The Magic Riddle Cinderella and other fairy tales get jumbled together when a grandmother tells a story.
A less than magical fairy tale hodge-podge
The Magic Riddle Let’s just get this off the bat. Love animation, some are among my favourite films ever. Love fairy tales and have done since childhood. Loved the idea of mixing fairy tale characters together. Love musicals, always have done despite it being a maligned genre on IMDb.
So part of me really wanted ‘The Magic Riddle’ to be good, with all that being considered. Wanted it to be one of those underseen, underrated gems that were easy to defend. Sadly, ‘The Magic Riddle’ didn’t do it for me, didn’t care for it much as a child and care for it even less through adult eyes. Just for the record, this is coming from somebody who has been known to defend poorly received films, animated or not while understanding why most would find fault with them, and have gone against the grain more than once, though usually critics and me are on similar pages.
‘The Magic Riddle’ is not a terrible film, it just isn’t a particularly good one either. Loved the idea of mixing fairy tales/popular stories and their characters (who doesn’t), but it is not exactly a fresh idea and has been done far better with much more wit, charm and magic in Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ and the ‘Shrek’ films.
A few things in ‘The Magic Riddle’s’ favour. There are a few good songs, the beautiful, tear-jerking “Ordinary Miracles” and Cindy’s song to the ugly duckling faring the best.
Cindy is a very likable protagonist, the best animated character (which is saying a lot) and the most interesting.
The ugly duckling is adorable and the grandmother is endearingly befuddled and luckily doesn’t over-explain all that goes on.