Thursday, February 15, 2007

losing the fairytale touch?

Could it be true that our first major encounter with “happily ever after” started when Aladdin and Jasmine flew on a magic carpet?

We look at our peers and see that they have this idea of what romantic love should be. Some rebel from it; some don’t. But in one way or another, fairytales have unknowingly modified our ideal version of couples and relationships.

Each fairytale is singularly unique the whole world over. Their only similarity is they hope to teach valuable lessons through entertaining others, mostly kids, as they employ the oh-so-familiar plot. The heroine with stupefying beauty is introduced, and antagonists set up a living hell for her. Prince charming comes to the rescue, and they live happily ever after. Colors burst as love blooms to the merry chirping of birds. Dreamy? Or sickeningly cliché?

Whatever it is, we still ask: where did the fairytales go? When did our kindergarten, fanciful bedtime stories take on a good-versus-evil leave?

Lately, we’ve been enjoying the likes of “Shrek” and “Hoodwink”, which merely lampoon the fairytales we’ve grown up with. We wonder if the classical and the traditional have lost that magic touch, and are unable to touch hearts in today’s world.

“Fairytales are for kids. That’s why they mostly have happy endings,” said nursing sophomore Luther Ocampos. “And in order to gain appeal to the mature audience, varieties were made to suit the changing preference of the populace.”

In fact, according to, “Beauty and the Beast” was the last hand-drawn fairytale Disney animation. Released in 1991, it was the first, and so far the only, animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Belle descended from a line of princesses that could be traced all the way back to Snow White in 1937. Do the math and you’ll find that Snow White’s 70th anniversary is actually this year.

“Whenever the guy rescues the damsel in distress, it’s obvious that they would end up living together forever. Fairytales may be old, but they are still charismatic,” said Fiona Jade Lim, an entrepreneurship sophomore. traces these stories’ origins to word of mouth, children’s story writer Hans Christian Andersen, and particularly to the Brothers Grimm. In the late 1700s, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm and Wilhelm Karl Grimm, rendered fairytales too ghastly and grim, not to mention gruesome, for children. Disney apparently offers distilled versions of these.

And now that being said, with the concept of faraway places with spectral beings possessing remarkable skills and abilities in the midst assisting the handsome prince and the beautiful princess, surely the mind a child wanders to something flattering and lovely.

Former tWS features editor Easter Lois Marigza expressed, “Love presented in fairytales is unrealistic. They’re what make people today delusional; these fairytales embed in their heads the notion that there are Prince Charmings and damsels in distress when in fact they don’t exist. Fairytales are not love stories for the young but for the disillusioned.”

Well, we know she is not alone. But for the rest of the hopelessly romantic, go ahead. Make your fairytale Wednesday today. Just watch out for those evil witches and petulant stepsisters in the sidelines.

Note: In the February 12 Philippine Daily Inquirer issue, Walt Disney animators announced they would bring back the hand-drawn films to the big screen. One wonders what plots Disney can come up with using the traditional 2D approach.

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