Monday, April 18, 2005

Ella Enchanted (The Movie)

I saw the film "Ella Enchanted" last night and enjoyed it.

Despite my well documented Cinderella issues, I'd been a huge fan of the Newbery Honor Book and adore author Gail Carson Levine. It reminded me a lot of the Drew Barrymore vehicle "Ever After," and not just because they're both inspired by the classic tale.

"Ella Enchanted" is a fantasy, but otherwise both films (also somewhat like the title role's Anne Hathaway's Mia Thermopolis from yet another Cinderella story, "The Princess Diaries") put a modern spin on royal teens struggling with having been born into such a responsibility juxtaposed against their opportunity to affect change for the better.

In other words, substitute Ella's ogres, giants, and elves for Danielle's servants and gypsies, and you've got the societal context of the plot. My one thumbs-down was the eavesdropping snake.

Freddie Murchison-Kowalski from Greg's books would say the United States is a ridiculously royalty-obsessed nation for a democracy and prefers that her Opa call her "senator" rather than "princess" as a term of endearment. I'm inclined to agree, but notice that I did adore Gail's Ella, read much of Meg Cabot's TPD series, and saw all the aforementioned films.

Story princesses do seem to have improved in modern times, though just when you think real progress is being made, on pops a "cat fight" commercial for "The Bachelor."

Sidenote: I met Gail Carson Levine at my first TLA conference at the same publisher party where I met Joan Lowery Nixon, who invited a then nervous newcomer to join her at her table.

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