Not So Happily Ever After
So Ella ended up marrying the Prince although marriage turns out to be not so much of a rose garden as the Prince is clueless when it comes to marriage and more concerned with his looks. Rick, the Prince's dishwasher still has a thing for Ella and can't understand why she would marry such a vacuous fool as the Prince. But before all that things took a turn for the bad when the Wizard whose job it is to make sure all fairytale's play out as per the book goes off on vacation and whilst he is gone Ella's wicked Stepmother, Frieda, decides to take over Fairy Tale Land. With no more happy ever afters it is up to Ella and Rick along with a rag bag bunch of fairytale characters to save Fairy Tale Land.
Considering how good the "Shrek" movies have been you either have to be misguided or very confident to try and muscle in on its territory with an animation based on fairytales but done with a comedic twist. Having watched "Happily N'Ever After" I cam only assume that those who were behind the movie were misguided as it just doesn't spark in to life. In fairness it has the ideas and in fact could have been a very good animation for all the family but unfortunately it ends up feeling a bit of a knock off, a movie which wants to be as fun as "Shrek" but doesn't work the magic.
Now as I said the basic idea is good and you can sum it up as saying Wicked Stepmother takes over Fairy Tale Land and Ella and friends form a resistance to take it back. But of course that is not enough and so we have lots of distractions as a whole plethora of fairytale characters are drawn in to the mix with the story frequently flying off on tangents. But here is the problem as all these moments when we get served a reference to another fairytale end up feeling like a set piece gag purely chucked in to pad the movie out as without these irrelevant set pieces the basic storyline would struggle to fill 30 minutes let alone 75.
But it is not just the all over the place story which ends up spoiling "Happily N'Ever After" as almost every joke falls incredibly flat. There is a joke surrounding Ella's Fairy Godmother who shows up to grant her a wish but initially thinks she is Pinocchio and wants to be a real boy, it could have been fun if it wasn't delivered in such a way that you don't realise there was a joke there. It is the same when the Prince is reading a dummy guide to being a Prince and looks puzzled when he reads the word romantic as Roman Tic. This goes on and on as so many jokes just don't deliver the laughs yet in truth are not entirely unfunny just poorly delivered. That is the same with all the cross fairytale references as time and again the cleverness off the cross reference ends up under played.
Unfortunately the bad news continues as the actual animation just doesn't work and at times made me think I was watching one of those animation slots you find in computer games. It may be because of this that despite "Happily N'Ever After" also having a surprisingly decent selection of actors providing the voices from Sigourney Weaver to Patrick Warburton it again feels incredibly flat.
What this all boils down to is that "Happily N'Ever After" probably could have been a really good fairytale animation but comes up short in almost all departments from animation to humour. Maybe young kids will enjoy it but I suspect that if you show it to a child who adores the "Shrek" movies they might end up disappointed.