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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Once Upon a Girl
Once Upon a Girl
Severin // Unrated // November 14, 2006
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted November 8, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Inside the fairy tale world of sex and cartoons


The above image is pixilated for posting purposes. It is not pixilated on the disc.

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Animation, '80s "G.I. Joe"
Likes: Curiosity items, low-budget '70s crap
Dislikes: "Car crash" movies
Hates: Being bored, teases

The Movie
When you were 13, the concept of a porno cartoon would probably rank on the scale of important discoveries with internal combustion engines and the New World. After all, you spent a lot of time with your animated friends, and the onset of natural curiosity is bound to create the kinds of thoughts that get you in trouble.

Little did you know that filthy animators have been cranking out adult cartoons since the art form was invented. Among the results is Once Upon a Girl, a somewhat little-known adult animated take on a few well-known fairy tales. That its directed by Don Jurwich, who worked on a number of big-time shows, including a directing gig on the "G.I. Joe" movie, kicks up the interest factor a bit, but for the most part, it's one of those films that was destined to be forgotten.

Our story starts as a live-action film as Mother Goose stands trial for telling the truth about fairy tales. In a role that's certain to destroy your childhood, Hal Smith, the voice of Winnie the Pooh and the King of Kartoons from "The Brady Bunch," puts on a bad drag act and regales the jury of a simply pathetic courtroom with filthy stories that trigger their libido. This is the type of film presentation that will either make you laugh your ass off or annoy the hell out of you. It will also create within you a number of questions, such as "Why isn't the judge wearing a robe?," or "They couldn't afford two tables for the lawyers to sit at?" and "Why's that guy so sweaty?" There are no answers provided,, so just file those thoughts away so they can keep you busy when you can't sleep.

After an interminable opening scene, we get into the first cartoon, a sex-filled version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." While trying to figure out exactly who this movie is made for, it struck me that tying to animate a woman's orgasm is apparently not easy, and results in a look that's somewhere between shock and constipation. To describe the storyline would be like attempting to nail Jell-O to the wall: it's going to be messy, sticky and no one's going to enjoy it in the end. Suffice to say, there's a good deal of nudity and sex, often repeated again and again to get maximum value from the cost of the animation. The same goes for the music, which seems to be dropped in randomly, and becomes annoying quickly.

The same treatment is applied to both "Cinderella" (complete with bonus incest) and "Little Red Riding Hood" (in which we learn that rape can be fun!) I'm curious as to what tone the film is attempting to reach. Is watching a frog suckle at a woman's breast supposed to be sexy, funny or something else altogether? What about watching Cinderella's stepsisters explore each other? Hunters raping Little Red? It doesn't seem like there's anything funny here, and you'd have a hard time finding anything sexy, unless you're hard up enough that some cartoon boobs do the trick for you.

Oddly, for a film that was rated X and includes a lengthy gynocological moment that takes us deep inside some enormous intercourse, the film doesn't depict any insertion, cutting the act just outside of the frame, or hidden with positioning. Such prudishness isn't going to satisfy the pervier viewers in the audience. If only such displays of tastefulness were attempted with the film's weak comedy.

The DVD
This one-disc release is packed in a standard keepcase, and features an animated anamorphic widescreenmain menu, offering a choice to play the film, select scenes and check out the special features. If you're looking for help in watching this film, you're out of luck, as there are no audio options, no subtitles and no closed captioning.

The Quality
The two sides of the film couldn't look more different. The live-action portions are dingy, soft and dull; looking like your average explotation film. The animation, on the other hand, is rather vibrant, with bright colors. A good deal of dirt and damage can be seen throughout the movie, as well as some pixilation, but considering the movie's age and status, it could probably look worse. Make no mistake though, it doesn't look great.

The audio is presented in a simple, but effective Dolby Digital mono track that presents every moan, groan, and repetitive pornoriffic tune clearly and without distortion. The recording is nothing to write home about, but the disc doesn't add anything to complain about.

The Extras
The extras are slim here, but interesting nonetheless. A cringe-worthy theatrical trailer that introduces the film as "rated X for exciting" is worth a look for novelty's sake. It's joined by a nine-minute featurette centered around an interview with the film's executive producer, William Silberkleit. Part exploitation history, part look-back at the production, it reveals some interesting background about the film and the company behind it.

The Bottom Line
There's only a few reasons to check out this flick, and on every count you'll likely be disappointed, unless your purpose in checking it out is to stare blankly at the screen, bewildered by what you see in front of you. At first you might be entertained at how odd it all is, but once that factor falls aside, it quickly becomes repetitive and boring. The DVD presentation is nothing special, with an Ok image and decent sound, though the minimal extras aren't bad. Animation fans might give it a rental purely out of curiosity, but don't get your hopes up. It's just not very good.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow


*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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