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Western Animation / The Magic Riddle

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The Magic Riddle is a 1991 Australian fantasy musical animated film directed by Yoram Gross. The story follows Cindy (inspired by Cinderella), a servant to her wicked stepmother and stepsisters who desires to have love. Along the way, she goes through a bunch of parts of different fairy tales, being narrated by an old woman who keeps on mixing them up, combining into her own story. The film was first released in Australia in September of 1991, and eventually had a theatrical release in the Phillipines in 1994. The film has since been criticised for it's jumbled story, less than favourable animation and being a carbon copy of different Disney films that preceded the movie.


The Magic Riddle provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: In the fairytale Cinderella, both stepsisters are mean towards the heroine, but in this adaptation, one of them (Ertha) helps Cindy.
  • Agony of the Feet: It's only when Cindy gets her foot stepped on by Pinocchio that she realises she needs shoes. Guess all of the other times she was perfectly fine having none.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Does anyone know what time period this movie is supposed to take place in? This is a fairytale and there are elements of it being set in the 19th century, but THEN you have elements that exceed WAY into the future. Fairytales must be more wack than we thought...
  • Animated Musical: The movie has a total of 15 sung songs in the movie. Guess how many are sung by the characters?
  • Animesque: In some scenes of the movie, they look as if they came out of a Japanese production. Cindy herself has this anime girl like design throughout the film. It only makes it more noticeable when one finds out that one of the directors (Junko Aoyama) previously worked as an animator for some 80s anime.
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  • Award-Bait Song: Ordinary Miracles.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cindy eventually gets the inheritance and marries Philippe, finally living the life she wanted for so long and everyone she loves and befriended get to stay for the wedding. Happily ever after right? Well... The dwarves and Pinocchio eventually have to turn back into wood at the sound of wedding bells since they finished helping Cindy. No one is happy about this and it's tears all around... Oh wait scratch that Pinocchio lives and is married to Ertha. That was quick.
  • Catchphrase: Pinocchio has this habit of saying he's the best ___ in the world. He has an ego problem it seems.
  • Character Development: Ertha originally is played as a typical mean stepsister, but as the story progresses, she becomes more willing to help Cindy, and even falls in love with Pinocchio, destined to find him and stand against the Widow.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Not as much of a severe instance of this trope, but Pinocchio's shoe serves for a few important moments in the story. First used as Cindy's shoes for the ball, then used as a token item to find Pinocchio, THEN the other shoe is used as an escape device to find the way out of the castle of a hundred doors.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Everyone except for Cindy and Philippe qualifies in some way to this trope.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Dwarves and Pinocchio qualify as this, as all of their attires represent a different colour (Kind of like the rainbow)
    • Goodby: Red
    • Loony: Orange
    • Pitsy: Yellow
    • Moody: Green
    • Funny: Turquoise
    • Mitzi: Blue
    • Pinocchio: Purple
    • Rudy: Burgundy Pink.
  • Cool Horse: Philippe's horse has got some super hearing, super speed, super strength and has got a badass colour scheme. His name is even "Hero".
  • Cute Mute: Cindy's cat puss. Though at one point he does sing so does that mean he's a talking cat or a regular cat? Writers make up your mind.
  • Down on the Farm: Though subtle, parts of the manor where Cindy and her family live indicate that they live on some rural farm. This includes the stables and the barn they have.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Philippe kisses Cindy while she's unconscious.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Slightly subverted. After being abused by the Widow and having to endure some chaos for so long, Cindy finally gets the will and marries Philippe, but she never really did anything to earn it. She wasn't unlikeable, just a useless trope.
  • Flat Character: ALL of the characters are some form of a one dimensional trope with the exception of Ertha. We got Cindy who's the damsel trope, Philippe being the heroic prince trope, The Widow being the villain trope, it's all there in bold lines.
  • Fractured Fairytale: It's a mix of different fairytales including Cinderella, Snow White, The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio or The Three Little Pigs. Kinda like an older version of Shrek! with less humor.
  • Informed Attribute: In some adaptations the dwarves would have personalities that fit their names. For example, in this adaptation one of the dwarves (Loony) is described as "The brains of the crew", yet he barely is involved in the film and sometimes doesn't even act as the smart guy. In fact it seems all of the dwarves act just about the same.
  • "I Want" Song: Cindy's song about being an "ugly duckling" and wondering when she'll turn into a swan. All while having a thin curvy body, animesque eyes and long flowing hair in contrast to her old, wrinkly oppressor.
  • Off-Model: Lots of instances of these. Many of the scenes have many differing art styles and direction, given the main directors all have their different styles. As a result scenes will look very off and include lots of animation errors. One minute you'll be having the movie looking like this and then the next minute the next scene completely whiplashes you with THIS.
  • Parental Substitute: Because Cindy's parents are most likely dead and the Widow is, well you know, Grandma took the place of taking care of the daughters for a while before the Widow told her to screw off. Grandma would eventually return to help Cindy finish her chores while she was asleep.
  • Pinocchio Nose: Obviously on Pinocchio, who appears in the film.
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Cindy initially turns down Phillip's marriage proposal on the simple principle that she's too poor to contribute anything to their marriage. It's only after Grandfather's will states she can only receive the riches to provide for him if she marries him. So that takes care of that.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: The Ugly Duckling and The Three Little Pigs serve no purpose to be in this movie. They just make an excuse for Cindy to sing about something.
  • The Power of Love: At the movie's end, Pinocchio and the dwarfs are turned into wood, but Pinocchio comes to live again thanks to Erthas kiss.
  • Unexplained Accent: You really can't tell WHERE this fairytale is supposed to take place in with all of the different accents.