become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

why so many movies about folktales?


Maria Ivanova of Worldwide News Ukraine contacted me recently to ask me what the deal is with folklore movies. The piece she quotes me in is here, and starts like this:

While most people look for novelty when they enter a movie theatre, film industry perseveres in offering the audiences a bite of the dusty past every so often. A good old folk tale seems to be one of the top sources for writers’ inspiration. Last year saw the release of not one, but two films on Snow White. Folklore-based The Lone Ranger, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Jack the Giant Slayer were some of the most publicized releases of 2013. King Arthur, Robin Hood, Hercules and the like consistently populate our TVs and cinema theatre screens. Some of the most iconic film characters are Brad Pitt’s Achilles (Troy, 2004) and Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas (300, 2006). We asked 15 film critics what was it about an ancient tale that drew the audience in, and they came up with 4 main reasons.

The reasons (and you should go to Worldwide News Ukraine to read the reasons behind the reasons, including my glorious and wise quote) are:

1. Folklore is marketable.

2. Folklore is time-tested.

3. Folklore is original.

4. Folklore looks good.

And now I’m going to ask you:

Why so many movies about folktales? What is it about folktales that appeal to us? What elements of folktales do you particularly like or hate, especially as Hollywood deals them out?

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap