HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER
Release Date: January 05, 2007
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: Paul J. Bolger
Executive Producer: Rainer Soehnlein
Producer: John H. Williams
Writer: Rob Moreland
Address Comments To:John Feltheimer and Peter E. Strauss
AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200
Fax: (310) 255-3870
Unlike the first SHREK, which introduces its main character in a series of humorous visual situations, HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER starts off slowly in a talky fashion as Rick, the personal valet and dishwasher to Prince Humperdink, sets up the story. The wizard who makes sure that all the stories in Fairytale Land have a happy ending and that good always triumphs over evil, takes a golf vacation in Scotland. His two dimwitted assistants goof up, of course, and Cinderella's evil stepmother, Frieda, steals the wizard's staff that controls the balance between Good and Evil. Using the staff, she makes sure that all the bad guys start winning. Hence, the wolf eats Little Red Riding Hood, the Prince in "Sleeping Beauty" falls asleep when he kisses her, and Rumpelstiltskin successfully steals the baby.
Meanwhile, Prince Humperdink, with glass slipper in hand, goes off in search of Cinderella, whom he doesn't recognize because her beautiful dress has been replaced by her dirty clothes well before midnight. Cinderella thinks the clueless Prince is her ideal mate, but the Prince's wisecracking valet, Rick, is actually the one who really loves her. He reluctantly agrees to help Cinderella find the Prince so he can restore order throughout the land. Cinderella's evil stepmother, however, has other plans for them all.
Once HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER gets going, it has some humorous, adventurous elements. One of the best bits was about the seven dwarves in "Snow White," who turn out to be commando survivalists with a nifty plan for taking out bad guys. The rest of the story, characters and jokes, however, are not up to the highest quality that moviegoers deserve these days at today's high movie ticket prices.
A big worldview problem with HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER is that there's a lot of talk about maintaining "the balance between good and evil." This is a false, inadequate and aberrant description of the origin and nature of good and evil. Of course, the biblical position is that God is the source of all goodness because goodness is an essential part of His all-powerful, divine nature and character. Hence, as St. Augustine and other great Christian theologians and philosophers* have argued, evil is the absence and negation of God's goodness, including his Love and Justice. There can be no "balance" between good and evil, therefore, because of God and His very existence or Being, including his benevolent divine character.
It is interesting, and really quite profound, to note that, even this little movie, which is being marketed to children and families, tells viewers that the universe and we human beings really need a Supreme Being, omnipotent person or Eternal Mind with supernatural, miraculous and/or magical powers to ensure (with metaphysical certainty) that good will eventually triumph over evil. Thus, although HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER talks about "the balance between good and evil," it also points to the fact of the all-loving, all powerful God, who, through Jesus Christ and His Gospel, will "cut off" the wicked and lift up the righteous (Psalm 75:10). As the Apostle Paul notes about God in Acts 17:28-31, "In Him we live and move and have our Being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are His offspring.' Therefore, since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man [Jesus Christ] He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
Finally, there is a song lyric during this movie that has unexpectedly profound and provocative messages. In the lyric, the singer asks, "Will I get what I want? Will I want what I get?" This lyric shows clearly that personal desires and feelings are not always reliable, positive things. In the movie, Cinderella thinks handsome Prince Humperdink is the man for her. The movie's hero, Rick (an allusion to Humphrey Bogart's brilliantly portrayed conflicted hero in CASABLANCA, also named Rick), informs her that the Prince is not exactly what she thinks he is. Cinderella is clearly attracted to Rick and begins to question her desires and feelings. Parents can use this lyric and theme to remind their children not to put their trust in their own desires and feelings, or even in other human beings, but to put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ, because "there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live" (1 Cor. 8:6).
All in all, because of the movie's worldview problems, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children. We note, however, that, although the movie features a "wizard," the witches in the story are evil, contingent creatures who serve the wicked stepmother. Perhaps some misguided feminists will think HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER is too "patriarchal." If so, then that's another point in the movie's favor.
* All Christian theologians are actually also philosophers. Furthermore, all right-thinking, right-living, Bible-believing Christians have a biblical theology and biblical worldview that is also a biblical philosophy about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, good and evil, human anthropology and human psychology, eschatology or End Times doctrine, salvation, redemption, sanctification, transcendent and eternal moral values, politics, economics, etc.
Once HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER gets going, it has some humorous, adventurous elements that are entertaining, but not enough to really satisfy moviegoers. The movie also has some worldview problems. Although it shows viewers that they need a Supreme Being with supernatural, miraculous and/or magical powers to ensure that good will eventually triumph over evil, it often talks about "the balance between good and evil." This is a false dualistic notion that contradicts the truth of Scripture. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for pre-teens.