Happily N’Ever After (2006)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   B

USA/Germany2006.  Lionsgate, Vanguard Films, Odyssey Entertainment, BAF Berlin Animation Film, BFC Berliner Film Companie, Vanguard Animation, Nitrogen Studios Canada.  Screenplay by , additional writer .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Just how many revisionist versions of Cinderella do we need before we’ve had enough? This abysmal animated film is a sad attempt to capture the persnickity joy of Shrek that is neither funny nor clever. In this version, Cinderella lives, along with all the other fairy-tale standards such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, in Fairy Tale land. The land is, unbeknownst to its inhabitants, watched over by a wizard () whose scales of justice keep good and evil at equal measure and ensure that each fairy tale plays out the way it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, on the night that Cinderella () is meant to go to the ball and fall in love with the brawny but air headed prince (), her stepmother (, having a wonderful time voicing the badass villainess) discovers the lay of the land and takes over the wizard’s powers herself. This puts Cinderella in the way of the ignored kitchen boy (,) who is not as popular but much more worthy of her. It’s no crime that an animated film for children is predictable, but even the small tots will roll their eyes at how pedestrian the plotting is. The animation is stilted and unattractive, the voice work about two rehearsals shy of perfection–Gellar is particularly unconvincing–while the direction is clunky.

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