Monday, January 4, 2016

The grand and glorious Ella Enchanted post ~ Cinderella Week

Hello, lovelies!  Here is a contribution to Heidi's epic Cinderella Week--I'm here to talk about the story of Ella Enchanted.


Let us jump right in, shall we?  Comparing the book and the movie, dontcha know.  Oh, and I watched the movie before I read the book.  (The order in which you experienced a story can have a great bearing on your opinions about it, can't it?)  Spoilers will be given free reign!!!

Now, Ella is not my favorite character, to be blunt.  She's okay, but she's a bit too…oh, what's the word…feisty isn't quite the thing…she's just a bit too--much for me.  Her personality doesn't jibe well with mine, and all that.  And she says practically everything she thinks (rather lacking in tact, what), which bothers me.  For instance, I know she sensed immediately that Hattie was insincere, and I know she was going through a lot at the reception to her mother's funeral (well, duh), but was it really necessary to say some of the frankly rude things she said to Hattie?  I submit that is was NOT.

But for all that, she has some strong points.  She befriends the unpopular, she's independent, and she sticks up for herself.

Given that I don't care for her that much as a character, I don't have a very strong opinion of which portrayal I prefer, book or movie.  I suppose, if I had to choose, I might like movie-Ella just slightly better, but that's probably because of Anne Hathaway.  So, yeah.  Movie-Ella also seems a wee bit calmer than book-Ella, if you get my drift.  Characters such as book-Ella make me feel kind of tense and defensive, but movie-Ella doesn't really do that to me.  Although…no, wait, scratch that.  They're about equal.  Gah, I don't know!  I'm indecisive.

Char, though…Char I like *girlish grin*  He's a sweetheart.  I love how kind he is to Ella, and how much he loves her.

As to which version of him I like better…hmm, that's a toughie.  Movie-Char is a bit more serious and more "British" (hehe), while book-Char is obviously younger and a little more playful.  Hugh Dancy does a pretty good job of bringing out book-Char's character while putting a bit of a spin on it.  Especially given the major deviations from the book's plot he had to deal with *ahem*

Since there's no Evil Uncle Edgar in the book, Char isn't having to take sides in some sociopolitical issue; he has, by all accounts, a good relationship with his father and his mother, and he's agreeable to the idea of being king.  I think I prefer book-Char, but movie-Char is nice too.  ("Well, I thought that maybe this might be a good time to possibly have a little heart-to-heart…but now I'm thinking maybe I should just come back when there's been a little less drinking.")

(Wow.  That right there is literary critique at its finest...NOT.)

In general, I much prefer the book to the movie.  I'm sure those of you who've watched movie can probably understand why ;P  It's not that I don't like the movie, because I do, on occasion and if I'm in the right mood for it.  The problem is, that occasion seldom comes, and I'm seldom in that mood.  Where the book is simply but elegantly written, the movie is frankly cheesy, not to mention the crudity of the humor.  (The ogres' costumes…just…enough said.)

The book, when I discovered it after watching the movie, quickly became my absolute favorite book for a time.  I was irrevocably in love.  In fact, during one week-long family vacation, I read it at least two or three times, and was on the verge of beginning my third or fourth re-read when my parents intervened.

The writing style isn't ornate, but it's good.  Kind of reminds me of Kirby Larson's Hattie Big Sky, actually, but sprinkled with a touch of the glitter that comes from writing about a fairytale.


By contrast, the movie is…well.  Where does one begin with the movie.  On the one hand, it's a colorful, quirky, clever twist on the story.  On the other hand, it's just a twist.  There is almost no resemblance to the book's story to be found in the movie.  Char and Ella are more or less the same, but other key characters are materially different.  Take Hattie--um, what?!  I mean, I get that she's at heart a terrible person, but she was subtly cruel, not blatantly rude.  And personally, I liked that better in the book.  Also, Ella's relationship with her father isn't good in the book, but in the movie they're the best of friends--a change I do like ;)  Mandy is a beautiful, young fairy, instead of the rather old friend/cook/mentor of the book.  Slannen is a main character, instead of a one-time acquaintance who's invited to Char and Ella's wedding.  And they also throw in a couple completely unprecedented characters:  the Bad Guy uncle, Edgar, and Mandy's trapped-in-a-book boyfriend, Benny.  I…don't really see the need for these changes, but…okay.  I don't mind when a movie is a bit different from the book, especially as, like with this story, I often watch the movie first, but this is rather "the bally limit."  Seriously.  

For all that, though, the movie does have some clever lines, some fun music, and it's mildly entertaining.  I really do enjoy it, when I'm in the mood for it.  (And I love Ella's wedding dress!  Before she…well, revamps it.)  It's got its strengths, and it's definitely got its weaknesses, let's just leave it at that, shall we?  

Here's this for you.

Hmm, what next…ooh, favorite parts?  

From the book, I absolutely LOVE the part at Sir Peter's and Lady Olga's wedding, when Char and Ella hide away and go exploring, and they find the slipper, and slide down the bannister.  IT'S JUST SO CUTE.  

From the movie…well, I have to say, I'm a sucker for big song-and-dance numbers at the close of a film, so I kind of like the end ;)  Even though it's silly and a bit *'hem* much, I gotta admit that I enjoy it.  

Final decision?  The book wins, hands down.  It's simple, intriguing, cozy, nostalgic, witty, and just generally delightful.  The movie has its strong points, but overall it's a bit too cheesy and at-times-crude for my taste *primly*

This is one of my very favorite stories (at least, book-wise), and I've enjoyed discussing it with you! :)  


Be sure to check out Heidi's blog for more awesome Cinderella goodness throughout the week!  Also, Hamlette is hosting a STUPENDOUS couple of giveaways, too.  I plan to be returning with tag answers and a review of the 1995 Sabrina over the next couple of days, but I may do something else as well if I can't contain my excitement ;)  




38 comments:

  1. Cinderella Week! Yayyy!!!

    I have only the vaguest familiarity with the story of Ella Enchanted--I mean, I know there's a princess and a fairy and a particular kind of curse and a chappie named Char, but that's all. For some reason, I never read the book--even though it was kind of a "big thing" back when I was in elementary school. Odd. Anyways.

    I do know just what you mean about those "blunt," kind of "rough" characters like Ella--after a while, you're just like "BLURGH. Just STOP it already." It gets wearing. If you know what I mean. Probably because we know we wouldn't enjoy interacting with that type of person in real life . . .

    It's the same way with me and Jo March in Little Women--I've never really LIKED her, even though I recognize her good points and all that. She just . . . Annoys Me.

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    1. I KNOW I'M SO THRILLED :)

      You should try it, Jessica! (I'm actually considering picking it sometime when it's my turn to pick in the book club.) It's really fun. Ella isn't technically a princess, but other than that, yeah ;)

      YES SISTER. And I know it's just that she rubs me the wrong way PERSONALLY, and there's nothing really WRONG with that kind of personality, but…yep.

      I know how you feel. I still love Jo, but she's certainly pretty different from me. And yes, she can be annoying :P

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    2. That would be great--I'm actually quite curious to read it, now! :-)

      Yeah. That's it, basically--it's a personality-clash-thing. They're just . . . Too Different. And (like you said), they certainly have a right to their own personality--but *I* also have a right to say, "well, that's NOT my favorite character right there." :-)

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    3. I think we should do it ;D

      Precisely! It's okay for personalities to rub each other the wrong way, as long as everybody remains respectful of everybody else.

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  2. Now look at your Cinderella blog make-over! It's lovely! (However, isn't your header from Swan Princess, not Cinderella? Haha, but I still LOVE it!)

    It's been so long since I read Ella Enchanted that all I can remember is that I really liked it, the book, when I was younger and rather irritated at the movie adaption. When the movie added the 'evil uncle', the random political mumbo-jumbo, and the cheap make-up (ohhh, those ogres, trolls...things are horrid! Hahaha!) and then also the wrong, as in seemingly incorrect, wardrobe that Ella has. Movie, really not a fav. But book, yes I did like it.

    Very nicely done, Olivia!

    Happy Cinderella week!
    ~Cordy

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    1. Thanks so much, Cordy! And yes, my header is from Swan Princess! I've been re-watching it recently, and I wanted a new header for January, so I went with it :D It's nice how it coincides with Cinderella Week!

      Yup. Pretty much, that's my take on it. Book is fabulous, movie is NOT ;)

      Thanks! And Happy Cinderella Week to you, too! :D

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  3. I absalutely MUST read the book now, but oh my goodness, do I have a lot to read. That's a good problem to have... The review was wonderful and highly entertaining. Bravo. :)

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    1. Laura, YES YOU MUST. I think you'll really like it :D

      Aww, thanks!

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  4. I so love this book. I need to read it again. :) I love how it's such a light, easy read and yet doesn't feel "young" in anyway. I never get tired of it!!
    Ahaha, yes the movie. I saw it once or twice when I was younger and then I think my parents caught on that it wasn't exactly the nicest movie and told me I couldn't watch it anymore. :P Judging from what I remember I think my parents made a good decision. The book is sooo much better. ;)

    Ohh, the banister scene is SO adorable!! And I love the ending quote. -sniff- So sweet!

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    1. EXACTLY, Natalie! "A light, easy read and yet doesn't feel 'young' in any way." It's such an awesome book, I want to go back through it and annotate my copy :D

      Hehehe. Yeah. There's nothing really inappropriate in it, but it's not my favorite.

      Isn't it, though?! THEY ARE SO CUTE.

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  5. Wonderful review, Olivia! :) (And oh, your bubbling-over-Cinderella-excitement just makes me grinningly happy. ;D)

    But hem! To the rest of business.

    Okay, this is one of those stories I've seen floating around seemingly forever and never read (or watched). Thanks to your wonderful thoroughness, the movie doesn't look like it'd exactly be my cuppa tea ;), but I'm most intrigued. AND that first quote (on the picture of Char leaning against the... something-I-can't-see-what-it-is-so-we'll-say-the-wall) is absolutely dee-lightful! Is it from the book??

    You really did an excellent job on this, Olivia. Reviewing something you have mixed feelings about -- clearly bringing across its weaknesses -- but overall with such a fresh exuberant feel. Well done!!

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    1. Thank you, Heidi! (Haha, yes. This Cinderella Week made me SOOOOOO happy :D)

      Yes, do try it, Heidi! Haha, p'raps not. I mean, there ARE cute parts in the movie; I do enjoy it OCCASIONALLY. Eeeeeeeep, isn't it?!?! (Haha, I think it's a fireplace, but I'm not completely sure.) Yes, I *cough* actually made most of the pictures in this post, because there's a shameful scarcity of pictures with book quotes, so I did quotes from the book coupled with pictures from the movie :) (I had too much fun, I think.)

      Aww, thanks so much! I really appreciate that :)

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  6. Good review..!!! I found the movie the same way as you. It was funny, but I'm not sure I could see myself watching it again. It was a bit cheesy, and weird, to be frank. Now the book... That is something I must try! AGH my TBR pile is growing bigger!!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Abigail! Yep, I agree. I do like watching the movie sometimes, but overall I just prefer the book :) Haha! YES YOU MUST.

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  7. I'll admit I actually rather like the movie. But then, I have never read the book so I wouldn't know that it wasn't true to it (until you told me). But if the book is so much better as you say, it truly must be brilliant.

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    1. Welllllll, since writing this, I've been reviewing my feelings on the movie, and I have to admit I actually do have a rather reluctant fondness for it. I still vastly prefer the book, but the movie is actually quite nice in parts. Maybe I should do a revision of this post ;P Ah, you should try the book, Rose! I think you'd like it :D

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  8. I've looked at this book (the beginning anyway), but I've never read the whole thing. I wasn't "drawn" towards Ella, really - I don't know why. Maybe because she's sort of harsh? Perhaps I should read the whole book and get her whole character. That was just my first impression, after all!

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    1. That's a good word to describe her, Rosie: she IS rather harsh. She's very blunt. And since I don't particularly like continual bluntness in characters, I just don't get very attached to her individually. But you should definitely read the whole book! It's delightful :)

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  9. Well, this sounds like a rather interesting story. I hear you about the crude humor, though. I can't stand crude humor. It's just too crude. You know?

    "I really do enjoy it, when I'm in the mood for it." Haha! But as you already told us that you're rarely in the mood for it, that's not very encouraging, Olivia! ;) Heehee.

    However, you did a very nice job on this review. And I have a feeling, from what you said about it, that I would most likely find the movie to be "a bit too cheesy and at-times-crude for my taste," too. Haha! *Primly* Yep, that would probably be me, too. ;)

    ~Miss March

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    1. "I can't stand crude humor. It's just too crude. You know?" Hahaha! Yes, I do know ;)

      Haha, yep, I can see why…in all seriousness, though, the movie really does have its good points. I think I should do some editing of this post xD

      Thank you! Yeah, mebbe so ;D

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  10. Great review, Olivia! It's been a long time since I've read the book, but I do remember liking it a lot more than the movie and the "sliding down the bannister" scene was my favorite also! Even though the Ella Enchanted movie is not my favorite, I've seen it quite a few times, lol. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Faith! Yep, same. I do watch/listen to the movie more than one would suppose after reading this. It's entertaining, but it's just that I prefer the book ;D

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  11. When I saw you pinning an Ella Enchanted pin on Pinterest, I was surprised, because I don't remember ever hearing of someone who liked Ella Enchanted(the movie). (Now it all makes sense that you were pinning it for this post.)

    I read the book once, and got permanently scared away from the movie after hearing so much negative feedback.

    Anyway, I completely understand what you mean about Ella. It drove me nuts whenever she acted spitefully or selfishly. Of course, that was probably the natural consequence of her circumstances, but Lily James's Cinderella was EXCEEDINGLY better. I mean, why do female heroines often have to be so distastefully sassy??? *ahem*

    Good review!

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    1. Oh, and lovely picks for the pictures. :D

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    2. Oh oh, you should give the movie a try. It's sweet and ridiculous and cornball ... but everyone needs this sort of pure extract of silliness in their lives at least once! :)

      I love the movie... so now you've heard of someone liking Ella Enchanted the movie! ;)

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    5. Meredith, haha! Yeah, I'm not the HUGEST fan of the movie. But it is cute; probably worth a try, at least.

      I KNOW. A Cinderella doesn't have to be a doormat, but she doesn't have to be rude and bitter, either. Thanks so much!

      Haha, and as Jenelle said, the movie IS "sweet and ridiculous and cornball", but it really does have its strengths.

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  12. Great review, I've never read the book (probably should) but love the film - it always reminds me of a pantomime, so cheesy :) Strange that the book boyfriend's not in the book though, I always thought he must have been an important character from the book that just wasn't explained properly in the film. He's so random.

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    1. Haha, thanks, Catherine! You should try the book! I know! "Random" is such a good word for Benny. He's just kind of…there. (Though he and Mandy do have some funny lines. "I would have left her ages ago, except I love her so darn much, plus I have no legs.")

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  13. I need to read the book. I watched the movie for the first time last year and enjoyed it for the most part... it's pretty goofy but fun. :)

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    1. Lois, I'd agree with you there. Goofy, but still an enjoyable romp once in a while :D

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  14. I really enjoyed your side-by-side comparison of book and movie. Seeing as how I pretty much completely separate the two as entirely different stories inside my own head, I do not think I could have written anywhere near as good of a comparison. I really need to go reread the book.

    I kind of love the movie... though I couldn't tell you exactly why. I kind of love ridiculous, cheesy, over-the-top silliness every now and then... and it's not hard for me to be in the mood for that - especially if I can get it in a form as clean and sweet as this movie. This kind of silliness is usually accompanied by far too many cringe-worthy moments and "AH!! TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!" type moments, that when it can be found without them, I just have to snatch it up and hug it forever.

    :-D

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    1. Thanks so much, Jenelle! (And for the record, I really liked your review of the movie!)

      You know, I think I came across too harshly for this movie in this post (is that even grammatically legitimate??). I do actually like it, I just LOVE the book so much that I'm more lukewarm about the movie. But the cast is great, and I love the music! Ahh, I hear you about corny humor. I'm still trying to figure out what I like cornball-wise: it's almost as though I like a lot of super cheesy movies (like John Carter), as long as they're pretending to be serious! Isn't that ridiculous?! I mean, I recognize that it's better if a movie doesn't take itself too seriously, so why don't I enjoy those kinds of movies more? Ah, well. Anyway, I do really like this movie…sometimes ;P

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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  15. I'm really going to have to read this book, aren't I? Am I correct in thinking there's a sequel or two as well? Have you read those? My son is nuts about everything fairy tale right now, and has no qualms about reading about girl characters, so I'm thinking he might get a kick out of this book (series?).

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    1. Indeed you are, Hamlette! I don't think it has any sequels--at least, none that I've ever heard of. Gail Carson Levine does write a lot of similar books, though; lots of tween fantasy that's entertaining and clean (as far as I know). I think your son would really like it! Ella is definitely NOT a girly-girl, and it's such a fun book.

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    2. Well, how's this for a coincidence? I spotted a copy of a different Gail Carson Levine on the for-sale shelves at the library: Cinderellis and the Glass Hill. Looks to be for younger readers, but it's about a boy instead of a girl and looks very cute. I plan to read it aloud to my kids once we finish A Cricket in Times Square.

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    3. I haven't read Cinderellis yet, but I have heard of it. Oh, oh, ACiTS! I LOVED that book; need to reread it soon! :D

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