Everything seems to be going according to plan in Fairy Tale Land, where all the well-known fairytales are ending happily in their usual way. This ideal state of affairs is controlled by a Wizard (voiced by George Carlin), master of the scales of good and evil. He makes sure that fairytales do end happily ever after. When the Wizard goes on holiday, his assistants Munk (Wallace Shawn) and Mambo (Andy Dick) take over his task and all goes terribly wrong.
Frieda (Sigourney Weaver), the evil stepmother of Ella, a.k.a. Cinderella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), gets hold of the Wizard’s magic staff and proceeds to turn Fairy Tale Land upside down. All the happy endings become unhappy. The bad characters win and come to the castle to party and create chaos.
Ella is in love with the handsome prince, but his servant, Rick, is secretly in love with Ella. Rick seizes the opportunty to restore order so he can prove himself and win Ella’s heart. Ella, however, believes that only the prince can save them. Through the course of their adventure, she learns that you don’t need to wait for a hero – you need to believe in yourself and your friends.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
None of concern
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
In one scene, there is a battle between the seven dwarves, Ella, Munk and Mambo on one side, and villains from fairy stories on the other. In another scene, the wicked stepmother attacks Jack, Ella, Munk and Mambo with the Wizard’s staff.
Content that may disturb children
Some of the following scenes could disturb children in this age group:
- Some characters from well-known fairy tales, including the Big Bad Wolf, other wolves and various monsters might be scary for young children.
- Rumplestiltskin, seen as a menacing shadow, takes a baby away from its mother.
- When Ella is walking in the woods with Mambo and Munk, there are scary sounds and noises. They are chased by big scary wolves with large teeth.
- All the wolves and monsters get together to attack the seven dwarves, Ella, Munk and Mambo. They are nearly caught but reach the safety of the dwarves’ house just in time.
- Ella, Munk and Mambo are attacked by the wicked stepmother who is holding the wizard’s staff. It appears that they have defeated her when she falls into a big pit but she comes back to attack them.
- When the stepmother gains control of the wizard’s staff she summons all the baddies to the castle. Some of them look quite frightening.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
In one party scene, it appears that the animals are drinking alcohol, although this may not be clear to young children.
Nudity and sexual activity
There are scenes where Cinderella imagines kissing the prince. She also kisses Rick. This is very mild and not obviously sexual. Some female characters have exaggerated hourglass figures and display cleavage.
Although this movie contains no coarse language, it does include some infrequent put-downs.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Happily N’Ever After is an animated adventure comedy featuring many familiar fairytale characters. The message of this movie is that life is an adventure and that just living ‘happily ever after’ is really quite boring. It also suggests that rather than waiting for a hero to come along and save you, you should believe in yourself and take action.