Revolting Rhymes (2016) (New York International Children’s Film Festival 2017)

In the tradition of “Fractured Fairytales,” directors Jakob Schuh & Jan Lachauer create what is pretty much one of the most inventive and creative twists on the fairytale I’ve ever seen. “Revolting Rhymes” takes all of the classic fairytales and manages to create one shared universe that is not only very funny but makes complete sense. The computer animated film, relies on a lot of subtle comedy and great computer animation that almost looks like stop motion upon first glance. The directors realize Roald Dahl’s book series with great success allowing for a fun twist on fairytales that thankfully is never cloying or obnoxious as films like “Shrek” or “Hoodwinked.”

One rainy night a wolf walks in to a café and sits down at a booth with a quiet old woman. As she has her tea, he decides to regale her with the story of how he came to that café, and the events that led up to that moment. Once upon a time there was little red riding hood, she met Snow White, and their storylines unfolded in their legendary tales, however they eventually became best friends. Meanwhile, three wolves set out to feed their own insatiable appetites, leading to confrontations with hapless grandmothers and three ambitious pigs. A lot of “Revolting Rhymes” is built around connecting every fairytale to one another in clever strands, and the movie works waves.

The second half of the movie involves the entire shared universe coming full circle as our ravenous wolf sets out to embark on revenge. Once again, he’s distracted when he tells the story of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, and his long held love for his neighbor Cinderella. At only an hour in length, “Revolting Rhymes” is just like the normal fairy tales. It’s sweet, charming, and occasionally menacing, all the while never shying away from the inherent violent nature of the original tales from long ago. Roald Dahl creates such unique twists and perspectives on these classic stories, and they’re realized in to a very funny and charming animated movie.

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