A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that early in the movie Snow White's beautiful, good-hearted mother dies. One cough and seconds later, her eyes close and she's dead. Snow White weeps and grieves by the coffin. The traditional poisoned apple is no longer "poison." It has been modified so that taking "the bite" now makes Snow White rude and selfish. The evil step-mother-to-be tries to get rid of Snow White, but there is never any serious threat. All of the action is cartoony: clouds of smoke, explosions, pratfalls. No one is injured.
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What's the story?
In this sequel to Happily N'Ever After, the filmmakers have turned to traditional favorite princess Snow White and turned her into a typical teenager. "Snow," as her father the King calls her, loves clothes, makeup, clubbing, shopping, and hanging out with her friends (a multi-ethnic trio of Bo Peep, Goldilocks, and Red Riding Hood). Her father, worried about his daughter's self-centered ways, sets out to find her a mother. But his good intentions blind him to the true nature of the two-faced Lady Vain whom he decides to marry. Snow White joins with her friends from Fairytale Land, including the Seven Dwarfs, the Three Pigs, as well as newcomers Munk and Mambo from the original, as she rescues her father, the kingdom, and herself from the clutches of the evil Lady Vain. Along the way "Snow" learns an important lesson about the real meaning of beauty.
Is it any good?
HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER 2 is basically a harmless entry into the direct-to-DVD stock of children's fare. Unfortunately, it's also a charmless entry. The message is good, but it's delivered in a heavy-handed, obvious way. Many elements of the traditional Snow White tale have been changed, some with an eye toward minimizing the scariest parts and broadening the ethnic flavor that's more desirous today, but it all takes the "bite" out of a very beloved story.
The animation, the story, and the songs are all unexceptional and appear to be put together on a shoestring budget. There are a few clever and funny moments, but none of the wonderful detail, subtlety of character, or memorable music necessary to make it fresh and distinctive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Snow White learns about herself.
How do the filmmakers show that Snow White and her friends are more modern than the traditional storybook characters?
Lady Vain has a different outcome from the wicked stepmother in the original tale of Snow White: do you think it's possible for someone that bad to change?
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