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It might seem far-reaching at this point to identify any movie trends of 2013, but in the first 60 days we’re going to get two very similar projects that both rework classic fairy tales. In March we’ll have Jack the Giant Slayer and opening Friday is the slightly more twisted Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
We also got two different takes on Snow White last year, and before that re-imaginings of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Little Red Riding Hood." So there’s no question Hollywood has been sorting through all these classic stories looking for box-office gold. We thought we’d help them out by identifying fairy tales that would work well fractured.
The Ugly Duckling
Hans Christian Andersen is responsible for a large chunk of the fairy tales we heard growing up, and though Disney would have you believe he was a positive, upbeat guy, most of his tales were especially dark. The ugly duckling isn’t quite one of them, but here’s an idea: a stop-motion tale of vengeance and mal...lards. Spurned by the other ducks, the ugly duckling plots his revenge on the ducklings who spurned him and left him for dead because he was different. Then he turns into a swan and obliterates them. OK, maybe a short film would be more appropriate.
The Three Little Pigs
This one is much more feasible than “The Ugly Duckling,” or at least I don’t see it being nearly as bloody. A great model would be Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, an awesome picture book in which the Big Bad Wolf is completely misunderstood and essentially framed for the death of the three little pigs. It’s a brilliant story with a message that one shouldn’t assume anything and always be diligent.
The Little Mermaid
You’ve probably heard that the actual story of Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” doesn’t end with rainbows and a wedding, but that the little mermaid dies in the end. That would be true, but on the other hand, her soul gets to live on in eternity (if you count that as happily ever after). Basically, here’s a story of a mermaid who longs to be human and love a prince and would do so at any cost (her beautiful voice, a 300-year lifespan, etc.). A dark, obsessive, passionate fantasy-thriller could get a lot of attention if done right — and not called “The Little Mermaid.”
So far, we’ve yet to honor the Brothers Grimm, who originated most of the tales that have been turned into these films thus far including “Snow White” and “Hansel & Gretel.” Well, how about one you’d least expect? “Rumpelstiltskin” could be an absolutely chilling horror film, or at the least, would look perfect with Guillermo del Toro’s name attached. A miller’s daughter is locked in a room when her father tells the king she can spin straw into gold. She must do it or be killed. An imp then visits her and promises to perform the magic in exchange for riches. Ultimately, she promises her unborn child. Things end well because of Rumpelstiltskin’s arrogance and greed, but it could be tweaked to have a longer, more horrifying and dramatic ending.
Little Red Riding Hood
Let’s completely forget Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried and Hoodwinked (and it’s sequel) for a moment and think about the actual potential of “Little Red Riding Hood.” You could go the revenge action route and have the woodsman and Red team up to find and kill the wolf, or it can be about a harrowing journey to grandmother’s house. Better yet, why not a modern urban thriller used as a way to address violence against young, unsuspecting women? That’s really what’s so creepy about the story to begin with.