Friday, January 12, 2007

REVIEW: Happily N'ever After

Happily N'ever After
Directed by: Paul J. Bolger
Written by: Robert Moreland
With the voices of: Andy Dick, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, and Sigourney Weaver

Movie review format

In Fairytale-land, an all-powerful wizard keeps watch over the scales of good and evil. When the scales are in balance, the fairytales happen as they should. When the scale is tipped to the side of evil, things start to go awry.
When the Wizard goes on vacation (leaving his bumbling assistants to take care of everything), Cinderella’s stepmother discovers the scales and decides to take matters into her own hands. When her beautiful dress disappears, Cinderella decides to take matters into her own hands and find her prince without the help of a fairy-godmother—without realizing her prince might actually be the dishwasher. Will the lowly Rick catch Ella’s attention? Will the bumbling sidekicks set things right?

…Who cares?

That’s the feeling you’ll probably have if you go to see the movie. Fractured fairy-tales are fine when they’re done well. One of my favorite movies, Princess Bride, is one example of this. Shrek is another.
This movie wants to be a Shrek, but utterly fails.

The plot is….well. Barely there. The characters are shuffled from one scene to the next, saying jokes that aren’t funny. I laughed once—and it was mixed with a groan. The story doesn’t even try to be that interesting, it’s just begging you to please, please laugh at the jokes.
The actors playing the characters know it’s not funny, as well. Most don’t even try. The few who do—Sarah Michelle Gellar (who I feel sorry for, she really did try) and Sigourney Weaver (do you really need the money that badly, ma’am?)—are struggling with a dull, lifeless script.

The characters don’t help, either. In my last review, I said that Crystal Door’s characters had “very little unique characteristics” and were “unremarkable.” I feel like I owe Mr. Anderson and Ms. Moesta an apology. Their characters were outstandingly charismatic and interesting compared to these. The Prince is Patrick Warburton’s typical ‘lovable idiot’ without the lovable; the Stepmother is evil, but can’t even give an explanation why when asked in the movie; Ella is unsympathetic and just plain dull; the bumbling sidekicks are forgettable and unneeded; and Rick complains so much you can’t root for him to be with Ella, or to get…anything.

The animation for the movie is like something that was made five years ago. To be fair, characters don’t move quite as stiffly as some CGI films do, but they look like they’re made out of plastic. Ella’s hair looks like it’s painted on. The others look like their hair is made out of clay. Their eyes also have this weird shiny glint to them, like doll’s eyes. Were they trying to make them look like toys?

And as for the music? It sounded like a score for a bad Saturday morning cartoon. It was exaggerated and annoying. There was also one random musical sequence thrown in during the middle of the movie. I thought we had moved on from the days when every animated movie had to have a song tacked on! What’s worse is, the musical sequence was an unmemorable pop song what seemed to be the same scene being played over…and over…and over. It was like watching a bad AMV, only the animation and music is normally better in AMVs.

While sitting in the (empty) theater, I tried to come up with some redeeming qualities for this movie. Here they are: Some of the actors try to make the best of it. And the animation is better than Bratz. That’s about it. If you’re a teen or adult who likes animation, you’ll hate this for being a good example of everything that’s wrong with American animation today: reused plots, jokes that aren’t funny, and celebrity actors for the sake of having celebrity actors.
If you’re a parent looking for a movie to take your kids to…rent out Shrek and let them watch it at home. It’s cheaper, and your kids will probably enjoy it more.

I want my $7.75 back.

Story: 1/10
Art: 2/10
Overall: 1/10

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