#FolkloreThursday Film Spotlight: Tale of Tales

Hello, lovely readers. I have a confession to make before I launch into this blog entry. I had no idea the film I’m about to talk about was based on a book. I am terrible. I now want to read said book though, so there’s that at least.

MV5BZGNkZmI0NGQtNDQ4ZC00YmU1LTg2NTgtOTA0Njg2MjY2MmUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjk3NDAxMQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1333,1000_AL_.jpg

From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.

The above is taken from IMDB. Obviously. Otherwise, I would have known it was actually based on something. I went into this film blind, I’d seen maybe part of a trailer beforehand and was intrigued enough to watch it. I am glad I did.

It’s an incredibly strange film, weaving what at first seem to be three completely separate stories together. The first, a queen who will do anything to have a child; the second, two sisters who win the love of a womanising King by use of trickery and magic; the third, a king who finds and nurtures a flea, loving it more than his own child resulting in his daughter being married off to an ogre.

Naturally, I love it. I adore stories, and if a film has more than one it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with me. Combine that with the fairy tale nature and setting and you’ve got an instant love. This film is dark. It’s also whimsical but the dark kind where you’re not sure if what you’re watching could possibly have a happy ending or whether everyone is going to die horribly.

The film is stunning. From the costumes to the sets, to the music and through the colouring, it is gorgeous. It’s exactly the kind of rich beauty you want from a fairy tale film.

From what I gather of the book, these are only three of an incredible number of tales that could have been used, and now a small hopeful part of me is crossing her fingers and wishing on every star that they turn this into a series of films, each with three tales beautifully produced until the whole book has been done. It is only a vague hope. It will probably never happen. A girl can dream.

It harkens back to the 80s fantasy movies that I adore, only darker and with better visual effects. Definitely, check it out if you’re a fan of fantasy and fairy tales. I love it. Love it.

Happy Thursday!

Review: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth – the Novelisation

20736630

Fifteen-year-old Sarah accidentally wishes her baby half-brother, Toby, away to the Goblin King Jareth who will keep Toby if Sarah does not complete his Labyrinth in thirteen hours.

Finally back in print and for the first time in hardcover is the novelization of LABYRINTH written by A.C.H. Smith and personally overseen by Jim Henson. This is the first in a series of novels from the Jim Henson Archives. This beautiful hardcover features unpublished goblin illustrations by legendary illustrator and concept artist Brian Froud and an exclusive peek into Jim Henson’s creative process with 50 never-before-seen pages from his personal journal, detailing the initial conception of his ideas for LABYRINTH.

I waited a long time to review this book. If you know me, you know the film is one of my favourite things in the history of favourite things; I love it. Eighties fantasy films make me happy in a way that no other film makes me happy. As such, while I was wildly excited to get my grabby, little hands on this book, I was also quite apprehensive: I wasn’t sure how it would translate to writing, it’s such a vivid film, I wasn’t sure it was possible for it to be as good in written form.

My worries were unfounded. It is a brilliant rendition and I recommend it to anyone who can’t get into the film – my best friend wasn’t entirely enamoured by the singing (and crotch-magic-crotchiness of a certain scene) but once I force this book into her hands, I think she will really enjoy it. Perhaps force is a strong word, I don’t think I would have to force her to read it.

It translates really well and brings a new angle to the film that I wasn’t expecting. Getting to read the thoughts and feelings of the characters rather than simply seeing it on screen gives the story a lot more depth. As an avid fan, I am pleased. I know I am somewhat slow on the ball with this one – the book was released some time before and then made out of print – but, for once, I am really glad to have been slow. This edition, as it says above, includes some of Froud’s unpublished goblin illustrations and notes from Jim Henson’s journal and  is beautifully presented. Not to mention it’s part of a series alongside The Storyteller and The Dark Crystal, both of which are calling to my twitchy fingers.

Characterisation is, as to be expected, en pointe – my favourite is still the junk lady and the fireys still freak me out a little; the descriptions of familiar settings and scenes are wonderful, I particularly love everything in the goblin city; and Jareth is still, well, Jareth. Songs are replaced instead with dialogue and altered scenes, which I rather enjoyed and overall, I am incredibly happy with it.

If you like Labyrinth, do yourself a favour and read this book. If you don’t like Labyrinth but think you could, maybe, if not for all that singing, do yourself a favour and read this book. Heck, if you don’t like it anyway, read the book and you might find that you do!