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Deconstructing fairy tales

Published : Thursday, 15 February, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 50
Ashley Shoptorshi Samaddar

Fairy tales have always been the very first entertaining element for children. Even my own sister dreams of becoming Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Elsa and Rapunzel. But, all these pen-and-paper characters represent a long, ongoing process of standards regarding beauty, wealth and gender roles which tend to 'otherize' people who do not fit the standardization.
Stereotypical construction of fairy tales has long deceived the mass and manipulated their free will, letting these notions control personal enlightenment and consent. However, some fairy tales, recently remade into films, have broken the classic concept and deconstructed the stories.

The story of Rapunzel, retold as Tangled in 2010, became an example as it changed the whole story of a captive princess locked up in a tower into a runaway who broke free of her prison. She ran away not with a prince, but a thief, Flynn Rider, who came seeking shelter from the court guards.
Casting Mandy Moore as Rapunzel and Zachary Levi as Eugene "Flynn Rider" Fitzherbert, this runaway princess does not hesitate to party with thugs during her escapade. This girl paints and cooks, but also knows how to use a cooking pan for self defence.
Finally she rescues her lover instead of waiting for the prince to come for her as was narrated in the original story. Her magical hair was chopped off by Flynn, but it turns out that her tears have healing powers too.

"I am not a princess; I am just the daughter of the Chief," these words broke the hierarchy dominance and eliminated the concept of every female Disney protagonist being a princess. Neither is Moana's skin white as snow; nor does she have golden hair. Her passion is to become a sea voyager, like her distant ancestors. She sets off to find Maui, the demigod who stole the goddess Te Fiti's pounamu stone, her heart and the source of her power, stopping sea voyages forever.
This 56th Disney animation production, released in 2016, introduces Auli'i Cravalho as Moana and features the voices of Dwayne Johnson (Maui), Rachel House (Tala), Temuera Morrison (Tui), and Jemaine Clement (Tamatoa). The names are as unique as the representations of ethnic Polynesian characters, not commonly found in Hollywood's fairytale adaptations.
Along with Pocahontas and Mulan, Moana became an iconic dark skinned female protagonist gracing the Disney screen. Moana is not rescued by any prince charming. Instead, she goes to rescue Maui, who has been hiding after his theft. She turns out to be the chosen one who is destined to put a lot of wrongs to right. She eventually succeeds, despite not being a princess or having a Barbie doll figure.

The most critiqued deconstruction of the classic fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" was released in 2014 -- Maleficent. Starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley as King Stefan, Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora (the Sleeping Beauty) and Sam Riley as Diaval, this film tells the story of an anti-hero Maleficent, who once was a fairy but later becomes a witch.
Maleficent lived in the dark forests. Aurora's father had betrayed her love and cut off her wings, taking away her powers forever. Out of anger, she cursed the king's daughter. She later repented, morosely saying, "Even I cannot take my curse away." She looked out for the princess and tried to protect her. She became Aurora's friend and later went off to rescue her from the curse.
Therefore, a prince charming is no longer a requirement for great fairy tales. Also, apparently the "evil" saves the day!

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