Fairy Tale Retellings


Just wanted to hop over here to let you know that I was out guest-posting today. Alicia Gaile generously lent me space on her blog this afternoon. The topic is “Fairy Tale Retellings” and while there is no “perfect formula” for writing anything, I do share a few of my thoughts on what makes the more successful retellings stand out.

You can find the post HERE.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the post! Feel free to leave comments either on the post itself or you can come back over here and we can discuss them. I’ll be checking comments in both places!


~ jenelle


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“The angel wing clam…. Underwater, they glow in the dark. Now the amazing thing about that is this: modern science cannot explain why…. Tell you my theory: is that they do it because they can. World would be a lot cooler place if more of us were like that, huh?” — Dirk Pitt

Following the trend of genre-hopping all over the place… this week’s movie recommendation comes in the form of an action/adventure/mystery/comedy. Sahara. Another movie that has a little bit of everything… which is apparently a recipe for a movie that I am guaranteed to love to pieces.

This is one of those movies the critics initially hated, but I loved. It tends to work out that way the vast majority of the time. It is also the kind of movie where there is a lot going on, and at first glance, none of it seems to be related.

Meet Dirk Pitt: a sort of modern-day Indiana Jones searching for a lost Civil War era ship that has aboard it a box of legendary gold coins minted by the Confederacy. Though finding this legend is his main goal, he also has a real job with the National Underwater Marine Agency as a salvager of wrecked ships, which he uses “to pay the bills” as Inigo Montoya would say. At the other end of this story, you have Eva, a doctor with W.H.O. who is investigating the source of a strange outbreak in Africa. When their paths and stories collide, the discoveries that Dirk and Eva make are bigger than either of them expected.

This movie is an all-out adventure. The plot twists and turns like a snake in the desert. All while Dirk’s best friend, Al Giordino (played by the ever marvelous Steve Zahn) provides quippy comic relief… but don’t worry he isn’t just a humorous side-kick, this guy knows his stuff and is very good at what he does. Possibly one of my favorite roles for Matthew McConaughey ever… except for one other… which I will talk about next week.

If you skipped this movie back when it came out in 2005… you should definitely remedy that and give it a look now. It is so much fun, and has some of the best quotable lines since The Princess Bride. (And THAT is saying quite a lot).

If you love movies like Indiana Jones or National Treasure, you will not want to miss out on Sahara!

Looks like this one is available to rent online at all the usual places.

~ jenelle

Bridge to Terabithia

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Today’s Favorite Family Film is a more recent discovery (how was 2007 ten years ago already?) The story itself is much older, though. I grew up reading Bridge to Terabithia over and over again. It was never one that got read out loud, or at least, I don’t remember it being one that either of my parents ever read to us. It was one I read to myself. I checked it out of the library so many times, I think I pretty much wore out the binding. I KNOW that I left tear-stains on a few of the pages.

Imagine my delight (and skepticism) when I found out they were making this beloved story into a movie!

This is one of those rare occasions where the movie version is just as good as the book. And that’s a tough thing to come by, especially with a book I loved so dearly. But when I watch it, I really feel as though the writers and directors pulled the images directly from my imagination.

Travel back in time to simpler days with Jess, a young boy who lives on a farm and is a bit of a social outcast in school. As the movie opens, Jess has been training hard in order to win a footrace and hopes to use that victory to propel him into the good graces of his classmates. However, when he is beaten in the race by a new student… and a girl… Jess feels that his hopes of acceptance are lost. Despite this rocky start to their relationship, Jess and Leslie soon become true friends. Leslie encourages Jess in his love of art, and then sweeps Jess along into an imaginary world of her own creation where they are King and Queen of Terabithia: a magical realm filled with amazing creatures. Together they go on epic adventures in their imagination and translate what they learn in their make-believe play into courage and loyalty in the real world.

I must warn you, though. I thought everyone had read this book. It was kind of a staple of my childhood. All of my friends were required to read it in grade school… so I just sort of assumed it was like Tom Sawyer… and that everyone was familiar with the plot. When I went to see it in the theaters, imagine my surprise at discovering my husband had never read the book. Not knowing this, I did not warn him that the end is very sad. Those tear-stains I mentioned? Yeah, that’s not just because this is a sweet story. It is also achingly tragic. The end of this movie will rip your heart out and make you cry… so, be warned, the story stays unswervingly close to the original storyline. (My husband… erm… refuses to ever watch this movie again).

But there is beauty in this sorrow. I highly recommend you read the book… and then watch the movie. Or watch the movie… and then read the book. They are both that good, I don’t even know which to recommend first! (Upon further consideration… probably read the book first. It might soften the blow at the end of the movie… since you’ll know it’s coming and be prepared for it).

I’m not even sure what genre to put this movie into. Perhaps it fits best where most of my favorite movies go, as my sister once said to a classmate who couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen some big-name movie, “If there was a category in the video-store labelled ‘wholesome,’ I’ve probably seen every movie that would be in that section.”

Have you seen this movie? Have you read the book? Which did you enjoy more? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ jenelle