Cinderella vs Ella Enchanted The tale of Cinderella has been heard and read for many generations. The idea of rags to riches has appealed to countless readers through varying accounts. The plot of Cinderella has become a traditional theme. Through different cultures and eras the theme has seen many copies, remakes, twists and views in literature, theater and film. Today’s era of blended families and conflicts in class statuses may be why Cinderella has been a classic. One of those twists is seen in the film Ella Enchanted. Ella Enchanted is not the same story, Cinderella redone, but has similar theme with varying differences.
A version of Cinderella has been written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The brothers collected and researched folk tales early in the 19th century in Germany at a time of the French invasion under Napoleon in an effort to preserve the folklore stories. The brothers “are recognized as pioneers in the field of folklore research” (O’Niell). Although it was not their original intention, the brothers became famous children’s literature writers. Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau, Germany. Jacob was born on January 4, 1785 and Wilhelm on February 24, 1786 to Philipp Wilhelm and Dorothea Grimm (Ashliman).
The brothers’ upbringing began in a middle class lifestyle. Things drastically changed upon the death of their father in 1796. With financial assistance from an aunt Jacob and Wilhelm move to Kassel to attend Lyzeum. They proved themselves through hard work and ten hours a day studying. Sharing the same quarters, the long hours of immersing themselves in their studies was in effort to cope with loneliness and enduring social slights. Both brothers graduated head of their class. Wilhelm, already in poor health, suffered under the strict educational schedule. He struggled with bouts of asthma (O’Niell).
In 1808 the brothers lost their mother leaving Jacob and Wilhelm to manage family matters and provide for their siblings (Tartar 391). Jacob accepted a position as a librarian in Kassel and Wilhelm soon joined him. It is during this time that the brothers began collecting folklore. In 1812 their first volume, Children’s and Household Tales, is published. Wilhelm passed away at the age of 73 in December 1859 followed by Jacob in September 1863 at the age of 78 (Ashliman). Their stories have been redone and retold many times over. One such story line is seen in the movie Ella Enchanted, financed by Miramax films and directed by Tommy O’Haver.
Tommy O’Haver, born October 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana, began his career making Super-8 movies at a young age (IMDb. com: Tommy O’Haver). Studying journalism, he intended to become an art critic and moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to work in the film industry. He began in the mailroom at New Line and worked his way up to video publicity. During his studies at University of Southern California, he made several short films that were shown at film festivals that received positive responses. He directed Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss in 1998 and Get Over It in 2001 before directing Ella Enchanted in 2004 (“Tommy O’Haver”).
He continues to direct with six more features under his credit up to his most recent film, An American Crime, in 2007. Miramax Films, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, backed the production of Ella Enchanted. The company was founded by the Weinstein brothers, Bob and Harvey, in 1979. In 1993 they sold Miramax to the Disney company “for the greater stability that outside funding would bring” (Uhle). The company would still remain in New York but films would be distributed through Buena Vista, another subsidiary of Disney.
In 2005 they left and formed their own company but Miramax remained a part of Disney. The story of Cinderella opens with the death of her mother and the grief she feels of her loss. Soon her father remarries a woman with two daughters. Although the daughters were beautiful on the outside, on the inside they were not. Cinderella was soon forced into a life of domestic servitude. A branch received from her father that she requested grows into a beautiful tree after her tears of sorrow water it. The little bird that sits in the tree is somehow magical as it gives Cinderella what she wishes.
Upon learning of the three day festival where the prince is to choose a bride, she begs her stepmother to go but is refused. With the assistance of the bird Cinderella attends the event. Her identity is not revealed so the price does not know who she is. Captivated by her, he attempts to find her after her abrupt departure with one gold-covered slipper left behind. The tell tale doves inform the prince of each stepsister’s falsehood until he comes to Cinderella. The slipper fits perfectly and he recognizes the girl as his true love. Confirmed by the little doves, the prince marries Cinderella (Grimm).
This version by the Grimm Bothers does not give a specific time or place setting but being a folklore tale one can assume it was in a time long past were the idea of courtship and romance was different than in today’s world. The plot’s rising action began with an invitation to a three day festival where the price is to choose a bride. Cinderella wishes to go but was given the task of sorting lintels not once but twice which she accomplished with the aid of little birds. Even though the chore was completed Cinderella was refused to attend the festival by her stepmother.
The bird in the tree over her mother’s grave gave Cinderella clothes, one outfit each day, with each one more beautiful than the previous. She attended the festival where all admire her and the price is entranced by her beauty. Each day of her departure the price tries to find out who she is but she is able to elude him. On the last day she lost a slipper and the price declares he will marry the woman whom the slipper fits. The drastic measures the stepsisters execute were revealed to the price by the bird in the tree. The climax happens when Cinderella tied on the slipper and it fit. In the same moment the prince had an epiphany.
He recognized her as the beautiful girl he danced with. In conclusion the price married her and at the wedding the stepsisters’ eyes were pecked out by doves as punishment when they tried to gain favor with Cinderella to share in her good fortune (Grimm). Depending on what the reader views in the story, each can come out with a different moral. The standard would be good will triumph over evil or goodness is rewarded while evil is punished. On a more humorous side, always be nice to your siblings because you never know if they are ever going to be richer than you. These morals are a little different then the movie Ella Enchanted.
In the film Ella Enchanted the story begins with the birth of Ella and the gift, obedience, which is bestowed upon her by her fairy godmother, Lucinda. As Ella grows up she is plagued by the gift of obeying everything that she is told to do. Her father remarries after her mother passes away. Fed up with being at everyone’s will but her own, especially her stepmother and two stepsisters, she sets off to find Lucinda to take back the gift. With her traveling companions, a talking book and an elf she met along the way, her adventure has her outwitting magical creatures and unscrupulous characters in her goal to gain control of life.
At one point she just misses her fairy godmother at a Giant’s wedding reception. Along the way she crosses paths with the kingdom’s idol worshiped prince, Prince Charmont, who accompanies Ella on her journey and along the way they fall in love. Avoiding letting the prince know she must obey what she is told to do, she is determined find her fairy godmother and gain control over her own self. Fighting off the drive to kill the prince, ordered by his greedy evil uncle, Ella is able to break free of the cursed gift. She discovers what is inside her is stronger than any spell (Ella Enchanted).
In the film’s establishing shot the camera has the viewer seeing through its eye gliding through an ached bell tower high above a little middle ages town and soaring over the countryside; cottages with straw roofs, green meadows spotted with patches of thick forests and fields of ripening vegetables. Color was throughout the film from backgrounds to the characters clothing. The story was mostly told by a narrator who spoke in rhyming verses that gave the viewer his point of view and through Ella’s. Background music was used when Ella’s new stepmother arrived at the home that gave the essence of upper class, elegance and pose.
When Mandy showed Ella her boyfriend, Benny who was a book, light aired twinkling could be heard that emphasized magic was involved. Many cuts and intercuts were used in varying scenes. The first ones were used early in the film of Ella at her dying mother’s bedside with close-ups to show the feeling each charter was having during the conversation as well as Ella obeying. Several cuts were in the scene of a school class debate and some close-ups from Hattie to Ella as each spoke and Areida’s, Ella best friend, facial expressions. A humorous cut was employed as Ells was standing ext to a poison ivy patch when she was told to pick some flowers for a “family photo” then cut to the next day of her stepmother and stepsisters covered in an itching rash with Eritha Franklin’s song Respect as the background music. Another cut that showed different viewpoints was applied as the viewer seen Prince Char and Ella on horseback riding up a hillside then cut to what they were seeing, enslaved giants laboring in the vegetable field. In the scene at a giant’s wedding reception and near the film’s end at the coronation ceremony many cuts were used showing different angles of characters, dancers, Ella and the prince.
A tracking shot was used, viewed from above, of Ella leaving through a back door of her home first viewed close then track away widening the shot to see Ella walk down the sidewalk. Another was of Prince Charmont sitting in a throne style chair close-up then the camera tracked away down the isle at the coronation ceremony filling the view of his audience. Other than the film’s shots it throws in some real life issues. The film has some integrity as it does deal with some serious problems. The main plot focused on Ella trying to find Lucinda to take back the gift of obedience.
A subplot dealt with the bad conditions that many of the magical beings in the kingdom had to live under. Racial prejudice and segregation is a timeless subject and is still dealt with to date. Many of differing backgrounds and heritages are mistreated and cast aside. A believable solution is a person with political power can change the laws of the land as Price Charmont could when he became king. But the movie was not a whole lot true to life. A moral to the story is find the inner strength and courage inside you and with them you can change your world; we have the power to change within ourselves.
Another moral is that you shouldn’t have to always do what people tell you and be yourself, no matter what anyone else tells you to be. Being a fairytale Ella Enchanted does violate probability with magical flying fairies, gift curses, talking snake and book. The movie contained many stereotypes of flesh hungry ogres, dancing and singing elves, greedy schemers, ignorant handsome royalty, ninja fighting, sneaky snake and rock concert teen idol worshiping females. There were also a couple of references to the Grimm Brothers and their fairytales. Cinderella and Ella Enchanted bear some resemblances.
A beautiful young maiden, treated badly by her family, is assisted by magic to obtain a goal. She is upgraded to a stately position by a person of royalty and is loved for her own good qualities (Kennedy). The young prince is depicted as handsome and genuinely kind. Similarities aside, Ella is a Cinderella of the twentieth century. “Suppose Picasso had decided during his Cubist period to paint the Cinderella story. The familiar elements — the heroine, her sinister stepfamily, Prince Charming, the glass slipper — would be on the canvas somewhere, but tipped over and looking freaky.
Something similar goes on in “Ella Enchanted,” a lively deconstruction of the hoary fairy tale. ”(Stein). Unlike Cinderella who wants the handsome prince Ella is a headstrong woman who refuses to swoon over a charming prince (movies. com). She is not a wish only kind of person. Both protagonists obey orders; Cinderella does so willingly where as Ella does so unwillingly but must due to her gift. Both have the same antagonist; evil controlling stepmother and cruel stepsisters. Ella Enchanted goes further with including dealing with a greedy scheming uncle and his equally sneaking sidekick snake.
Cinderella receives aid to be no longer taken advantage of where as Ella takes it upon herself to do something about it. “A glass slipper comes into play — not in its traditional guise as a way to take the measure of the true Cinderella — but as an item for sale at a local bazaar” (Stein). Ella Enchanted is more of a modern take than the Cinderella princess fairy tale. Each story entertains an audience of their time. Cinderella is a more charming non-humorous attraction with beautiful gowns, little doves and a hazel tree as compared to Ella Enchanted that is riddled with comedy and modern references.
The combination of a magical world with wand wielding fairies, elves, giants, ogres and twentieth century pop culture humor gives the film a spellbinding appeal. The film incorporates a teen idol worship type culture with scenes of screaming maidens swooning over the dashing prince. There are pictures and posters in “Medieval teen” (magazine in film) and going to the “Middle Ages mall”. Ella Enchanted gives a present day twist to the rags to riches idea. Cinderella is one of the most recognized tales and the theme appears in stories of many cultures.
It has inspired countless books, films, and dreams of young girls. The crosses of blended families and conflicts of classes through generations may be why the story has been a classic. Cited Works Ashliman, D L. Grimm Brothers’ Home Page. 2009. University of Pittsburgh. 3 July 2009 . Ella Enchanted. Dir. Tommy O’Haver. Perf. Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. 2004. DVD. Miramax Films. Grimm, Jacob, and Wilhelm Grimm. The Annotated Brothers Grimm. Trans. Maria Tartar. New York: W. W Nortoin & Company, Ltd, 2004. IMDb. com: Tommy O’Haver. IMDb. com, Inc. 6 July 2009 . Kennedy, Elizabeth. Cinderella, Cinderella: Online Resources. ” About. com:Children’s Books. 20 June 2009 . O’Niell, Thomas. “Guardians of the Fairy Tale: The Brothers Grimm. ” Grimms Fairy Tales. 1999. National Geographic. 5 July 2009 Stein, Ruthe. “‘Ella Enchanted’ is not your grandmother’s Cinderella. ” SFGate. 9 Apr. 2004. 22 June 2009 . “Synopses for Ella Enchanted (2004). ” Mooviees. 2002. 22 June 2009 . “Tommy O’Haver. ” Hollywood. com: Tommy O’Haver. Hollywood. com, LLC. 6 July 2009 . Uhle, Frank. “Miramax Film Corporation. ” BNET. 1993. CBS Interactive Inc. 6 July 2009 .
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