Fairy Tales 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little Red

This anime version of this tale raises a few interesting differences. The largest difference from any of the tales we have read is the large involvement of forest creatures from the beginning. it goes into relatively great detail explaining the relationship between little red riding hood and all of the forest creatures. Later in the story, once Little red is on her way to the house, the bird tries unsuccessfully to warn her. After that, the bird flies to collect an army of woodland creatures to save her. None of the other versions had this level of anthropomorphic woodland creature involvement. The wolf is also portrayed interestingly in this version. He comes off as a buffoon rather than the clever carnal hunter. He is constantly seen as fat and drooling and even eats a cuckoo clock. This leads me to the next big difference. Little red actually fights back in addition to attempting to run away. No other story has her physically causing the wolf harm.

Splendidly Terrible


"Little Red Riding Hood Animation directors cut"

Spotty illustration, awful voice acting, brain-twisting music choices, and strangely endearing. It seems like something made in fifteen minutes (he made it for a college assignment so you never know). But the sloppy film making sort of mirrors the ridiculousness of the plot. A Warner Bros. version with its slick animation and cohesive storyline doesn't capture the spirit of the fairy tale. The fairy tale does not have a cohesive storyline. It's not "well written". In some ways I felt like this version recreated the fairy tale, loosely based on the Grim version, better than an animation that would be more professionally produced. The moment which fully captures this absurdity is when the wolf first appears to Little Red Riding Hood as she's walking down the path toward Grandmother's house. The wolf asks her where she is going, she answers, and then the wolf has nothing to say. What is there to say? It's an unfathomable moment. What's keeping him from eating her right there. Why isn't his interest entirely suspicious. I'm not necessarily arguing that this effect was entirely intentional. I'm just not ruling out the possibility of meta elements. If the animator looked like he gave a shit, I surely would have pursued his work further.

Mysterious Wolf

This video completely fascinates me in the same way that the video from today did. This piece took a classic fairy tale and "experimented" with it (as is said in the description) in order to make it a short film. Clearly, the point of the film is not to tell the true story but to show off David Lehre's ability to direct a short film. Seriously, his name spent probably more time on the screen than the wolf did. 
I think this video really mixes a lot of genres and labels. The music is meant to be a bit sketchy, scary, or creepy (or all of the above in my opinion) and tells the story as much as the actors do. It also by no means holds onto the idea of being composed for children. There are themes of beauty, age, sex (and violent sex like rape from the wolf), heroism, and love (between Red and the lumberjack?). It doesn't teach much of a moral to me (other than the fact that pretty girls apparently have to stay away from the woods). I also think that the choice in the actor for the wolf is very interesting. To me, the lumberjack seems like a bigger, burlier man than does the wolf, and the wolf is clearly very primal with his bare chest and "scary" mask. 
In terms of sticking to the story, this video obviously did anything but. There is no background and no real idea of a future. In other words, we know nothing about the characters except the little that we see based on clothing, actions, and expressions. Also, there is no true ending to the story, unlike the tale where it's quite clear. Red seems to have been saved but you just never know... (again, Lehre is really forcing the creepiness here...)

Little Red Riding Hood


What is interesting about this video to me is that its as close to the version I grew up with that I can find, with kind doting parents and a girl that gets lost along the way because she literally stopped to “smell the flowers” and all her animal friends ran away when they saw the wife, narrated by a British deep-voiced older sounding man and a polite and somewhat dashing (in cartoon terms) wolf – an idyllic PG version I think more kids today are familiar with. I just thought it was interesting to compare it with the more gruesome original stories. I also thought it was interesting that when the wolf became “evil” he took off his hat and scarf, showing that it is unnatural for a human to possess these evil characteristics, only big bad wolf animals. And of course the woodcutter jumps through the door and faces down the wolf who saw the strong father figure and knew he could never handle fighting him, and the grandmother lives… happily ever after. No sexuality coming from the little girl, just good vs. evil and the strong manly father figure coming just in the nick of time to save the day.

Because I figured everyone else would do the Monty Python version...

Ah, leave it to the classics to give us something original! Many takes on the Red Riding Hood fairytale seek to upend the predator-prey dynamics of the story by giving the girl herself considerable power, whether it be intellectual, sexual (as in today’s movie), or physical (as in the Thurber version). This version keeps Red Riding Hood as “little” as she’s ever been, with absolutely no hint of sexualization and only a serendipitous sort of evasive skill. In other words, she’s completely boring, and so the cartoon quite rightly derives all its entertainment from updating our conception of the wolf. (The fact that there are two “wolves” actually doesn’t create as big a change as one would expect.) Instead of the cunning and ravenous beast to whom we are accustomed (and who easily makes the metaphorical jump to a lusty male), we have a cranky, bumbling oaf with conspicuous memory issues (a.k.a., a funny character!). Since the audience’s moral radar is barely engaged, our dramatic sympathies are allowed to stick with the bad guys; we laugh at their failures, yes, but with no more ill-intent than that of new pet owners watching their puppy try to climb stairs for the first time. This unique perspective on the tale produces a better story (in my opinion, of course), but at the cost of losing any real moral implications or serious metaphorical readings.
Another interesting change is that the hand of retribution works not through RRH or the huntsman but through the rather pathetic granny character, who capitalizes on her lack of being eaten by serving both Sylvester and the Big Bad Wolf a well-timed pow, right in the kisser. Granny has had to endure a long tradition of disappearing for most (if not all) of the story after the wolf shows up at her house, so it’s nice to see her get to mete out some justice.

Little Red Riding Hood Song


This version of little Red Riding Hood is geared towards very little children. I felt kind of silly watching it, and then even more silly when the song got stuck in my head. But, I was really interested in this particular movie because of the discussion that we had in class today about how the Little Red Riding Hood stories are reflective of a societies' perception of childhood. Unlike medieval times, when their children were thought of as "little adults", this story/song is reflective of a society that not only separates childhood from adulthood but wants to keep its children innocent for as long as possible. This song begins with a teacher telling the story to students with the moral of not wandering in the woods alone. Even the wolf in the story is made amusing and not scary in the least. When he gobbles her up, you can see LLRH inside the stomach, and she doesn't even look frightened, just confused. After they mention LRRH bringing her grandmother pie because she was sick at the beginning, she is completely forgotten and never returned to in the story. LRRH is finally saved by a woodsman who shakes her out of the wolf's stomach. He takes her back home and is the one to teach her the lesson. There is no violence at the end towards the wolf, and he is even included at the end scene chorus with all of the characters bobbing back and forth. Overall, I found this depiction of LRRH so interesting in that it contrasts with all of the stories we have read in class so greatly. This story/song, though keeping with most of the main themes of the story, is so incredibly geared towards a younger audience. It aims to take out all of the scary and inappropriate elements and to keep the story upbeat and happy through a catchy song even at the points that are supposed to be scary or suspenseful.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Very Different Little Red Riding Hood story

Here is a video that I found rather entertaining. My roommate and I were laughing as we were watching. First, I had no clue what this had to do with Little Red Riding Hood. This is not your typical "Little Red Riding Hood" story. I wanted to post it, however, because it draws upon the story. If you are not familiar with the story, you will not understand the ending of this video. This shows how influential this story is - the people who made this film automatically assumed that people would understand it. Not only that, but this portrays the girl to be extremely sexual and promiscuous, which is somewhat similar to the original stories, but this takes it to a different level. Also, little red is able to cut open the wolf and retrieve her grandmother unharmed in this film, which is the same as other stories.
This film also made me wonder if it is merely an alternate ending to the story, or if it is a sequel. If it is a sequel, what story is it based on where the wolf eats the grandmother, and little red is able to escape without harm to the wolf? Either way, this film portrays Little Red as smart and manipulative. She uses her promiscuity to defeat the wolf. This is different from the older stories because in those stories, the wolf makes the girl take off her clothes, and uses that for his own gains. Now, the tables have turned. I thought that was interesting.

Bedtime Stories: Little Red Riding Hood

So, I thought this version was fairly funny, not the funniest (because that one was incredibly sexual and I didn’t want anyone to judge me for posting that one ahaha) but none the less, interesting. It was an interesting twist to propose that LRRH had obsessive compulsive disorder for constantly wearing her red cape. The origins of the cape had nothing to do with Granny and her love for LRRH. LRRH is pictured quite autonomously here. She is clearly old enough to accurately survey her surroundings and hormonally speaking, she acts like a teen. She doesn’t like being told what do; she barely likes people. The prevailing sense of geriatric contagion is discussed and her fear of the woods is not because of predatory animals, but of bugs crawling up her legs into her vagina. (Pause) When she meets the wolf, she isn’t scared or over friendly like other versions; she’s a little defensive, crude and attitudinal. Not the polite etiquette that mom imparts to LRRH before she leaves for Granny’s in other versions. She is very practical about the wolf’s activities and brushes him off. Granny actually dies in this version but at the same time, LRRH immediately notices that Wolf Granny isn’t really Granny. She isn’t fooled, the strip tease is null, and the superhuman (except it’s actually very human power) and political mind of LRRH leads her to get the wolf castrated instead of her killing him. So the element of controlling the predatory male is still prevalent but the girl is responsible for this decision, it is not another male who comes to save her. There are several references to retards and idiots which is slightly disturbing but still sort of funny. The castration of the wolf is met with ambivalence by LRRH when she sees that the vet isn’t capable of properly neutering the wolf (and thus controlling his desires by showing him the repercussions of his actions) but ultimately, in the age of technology she can, hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil by turning her head and blasting music on her ipod. Maternal and paternal figures play virtually no role in the story. LRRH just has common sense and can be viewed as well intentioned as she wasn’t trying to kill the wolf. Just an overall different version of the story we grew up with.