Monday, April 2, 2012

3 of a Kind: Mirror Mirror and two prior fractured fairy-tales that end on a song.

Why Relativity saw fit to release this climactic dance number from Mirror Mirror well-ahead of its theatrical release, I cannot say.  But while it's pretty disconnected from the film, it does reveal a pretty big spoiler involving the fate of a major supporting character (and also ruins one of the biggest 'wtf?' cameos in recent memory).  It may not be fair to continuously compare Mirror Mirror to the somewhat similar Ella Enchanted, but it is worth noting that they actually end in pretty much the same way, albeit with an established song as opposed to an original Bollywood-ish tune.

This musical number at least feels more connected to the film it precedes, since it's one of two major musical numbers in the picture (Hathaway does a great cover of Queen's "Someone to Love" at around the halfway mark).  It's no great shakes, but the cast seems to be having fun with each other, and that natural chemistry and comfort is something that the newer picture genuinely lacks.  It also is an example of genuine whimsy, rather than the forced whimsy that the above number tries and fails to generate. This film is a big reason why I'm an Anne Hathaway, both professionally and pruriently (if you know me well enough, you can guess my favorite part of the clip above).  She's quite amusing and engaging in what could have been a toss-off or Shrek cash-in.  And Cary Elwes has fun somewhat spoofing his image, as he plays a villain this time around.    

Speaking of Shrek, now we come to the the reason all such 'fractured fairy tales' now end with a song number. I saw Shrek on opening night and rather enjoyed it, finding it to be both a snarky-but-gentle fairy tale spoof and a completely compelling romantic drama in its own right (it's the rare romantic comedy/drama where the third-act misunderstanding actually makes sense).  Anyway, point being I knew right then that Shrek was going to be the highest-grossing film of summer 2001, because pretty much every single audience member was singing and/or dancing their way out of the theater to Smash-Mouth's cover of The Monkey's I'm a Believer.  It makes no more sense to say that Shrek was a monster hit because of a climactic cast-sing-a-long than it does to say that Avatar was a mega-hit because of its 3D or The Dark Knight was only a hit because Health Ledger died.  But all four Shrek films, plus a number of Dreamworks animated features (such as Puss In Boots) made a point to end on a song, and I don't think it's a coincidence.  Shrek was a damn-good film, and letting the audience go out on a successfully feel-good high note was merely the cherry on top of the sundae.

Anyway, I have no profound conclusions to add, merely felt like sharing.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

That Guy said...

Smash Mouth did I'm a Beliver in the first Shrek...


Related Posts with Thumbnails