Once Upon a Time
What is it about fairytales that clings so tightly to the American consciousness? Maybe it’s the solid lines drawn between good and evil. Maybe it’s a subconscious connection with the underdog. Maybe it’s a deeply entrenched belief in the existence of the legendary happy ending. We won’t settle for an everything-works-out-okay ending or a wow-I’m-glad-that’s-finally-over ending.
What you’re searching for, what you firmly believe in is a knock-out happy ending where ultimate bliss is achieved. Now, I can pretty much bet Once Upon a Story [ABC Studios, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Steve Pearlman and Mark Mylod] is going to deliver a knock-out happy ending, but I can’t exactly promise which side will get it. Hey, evil queens like Regina [Lana Parilla] have dreams, too.
So what exactly IS Once Upon a Story? Brilliant.
The cinematography features vivid colors and lush darkness and contrast. The costumes are gorgeous and the CGI isn’t clunky or tacky. It is an act of visual mastery.
Alright, already, you’re probably thinking. So it’s fantasy eye-candy. But what about the story, right?
The plot focuses on Emma Swan [Jennifer Morrison] who is thankfully no relation to Bella Swan. Emma was abandoned at birth, led a rough life and had to give up her only son for adoption. [Are you getting some of those underdog vibes yet? If not, you should be!] She winds up making a life for herself as a bail bonds collector when her son, Henry [Jared Gilmore] finds her again. Ten-year-old Henry is convinced that everyone in Storybrooke, the New England town where he lives with his foster mother, Regina [Lana Parilla], is a character from a fairytale frozen in time and caught in a terrible curse.
Umm, crazy, right? Emma gets worried about her son’s sanity and decides to go back to Storybrooke with him, only to discover that maybe the kid isn’t as crazy as he sounds.
From the looks of the trailer, it seems that Once Upon a Story will feature flashbacks and other time travel devices in its story-telling. For me, the real jewel is tracking the fairytale characters to their original state from their amnesic identities. Sometimes, it is almost surprising how “normal” even a storybook character can look when taken out of their magical circumstances; it also touches on how easily we can forget our own identities when we allow ourselves to go with the flow and assimilate into the cultures around us.
In crazy times like these, even a princess like Emma can forget who she is.