The book is always better than the movie, right? But sometimes I find that it’s not just better. It’s outright wildly different.
Personally, the most interesting cases I find are original fairytales. All of us have probably seen Disney’s version of them somewhere close to a hundred times each. ;) But haven’t you ever wanted to know what the original Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or Cinderella was like? Okay, so maybe that’s just me. You might be interested, however, to know how different they are and what we lost in translation.
The differences can be quite amusing in their weirdness. The older and more obscure version of Cinderella sports a number of unique moments. For instance, she didn’t just have two wicked sister. She had a Cyclops and a Triclops for sisters. The Cinderella character’s name is actually “Two Eyes.” She was very common looking. ;) “Beauty” from Beauty and the Beast, wasn’t an only child taking care of her father. She was the youngest of six children, several of whom are turned to statues by the end of the story.
Often the most striking difference is the motivation and desires of the main characters. A fairy godmother didn’t show up to give Cinderella a beautiful dress just in time for the dance. She came to provide her with food. Cinderella, as it turns out, was starving to death. And the Little Mermaid didn’t want to become a human because a prince was waiting for her on the beach. She was distraught over the fact that humans can go to heaven when they died whereas mermaids became nothing more than sea foam.
I can naturally see why Disney changed things. After all, singing mice probably work a whole lot better than the goat in the real Cinderella story…Let’s just say he didn’t make it to the end. And it’s much nicer to say the price for the Little Mermaid to achieve two legs was simply her voice…Instead of severe pain with every step. But too often when changes were made the point of the original stories was lost in the hustle of all those colorful ball gowns.
“Love conquers all” is never really the issue. “Happily-ever-after” in the sense we say it today actually seems vacant next to the originals.
The real Beauty and the Beast ends with the line, “and their happiness, as it was founded on virtue, was complete.” The Little Mermaid’s happiness only comes when the angels whisk her away to heaven.
As for “Cinderella?” Well, going off to the live in the castle with the prince is not the end of the story. Before the final page could turn she forgave her sisters for all the horrible things they’d done and took them to live in the palace with her. Only then, could she really say, “And they lived happily ever after.”