April 12, 2004

Please pass (by) the Cheese

I cannot help being a purist. When a truly terrific piece of literature is made into a movie, I attend expecting the words to have found a visual venue; an exact copy. I understand cutting scenes due to time. I even understand creative interpretation, but to totally change the book leaves me....annoyed and disappointed.

I must confess to my love of Cinderella stories. I think it is because I relate so well to them (one evil stepfather was my step-nightmare). I collect them; the Persian one being my favorite. Their stories surpass time and culture.

Ella Enchanted is the perfect version.

As I stated previously, I stayed awake until 2 A.M. in a cold bathroom to finish this tale that so captured my imagination. It was not until the last chapter that I realized it was a Cinderella chronicle. That's how incredibly creative Ms. Levine is. Ella is witty and intelligent. She is unpretentious and funny (self-depreciating humor always makes me laugh). Mandy (her godmother and house fairy) doesn't just stand by when Ella is given a humiliating command. She doesn't undo it; just redirects. Ella is frustrated by her father, but doesn't hate him. Lucinda is a benign, though idiotic, fairy who learns first hand the havoc her "blessings" cause. I love that Ella's wit and Char's strength free them from the Ogres. Time and again their personalities compliment one another. Yet, in the name of true love, Ella refuses Char in order to save not only him, but the kingdom of which she is so fond.

So, when I went to the movie last Friday, I had high hopes. Here was an opportunity to make a wonderful book into a wonderful movie; a movie from which young ladies could take inspiration and be entertained. While Anne Hathaway did make a fine Ella, the lines were poorly written and cliches were, well, things we had all heard somewhere before. This was to be a place we had never been but all recognized; not from cheesy lines, but from the universal struggle that all young women endure to know themselves, their fate; overcoming their greatest personal obstacles to get there. It once again became all about the girl getting the guy. That may be what sells but not to the women of this house.

Posted by Rae at April 12, 2004 04:38 PM

Okay, you've inspired me to finally go and buy the book since you are so passionate about it. Hopefully it does for me what it did for you!(I sound like the lady in the restaurant in Harry Met Sally who said she would have one of whatever Sally had just ordered after her fake orgasm scene...hehe.)

Posted by: kujo at April 12, 2004 05:18 PM

Ooohh, one of my favorite scenes. Now that was a decent movie....

Yes, please read the book, KT. I know you will love it.

Posted by: Rae at April 12, 2004 06:35 PM

I just added Ella Enchanted to my wishlist, Rae.

Posted by: Natalie at April 12, 2004 08:03 PM

Ooooh, Natalie, you are gonna love it! She has some short stories that are really good, also. The Fairy's Mistake is one that I can think of right now that made me laugh out loud.

P.S. Tell Peter happy belated :)

Posted by: Rae at April 12, 2004 10:23 PM

I once wrote an short story about Cinderella -- presented as an excerpt of her memoirs reprinted in a feminist literature anthology. She's fairly reclusive these days (the story went), divorced from her Hessian Prince and living with her second husband in upstate New York. But the memoir excerpt chronicles her high society Manhattan socialite days, the breakup of her first marriage, and her sessions with her psychoanalyst, who stubborly tries to reduce her problems to a series of fairly pedestrian psychsexual desires.

Can't find the damn thing, though.

Posted by: Jeff G at April 12, 2004 10:48 PM

I just found a copy on eBay for $1.00, and since I had a few dollars in my PayPal account.... ;) Can't wait to read it!

Posted by: pam at April 13, 2004 06:43 AM

Well, Jeff, when you do, I must add it to my collection...

Posted by: Rae at April 13, 2004 10:49 AM

Hello - found you via Baldilocks (she needs to update her 'roll to your new house). I like it! I've always thought pink and gray look really good together.

I am disappointed to hear about Ella. I liked her in Princess Diaries (though as usual book better than screen).

I did like Ever After. Another version of "Cinder Soot".

Oh, and my middle name is Rae...

Posted by: GrumpyBunny at April 14, 2004 04:28 PM

Hi! Thanks for stopping by :)

Yes, we own Ever After, too. It is one of our favorites.

You know, there are a lot of Raes out there. I think we should band together and start a "blogdom"-RaeBlogs, or something. Pam could make us a very cute button!

Posted by: Rae at April 14, 2004 05:00 PM
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