Fairy Tales Change Movies

by Markella Giannakopoulos, staff reporter

Tinker Bell from Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Drawn by Markella Giannakopoulos.

Tinker Bell from Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Drawn by Markella Giannakopoulos.

“Mommy, can you tell me a story?” “Okay. Once upon a time… there lived an unhappy young girl…” So goes the story of Cinderella who through wishing, she wins her desired Prince Charming. That’s the dream of every little girl: a knight in shining armor who will carry her into the future. This theme has become apparent in today’s culture. Society is clamoring for happy endings on which they could base their hopes and dreams on. Of course, fairy tales aren’t just words in a story that ends happily. Woven through the story are morals and lessons that teach you important ideas about growing up in life.

“Fairy tales teach us to believe in magic and be aware of the danger that lurks in everyday circumstances,” 11th grade English teacher Ms. DeStefano said.

Though the background for the  lessons may have become outdated in recent times, the movie industries have reworked them into becoming relevant to our advanced lifestyles.

For example, the movie Beastly, directed by Daniel Barnz in 2011, is a  tale that is directly based off of Beauty and the Beast, but set in modern times. The universal theme of not judging a book by its cover is shown here in a way that the audience could connect to, rather than just being swayed by pretty songs in Disney’s’ version of Beauty and the Beast.

The morals displayed in each tale become key themes in movies, books, sometimes even everyday life. Fairy tales are fundamentally the building blocks of movies.

“A lot of the fantasy or sci- fi movies had their roots in fairy tales. They took the popular fairy tales and turned them into movies,” freshman Emmanuel Giannakopoulos said.

Walt Disney was a huge example of this. The original Disney princesses started out on paper and were transformed into movies that were suitable for young kids and could transmit them lessons.

According to the article, The Moral of the Story by Alice Abler, fairy tales originally circulated from the far ends of the earth by travelers and merchants. They were bound in books and embellished later on by various authors: the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, etc.

Fairy tales were created to make children aware of the world in new and realistic ways. Parents told their children about the story of Peter and the Wolf in order to make them understand the dangers of lying. Little Red Riding Hood made little girls conscious of the dangers of the forest and to be less naive about the world.

Parents used these bedtime stories to help their children grow up with the hope that they didn’t lose their childhood in the process.

“We talk about what we read, if we agree with the overt messages, and how we can connect them to our lives,” parent of a 3rd grader Ms. Sackstein said.

Movies relied on the morals represented in them to teach their young audience the results of certain actions.

“Fairy tales taught me that even though you are small, you can do anything,” 6th grader Liana Mamone said.

Fairy tales are a huge part of children’s lives, from bedtime stories to watching movies. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”


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