Ella Enchanted — Movie 2004

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A short while ago I watched Ella Enchanted after having finished the book.

If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

I watched the Ella Enchanted movie before reading the book, so I already knew that I would like the story.  Even though I really enjoyed the movie, I was surprised by how much the story had been changed from the book.  Ella’s movie father is much, much nicer than in the book.  The other major difference is that Char and Ella’s love interest is developed in the movie in a way that it never is in the book.   Also, Char’s evil uncle was completely fabricated for the movie, but we were really gratified to see Cary Elwes in the role.  He must have had fun hamming it up and it reminded us of his performance in The Princess Bride.  The other change which made the movie so much fun was the way it melded modern and old-fashioned, including in costume, dance and singing.  Yes, singing!  Yes, a Queen song!  What more can I say?

Anne Hathaway had a huge part in making this movie the success that it is.  As we all know, she is a superb actress and this film showcases her abilities, even at a young-ish age.  Just like in the book, Ella is a feisty and opinionated Cinderella-type.  Hathaway puts just the right amount of wit, sass and charm into Ella to make her one of the most likable princesses out there.

I recommend Ella Enchanted to everybody who enjoys a good fairy tale.  My boys watched it with me, and even they conceded it was a good movie.

Rated: PG

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER ELLA ENCHANTED POSTS:

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Alice in Wonderland: A Graphic Novel by Powell & Ferran

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Title: Alice in Wonderland: A Graphic Novel by Martin Powell & Daniel Ferran

Premise:

Alice goes on a picnic with her sister, but becomes bored and falls asleep.  She has a fantastically outrageous dream about talking animals, a violent queen, and growing and shrinking.

My thoughts:

The story of Alice in Wonderland is totally bizarre and out there, and you shouldn’t expect anything different in the graphic novel.  Since this is a shortened way of sharing the story, the zany and nonsensical scenes seem to randomly follow one another.  From an adult perspective, the story seemed disjointed and strange (and I already know the plot), so I can imagine kids would be confused by it.

The artwork is very nicely done and I like how they visually represented each scene, but that’s not enough to make up for the seemingly pointless story.  I think Alice in Wonderland works better in its original form.  The story requires more words to try and make sense of the ridiculous events.

I recommend Alice in Wonderland to elementary-age kids who would like to learn the premise of the original tale without committing to reading a longer book.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Super Billy Goats Gruff: A Graphic Novel by Sean Tulien

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Title: Super Billy Goats Gruff by Sean Tulien

Premise:

Three goats want to get to the hillside to eat grass and grow fat.  Their way  is blocked, however, by a fearsome beast and his minions, whom they must defeat.

My thoughts:

I was surprised by how nicely they expanded and played with the Billy Goats Gruff story.  There isn’t a lot to it, but this author had the idea of turning it into an adventure like what you might find in a video game level.  Each of the brothers has a specific role (warrior, wizard and ninja), chooses a different route to take, has special powers, and fights different minions along the way.  At the end the brothers work together to defeat the “boss,” so they can get to the coveted field of grass.  😉

The story is really simple, but I enjoyed the characterization of the goats and the fun video game take on the story.  The artwork fit the theme perfectly.  You can tell the story premise came from the mind of someone who is into video games.  It takes subtle jabs at the genre and/or the way characters behave in those games.  My favorite character was Big Gruff and I thought his power up scene was hilarious!

I recommend Super Billy Goats Gruff to elementary-age kids who like fun retellings of  fairy tales.  I think boys would really get a kick out of this one.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Snow White and the Seven Robots: A Graphic Novel by Louise Simonson

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Title: Snow White and the Seven Robots by Louise Simonson

Premise:

Snow White is created to be the perfect ruler for Techworld, but the current queen is outraged that someone else might be smarter than she is and more qualified for the job.  In a bid to keep her position, the Queen has Snow exiled and eventually poisons her.  Seven mining robots watch over Snow White until her old friend, Doc, finds and revives her.  When Snow returns, she is crowned Queen and takes her rightful place as the planet’s leader.

My thoughts:

Last night in bed I read another book from the Far Out Fairy Tales series.  This one was about Snow White and it strays VERY far from the original story.  The story taking place in outer space is fine–I could deal with that.  The people having green skin is fine, too.  But the overall plot changes seem a stretch.  Snow White isn’t born, but created by a bunch of scientists as the perfect ruler for Techworld.  The current queen wants Snow out of the picture because she’s threatened by her intelligence.  To me it just seems to stray too far from the original.

The events in the story seem very farfetched and somewhat arbitrary.  I wish the story line had been tighter and more logical.  As it is, I would only recommend this book to kids.  It’s not satisfying enough for adult fans of the Snow White tale, in my humble opinion.

I recommend Snow White and the Seven Robots to kids who enjoy unique retellings of classic fairy tales.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Ninja-rella: A Graphic Novel by Joey Comeau

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Title: Ninja-rella by Joey Comeau

Premise:

Cinderella has a happy childhood with loving parents, but one day her mother dies.  She copes by spending all of her time practicing sword fighting.  Her father eventually remarries, but then he too dies.  Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters treat her like a slave and make her life miserable.  It’s Cinderella’s dream to serve as the Prince’s bodyguard, but if her stepmother won’t let her go to the ball, how will he ever see her awesome ninja skills?

My thoughts:

This is a really fun retelling of the classic Cinderella story.  Put aside any thoughts of romance–this young lady is totally focused on a career as a ninja!  Cinderella’s fairy godninja comes through and makes a way for Ninja-rella to get to the ball–even wielding a fancy glass sword.  She ends up defending the prince against some would-be assassins and he hires her as his personal bodyguard.  Wishes really do come true!  😉

I think my favorite part of this book is the illustrations.  They have a very Asian-inspired feel about them, but in a childish, cartoonesque way.  At the end of the book there’s a page with some interesting tidbits about the original Cinderella tale, and a few questions about the visual aspects of the book to get children examining the artwork.

I recommend Ninja-rella to kids who enjoy fairy tales and unique retellings of classic stories.  This one gets a thumbs-up as being highly appealing to kids!

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman

dream-stealer

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The Dream Stealer is a charming little story that I got to read with the kids before bed.  Though it has chapters, they are very short.  The story could be read before bed, or it’s even suitable for a child who is just starting to read chapter books.

Premise:

The Dream Stealer is a Mexican entity who goes around at night stealing people’s bad dreams.  When he tires of dealing with the monsters in peoples’ dreams, however, he resorts to stealing pleasant dreams.  Susana, who had been having a wonderful dream about her best friend who recently moved away, wants her dream back.  This spirited young lady isn’t going to back down until the Dream Stealer returns it–even if she has to journey to his enchanted castle to get it!

My thoughts:

I think that this is a fun little book, with just the right flavor of Mexico to make it intriguing.  There isn’t much to the tale, but somehow it still manages to be charming.

Though there are monsters in the story, they aren’t scary.  We are told that they’re nothing more than the stuff of dreams and can’t really hurt people.  That’s a relief, as there are vampires, zombies and a giant locked up in the Dream Stealer’s castle!

I would recommend this book to elementary-age children and families who want a short read-aloud book.  It’s simple, but engaging enough to keep your child’s attention.

As a little added bonus, the illustrations are by Peter Sís, who illustrated Madlenka and many other children’s books.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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