This is one of those direct to video sequels I never saw coming. It’s not like anyone was exactly breaking down the box office doors to see the first Happily N’Ever After film when it debuted in January of 2007. Universally panned by the critics and audiences alike, it disappeared rather quickly from the scene and was, or so we thought, destined to become a distant memory, a legend used from time to time to scare little children into behaving for their parents. “Clean up your room now, or I’ll force you to watch Happily N’Ever After again”. Most of us where never really sure it existed at all. A quick expedition to the local theater revealed the name on a marquee, but did we ever see anyone actually enter the theater to watch the film? There was one scientist in Austria who claimed to have seen a couple enter the theater, but the snapshot he took was fuzzy and it was just not possible to confirm the siting. HBO did one of their expose stories on the existence of an audience for the film, but again no hard evidence was ever presented. It is said that stars like Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sigourney Weaver, and even George Carlin provided voices for the film, but in interviews none of the alleged voice cast was willing to confirm they even worked on the film. Rumor has it that Carlin was presented with absolute proof of his participation just before he died. Of course, such rumors are rampant in Hollywood and should be discounted as unsubstantiated gossip.
Whether or not there ever was an actual audience for the first film, someone at Lionsgate decided that the film demanded a follow up. This former Lionsgate employee could not be reached for comment at Joe’s Car Wash, where he currently claims to be “cleaning up in the auto industry”. For some inexplicable reason the original voice cast decided not to be involved in the sequel. In fact the IMDB does not even list a voice cast at all on the film’s entry. It’s pretty bad when even industry nobodies want to distance themselves so badly from a project. If I had anything to do with this film, I’d sue to have my name removed from the credits.
This time the story involves the Snow White drama. The story is brought into a pseudomodern setting. Snow White and her friends are turned into the red carpet seeking teen girl crowd that’s become so horribly fashionable these days. The fairy tale characters are made to look like Paris Hilton clones who strut around all day trying to be noticed. Somewhere along the way she learns some kind of a lesson, and that’s all she wrote folks. It’s a total waste of time. Your kids won’t like it. You won’t like it. Your pets won’t like it. If this isn’t the worst film I’ve seen this year, it’s only because I saw Anthony Hopkins’ Slipstream.
Happily N’Ever After 2 is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It looks like no one in the production department took this film seriously either. This is a simply horrible transfer. You can see so much digital artifact that still images appear to flicker and vibrate. There is no excuse for a film created in this day and age to look this bad. It’s relatively short and has a respectable average bit rate of 6.5mbps. The artifacts are obviously inherent to the film itself. The animation looks worse than a last gen video game cut scene. I’ve seen smoother animation and less blocky characters in my old Spyro games for the PS2.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track something of a mystery. There are moments where I did encounter some strong surrounds and an impressive fullness to the audio. There are other moments I thought I was listening through a Campbell’s soup can on a string. You can hear the dialog, which is likely good enough for this thing.
Three very tiresome and unimaginative games.
It amazes me some of the things that we get here at Upcomingdiscs.com. In this job I’ve gotten to see some of the greatest films of all time. Now with Blu-ray I am getting to relive old classics in ways I’ve never experienced before. All in all it’s a pretty sweet gig, when you get down to it. They tell me that every job has its ups and downs. They don’t come any more down than Happily N’Ever After 2. If you ignore my advice and watch this film, you deserve every agonizing minute you suffer. Do yourself a favor and let your Uncle Gino save you a little over an hour of your time. I promise that one day when you’re 99 years old and on your deathbed, you’ll be thanking me for that extra hour or so I added to your life. Think I’m kidding? “I dare you.”