a few–television shows, and one that I happen to watch religiously from week to week is Once Upon a Time . This one features Snow White again as one of the main characters along with the wicked queen and a host of other fairy tale legends living in a small town near Boston.

So why this recent fascination with Snow White in particular, and fairy tales in general?

One theory I have is that we are once again in depressing times with the Great Recession, continuing conflict in the Middle East, a political mess in Washington D.C., and the ongoing questions about our future with our use of things such as fresh water, oil, and food. Back in 1936, when the nation was slowly recovering from the Great Depression with Nazi power rising in Germany, America also had a fascination with fairy tales. One of the first renditions of Snow White came out, the first full length animated movie. I believe it was either that year or near then that Wizard of Oz also came into movie theatres.

But we see some interesting differences with this latest flood of Snow White and Grimm tales is that what used to be a helpless but beautiful maiden has been transformed into a warrior princess. One could say that our society so considers women as equals now that the audience would not tolerate a weepy weak wench. Or is it again that we sense war is coming, and everyone, man, woman, and child, must be ready to take up arms?

Fairy tales can be used as an escape from a difficult, even depressing reality. Or perhaps they ready a society for an upcoming challenge, clearly defining what is good and what is evil.

At any rate, I enjoyed the film. And I’ll keep watching to see what else Hollywood puts out in the latest versions of classic tales.

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