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The Truth of "Once Upon a Time"

Ever AfterI really enjoyed the movie Ever After when it first came out, and this past week, when I saw that it was available for streaming on Netflix, I was excited to watch it again.  I remembered it as a fairly fluffy, feel-good movie with some funny parts, and when rewatching it, I wasn't disappointed--it did make me feel good, and I once again chuckled at the exchanges between the step-sister Jacqueline and the Captain of the Guard.  I was also pleasantly surprised--while it is a feel-good movie, it is more than just fluff, since Danielle (the Cinderella figure) is very much an agent of her own change.  She doesn't just sit around waiting for Prince Henry to rescue her; she, in fact, is the one who is the rescuer, with one of the opening scenes in the movie being her rescue of a servant who is about to be shipped off to the Americas.

But what intrigued me most about the movie this time was the frame for the Cinderella story.  Instead of starting with the fairy tale itself, the movie starts with the Brothers Grimm visiting the Grande Dame of France to discuss their latest collection of tales.  The Grande Dame criticizes their version of the story, asking if they would permit her to "set the record straight"--she then tells the story of her great-great-grandmother, Danielle de Barbarac, who was the real Cinderella.  The movie then cuts to the story of Cinderella within the frame, which takes up the majority of the movie, but at the end we once again return to the frame.  The Grande Dame tells the Brothers Grimm that while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, "the point, gentlemen, is that they lived."

Really?  That's the point?


"Happy ever after... is a choice."

The Snow Queen's ShadowSo the thing is, Fantasy Matters is a PG-13 site. And, really, I know a great many words. Quintessence. Sinople. Petrichor. Shenanigan. Lollygag. So one might think I could be more genteel in my assessment. But if I could, I would give you a three word review of The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines that would read something like this: So. Frakking. Good.


BSFME Contestant #6: Blade Runner: The Final Cut

We are nearing the end of Best Science Fiction Movie Ever (BSFME) Week, and we've read some very compelling arguments for The Fifth Element, Back to the Future II, The Empire Strikes Back, The Wrath of Khan, and The MatrixToday, Jen Miller brings us our final contestant--Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

Blade RunnerWithout any question, Blade Runner: The Final Cut is the best science fiction movie of all time.  For starters, it contains the best movie quotation ever:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

The imagery of Roy Batty's words is so beautiful, so peaceful, and so sad--it's a rare quotation that is all of these things at once.


BSFME Contestant #5: The Matrix

If you're just joining us, this week is "Best Science Fiction Movie Ever" Week here at Fantasy Matters.  You can read about the other contestants here; in this post, Adam Miller makes a case for his favorite--The Matrix.

The MatrixWill you take the red pill or the blue pill? 

Even thought it's been more than 10 years since The Matrix was released, this concept still shows up regularly in TV shows, books, and everday conversations.  Sure, 10 years might not seem like that much, but these days, when you consider how much the world as we actually know it has changed in the last decade, for a movie to continue to be a plausible vision of the future is a remarkable feat.  Science fiction movies don't tend to withstand the test of time.  Vangelis' electronic soundtrack for Blade Runner starts to sound a bit tinny, and The Planet of the Apes looks like an unfortunate costume party.  The Matrix, on the other hand, seems more and more possible in an age where the line between physical and digital reality becomes ever more difficult to distinguish.  While many films have taglines that catch on, this one is different because it alludes to the fundamentally different way that The Matrix made us think about reality.


BSFME Contestant #4: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

So far this week, The Fifth Element, Back to the Future II, and The Empire Strikes Back have all been nominated for the glorious title of "Best Science Fiction Movie Ever." Today, Damien Walter makes his case for another contestant--Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanIn my regular blog for The Guardian, I'm on record as saying that there are only two truly great science fiction movies. These are, of course, 2001 and Bladerunner. And if I think about science fiction as a 'genre of ideas' then I stand by that statement. No other SF movie even comes close to the vision of these two.

But. I have a confession to make. There are other SF movies that I love rather a lot, even though they have none of the philosophical depth of truly great SF. And when it comes to SF movies lacking any philosophical depth, there are none greater than the greatest of all Star Trek movies...Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan.



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