"The current Hollywood vogue for fairytales has been partly inspired by the bicentenary of Grimms Fairy Tales...but Bill [Gray, University of Chichester] suggests the economic downturn may be a factor too. He says, 'These so-called fairy tales are often about surviving a (murderously) dysfunctional family in a harsh situation. Don't forget the Grimms created their book while Germany was an occupied country under French rule. Life was harsh; people did starve to death. The sort of scenario we see in Hansel and Gretel is not too far-fetched.
"'So-called fairy tales both take you out of the harsh demands of real life, but are also about finding solutions, finding hope, in hard times. And the cinema is itself a magical shelter from a bleak world-and yet can also be more than just escapism.'"
-from Faerie Magazine, Issue 24 (Either I'm blind or they didn't cite an author for that article) (Be sure to check out Heidi Anne Heiner's, AKA Surlalune's, piece on "Cinderella Through the Years")
I caught bits and pieces of the new Hansel and Gretel movie while my in-laws were watching it a few weeks ago. I agree with Christie of Spinning Straw into Gold that, while it's not one of the most significant versions of a fairy tale, it's a fun movie to watch (but definitely rated R for a reason-I would NOT recommend for younger audiences). But I was surprised that afterwards my future mother-in-law said, "That was cool! I wonder how many other fairy tales they're going to turn on their heads like that?"
We who follow the world of fairy tales know that they're EVERYwhere in media, just check out Once Upon a Blog and see how many fairy tale movies are currently in the works, but those who don't pay attention may be just picking up on the trend. Her comment reminded me that what is cliche to some of us (such as the idea of creating a "twisted" fairy tale, where some traditional plot point or character's status as good or evil is challenged) is dependent on the type of entertainment we consume. Those who don't typically seek out modern versions of fairy tales are being exposed to them, and wanting more!