Happily Ever After (Filmation, 1990/1993)

“The Evil Queen is dead and Snow White is on her way to see the 7 dwarves when Lord Maliss, the Queen’s brother, sees her in the looking glass. He attacks her in the form of a dragon, taking Snow White’s prince to the Realm of Doom. Enlisting the aid of the dwarves’ cousins, Snow White must embark on a quest to save her true love”

– John Nickolaus, IMDB.

Happily Ever After was created by Filmation, best known as the creators of He-Man and She-Ra. Happily Ever After was part of a plan Filmation had developed to create a series of direct-to-video sequels to Disney theatrical releases. After being sued by Disney, Filmation promised their characters would not resemble the ones shown in the original Snow White film.

Happily Ever After was originally slated to be released in 1990 but was later pushed to a 1993 release, which was preceded by a 10 million dollar advertising campaign by First National Film Corp. The film managed to make $1.76 Million dollars over Memorial Day weekend, it’s overall domestic gross being $3,299,382. First National declared bankruptcy weeks after the original release. The legal problems with Disney coupled with the poor financial reception of the film is alleged to have caused the bankruptcy of Filmation.

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
Happily Ever After is one of a few movies to grace this blog that I actually watched as a kid. For some reason, the VHS clamshell is still stuck in my memory after all these years.

For some reason I never forgot that the VHS listed the head shots of the voice actors involved in the film… maybe it was the first time I had the realization there were people behind the voices of animated characters? Or maybe I just spent too much time staring at the back of the box trying to figure out if my 8-year old self should be able to recognize any of the names shown.

It could potentially be nostalgia talking, but personally I think Happily Ever After is one of those odd Bad Princess films that isn’t actually all that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not amazing, but I think it’s also a completely watchable film. If I had kids I think I’d be fine letting them watch this one. I think for me, most of my amusement comes from the novelty of Filmation trying to make a sequel to a Disney film, and seeing what Filmation does with the concept. I actually really wish that Disney hadn’t sued Filmation into oblivion, because I would’ve loved to have seen what they would’ve done with their other sequels (the only other sequel film to be released, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, is equally as weirdly entertaining as Happily Ever After, and I’d recommend people check that one out as well).

Getting back to Happily Ever After, take a look at one of the songs from the film to get an idea of what you’ll get out of this movie.

As an aside, Thunderella here is voiced by Tracey Ullman, of The Tracey Ullman Show (Which at this point is best known for giving the world The Simpsons).

But the real take away is that the villain, Lord Maliss, chews the scenery with a ferocious passion and I love him for it. While he’s a bit ineffectual for the majority of the film, he actually gets legitimately menacing towards the end. As a result, he’s probably the most memorable part of the film for me. I sort of wish we saw more of him, and less of his more kid-friendly henchmen (Scowl the Owl, and Batso the Bat).

So to sum, Happily Ever After isn’t the worst-of-the-worst movie to grace this blog, but I think it’s entertaining enough that it’s a welcome addition to any Bad Princess movie night.

P.S. Amusingly, the Prince never gets named in this film. He’s always referred to as ‘Prince’, even by Snow White.

References

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