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2012: prime time for fairy tales

By Purbita Saha
On March 5, 2012

Move along Disney, this year is looking to be "Grimm" already.

Hollywood is ditching its cutesy princess stories and adopting a darker perspective on fairy tales.

Leading off the parade is "Mirror, Mirror," which is supposed to be fluffy, but not in a woodland creature sort-of-way. This satirical version of "Snow White" casts Julia Roberts as a cruel, vain and greedy queen who uses magic to gain youth and riches. She doubles as a gold-digging cougar as she strives to bag Prince Andrew, played by Armie Hammer, and his inheritance. In response, fledgling actress Lily Collins must emerge from hiding and crash the wedding with the help of her seven little dwarves. The most shocking change in this adaptation is that the dwarves get real names, rather than the ones we are more familiar with: Happy, Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful and Doc.

"Snow White" gets two makeovers in 2012, as "Snow White and the Huntsmen" is set to be released June 1. Kristen Stewart adds a touch of toughness to the role of Snow White, while Charlize Theron poses as the regal and cunning Queen Ravenna. According to the trailer, the kingdom is divided between its ruthless governess and its righteous heiress and eventually is launched into a civil war. The movie also diverts some attention to the Huntsmen character – hence the title – who is played by "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth. Now, the big question is whether he will turn out to be a villain or a hero by the end of the film.

Further off the deep end is "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as grown-up versions of Hansel and Gretel. While seeking retribution for the gingerbread house incident, the siblings decide to take up an occupation of terminating witches. The movie is supposed to be released either at the end of 2012 or in January 2013.

But Disney is not completely ready to let Hollywood's progressive-minded directors deface the fairy tale genre. Coming in June is a new Pixar move that transforms the traditional Disney princess into a fiery, Scottish archer. Princess Merida is not one to learn how to sew, practice dancing or follow her kingdom's traditions. Instead, she enjoys tromping through mud, climbing trees and using everything she can get her hands on as target practice. Due to her brashness, however, she ends up being cursed and has to overcome a series of trials to get rid of the spell.

Director Mark Andrews said that the story of "Brave" is loosely based on fables by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, therefore marking a shift to more mature and sinister themes by both Disney and Pixar. At the same time, the film proves that the powerhouse studios are moving away from their fantasy schemes and transitioning to a more realistic angle on storytelling and movie making.


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