Happily N'Ever After
|Happily N'Ever After|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Yvett Kaplan
Paul J. Bolger
|Produced by||John H. Williams|
|Written by||Rob Moreland|
|Starring||Sarah Michelle Gellar
Freddie Prinze, Jr.
|Running time||86 minutes|
Happily N'Ever After is a 2007 computer-animated fantasy film based on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. It is a Vanguard Animation production, released by Lions Gate Films. The title is the opposite of happily ever after.
The film stars the voices of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Andy Dick, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, George Carlin and Sigourney Weaver. It proved to be Carlin's final film role before his death the following year, excluding his 2008 HBO special It's Bad for Ya.
A direct-to-video sequel, Happily N'Ever After 2: Snow White Another Bite @ the Apple was released on March 24, 2009.
The story begins with the idea that the Wizard (George Carlin) controls all of the fairy tales and maintains the balance of good and evil in Fairy Tale Land. With the help of his assistants the uptight Munk (Wallace Shawn) and the decidedly goofy Mambo (Andy Dick), the Wizard is checking to make sure that all the fairy tales under his care are "on track" to have their traditional happy endings. As we meet him however, the Wizard is leaving for Scotland for a long-overdue vacation. He leaves the kingdom in the hands of Munk and Mambo.
Ella is a girl who is better known as Cinderella (Sarah Michelle Gellar). She lives as a servant to her step family, dreams of the Prince (Patrick Warburton) who will sweep her off her feet. Her best friend at the palace is Rick (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), the palace dishwasher. Rick takes it upon himself to deliver the invitations to the royal ball to Ella. Ella sees Rick only as a friend, but Rick secretly loves Ella, although he is too cool and proud to admit it. Rick can't really understand what Ella likes about the Prince. Rick's Three Amigos, the comic chefs (All voiced by Phil Proctor, Rob Paulsen and Tom Kenny) in the palace kitchen, believe that Rick has a bad case of "Prince envy". The Prince does everything by the book, and plans to meet his maiden at the ball.
However, things don't go as planned at the ball. Thanks to the assistants, Ella's evil stepmother, Frieda (Sigourney Weaver), gains access to the Wizard's lair during the Prince's ball. She manages to chase off Munk and Mambo and tip the scales of good and evil, causing a series of fairy tales to go wrong and have unhappy endings including Jack getting stepped on by the Giant (John DiMaggio) and Rumpelstiltskin (Mike McShane) winning his bet with the miller's daughter and takes her baby. She summons an army of Trolls, witches, 3 Big Bad Wolves, the Giant, and Rumpelstilkskin to her castle. Ella finds out and escapes to the woods, where she meets Munk and Mambo. The trio set out to find the prince who has gone looking for his maiden (not knowing it was actually Ella), in hopes that he will defeat Frieda and save the day.
Together, they flee to the Seven Dwarfs' home. Witches and trolls led by The Ice Queen attack them. The dwarfs hold off the trolls, while they flee with the help of Rick who had stolen a flying broom. Frieda decides to go after Ella herself. She succeeds in capturing her and returns to the palace, with Rick, Munk and Mambo in pursuit. Frieda tortures Ella because if the story had run its course she would have married the prince while Frieda would never get anywhere in life. Rick, Munk, and Mambo slip into the castle and attack Frieda. During the fight, Frieda generates a pit in the floor. Mambo knocks her in, but she uses her staff to fly back up again. After a short battle, in which Rick takes a blast meant for Ella and falls into a deep sleep, Frieda creates a portal by accident. Ella knocks Frieda back and punches her into the portal. Rick awakes from the spell and he and Ella kiss, finally admitting their feelings for each other.
Ella and her true love Rick decide to choose their destinies in a world of happy endings and get married. Rumpelstiltskin has shown throughout the movie that he has come to care for the baby, and the miller's daughter lets him stay in the castle as the baby's nanny. The Wizard returns from vacation where he wasn't told about what happened while he was away.
In the final scene, Frieda is shown trapped in the Arctic surrounded by elephant seals.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Ella: A scullery maid from the tale "Cinderella" and the protagonist of the film. She is in love with the Prince but later realizes that her true love is her friend Rick.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Rick: A stressed out servant who works for the prince and finds him as a grand annoyance. He has a peculiar crush on his friend Ella.
- Andy Dick as Mambo: A rebellious and goofy purple cat-like creature who works for the wizard. Bored with the cycle of good endings, he wishes for things to go differently every once in a while but relents when he see how far out of control things went.
- Wallace Shawn as Munk: An uptight and smart orange pig creature who also works for the wizard. Unlike Mambo, he avoids causing trouble in the fairy tales'. He helps Ella stop Frieda from taking over fairy tale land. Although he and Mambo bicker, they're best friends.
- Patrick Warburton as The Prince: The prince of the Cinderella story. Unlike the original prince, he is somewhat lazy and ignorant, but is determined to find his "maiden", Cinderella. He follows steps in a tiny booklet he carries around. His name is revealed to be Humperdink and is only mentioned in a deleted scene on the DVD release.
- George Carlin as the Wizard: An ancient wizard who watches over the fairy tale's of Fairy Tale Land, making sure they go by the book and balances scales of good and evil to make sure they go well. He leaves his assistants in charge while goes on vacation in Scotland.
- Sigourney Weaver as Frieda: Cinderella's power hungry stepmother and the main antagonist. She takes over Fairy Tale Land by breaking the balance of good and evil on the scales and takes the Wizard's staff for more power. She is defeated by Ella and sent to Antarctica.
- Mike McShane as Rumpelstiltskin from the tale "Rumpelstiltskin". He takes the baby from its mother after Frieda breaks the balance of good and evil on the scales' and assists her.
Additional voices by Lee Arenberg, John Cygan, Robert Bergen, Jennifer Darling, Debi Derryberry, Patti Deutsch, Shae D'Lyn, Andrew Dolan, Bill Farmer, Jack Fletcher, Roger L. Jackson, Sherry Lynn, Mickie McGowan, Natalie Nassar, Laraine Newman, Jan Rabson, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jim Ward, and April Winchell
The film was originally a traditionally animated feature, but after the growing success of computer animated features, the idea was scrapped. Some rough animation had already been completed by the time the project switched over to the new animation format.
The head of the visual effects was Chris Spry who is CG Supervisor at The LaB Sydney, which made the visual effects for the film.
Box office and DVD sales
The film opened #6 behind Dreamgirls, Freedom Writers, Children of Men, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Night at the Museum, which was at its third week at the #1 position. The film made $6,608,244 during its opening weekend.
The film made a total of $15,589,393 at the US box office and $15,300,096 foreign, grossing a worldwide total of only $30,889,489, on a $47 million budget. By August 2010, the movie has grossed $38,085,778 worldwide, making it a box office letdown in the processes.
It made $16,666,054 in DVD sales in the United States.
The film received very negative reviews by critics, criticizing the animation and mostly the similarities to Shrek (despite having the same producer of the film). Rotten Tomatoes reports that only 4% of critics gave the film a positive review. The critical consensus is: "Happily N'Ever After has none of the moxy, edge or postmodern wit of the other fairy-tales-gone-haywire CG movie it so blatantly rips off." The website ranked the film 38th in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s.
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- Official website
- Happily N'Ever After at the Internet Movie Database
- Happily N'Ever After at AllMovie
- Happily N'Ever After at Box Office Mojo
- Happily N'Ever After at Rotten Tomatoes