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MOVIE REVIEW : 'Happily Ever After': Sadly Disappointing

May 28, 1993|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Filmation's "Happily Ever After" (citywide), an uninspired sequel to Disney's 1937 classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," is scarcely a happy occasion for the audience or for Snow White and her Prince.

"With the Wicked Queen gone who would harm us?" asks the Prince (voice of Michael Horton) as he and Snow White (voice of Irene Cara) walk through the woods to invite the Seven Dwarfs to their wedding. The answer writers Martha Moran and Robby London have come up with is the Wicked Queen's evil brother Lord Maliss (voice of Malcolm McDowell)--pronounced Malice--who can transform himself into a dragon at will and who vows vengeance for the demise of his sister, who had been the innocent Snow White's nemesis. Lord Maliss swiftly swoops down on the betrothed couple, with Snow White escaping and her Prince whisked off to the Realm of Doom.

Making her way to the Seven Dwarfs' cottage, Snow White finds that it is now the home of their cousins, the Seven Dwarfelles, each of whom has been bestowed by Mother Nature (voice of Phyllis Diller) with a power that controls an aspect of life on Earth. Accompanied by the Dwarfelles--voiced by Carol Channing, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sally Kellerman, Linda Gary and Tracey Ullman, with the last two actresses playing two roles--Snow White plunges into a perilous mission to rescue her Prince.

Produced by animation veteran Lou Scheimer, "Happily Ever After" is nothing if not consistent in its mediocrity. Backgrounds are so indistinguishable from countless other animated fairy tales as to seem generic. The film's humans and creatures similarly lack a distinctive look, with Snow White and the Prince seeming especially bland. The film's several songs are instantly forgettable.

Under the direction of John Heimer, only a spunky Phyllis Diller and McDowell, a gleeful villain, are able to create a strong sense of personality. It would be unfair to slough off "Happily Ever After" (G-rated--despite a strong dose of animation's traditional violence) on to youngsters.

'Happily Ever After'

Irene Cara: Voice of Snow White Malcolm McDowell: Voice of Lord Maliss Phyllis Diller: Voice of Mother Nature Ed Asner: Voice of Scowl the Owl Dom De Luise: Voice of Looking Glass

A First National Film Corp. release of a Filmation presentation. Supervising director John Howley. Producer Lou Scheimer. Executive producer Milton Verret. Screenplay by Martha Moran, Robby London. Camera supervisor Fred Ziegler. Editors Jeffrey C. Patch, Joe Gall. Music Frank W. Becker. Art director John Grusd.. Sound Steve Pickard, Louie Montoya. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

MPAA-rated G (suitable for all ages).

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