10 posts tagged Snow White and the Huntsman
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (2012)
You know that scene in 500 Days of Summer when they show Tom’s expectations vs reality? I was reminded of that scene as I was watching Snow White and the Huntsman. It is a given that movie trailers show the juiciest parts of a film in order to entice and get you to shell out 12 bucks at the theater. I think we can all agree that this film had a pretty awesome trailer that promised nothing but epicness. We were promised something that would rival The Lord of the Rings in scale, and as an avid fan of LOTR as you all know, I welcomed this bold statement. I think that while Snow White and the Huntsman delivered on this promise visually, it was a bit of a letdown as what was promised to be an updated story to the classic fairy tale.
We all know the Disney version of Snow White, but there is a reason, I think, that it isn’t exactly the most beloved of the princess tales. In Disney’s version, Snow White is a passive character whose fate is reliant on her beauty and pureheartedness. We are supposed to like her because she’s a victim and because she likes to clean random people’s houses. She’s the ultimate symbol of the domesticated woman. Given this background, when Hollywood promises an update on a character who is so wrought with tired stereotypes of what proper women should be, one could only hope that it entailed something a little bit more substantial. While there were some obvious strides to change Snow White’s character to someone more proactive, I was disappointed at how much of the original character remained. I’ll go into more detail on this in a bit.
Which leads to a discussion on who the real character of this story is, and that’s Queen Ravenna, played with delicious decadence by Charlize Theron. The first thing I will say is that it’s high time these fairy tales gave us some back story on why these queens become evil, because we all know no one’s born with a thirst for war and an appetite for human hearts. One of the best things about this film is how it does update the Queen’s story, making her more sympathetic, more human, rather than this archetypal evil figure whose vanity is completely unmotivated. I won’t spoil it too much for those of you still planning on seeing it, but I found her to be much more of a compelling character than Snow White. She actually had an emotional back story and her rage was completely justified. She’s the perfect example of someone who is driven by vengeance only to have it completely consume her, turning her into the monster she hated.
The Queen’s costumes and special effects were amazing. There’s one scene in the movie that really floored me and it involves the Queen, a flock of ravens and some sort of black tar. I also loved the way she used her magic, summoning an army made of glass or transforming into (or should I say from) the figure she uses to infamously deceive Snow White. In many ways, this was just as much Queen Ravenna’s story as it was Snow White’s, and secretly I wished it was only about her, because her story was much more interesting to me.
Which brings me to Snow White. As someone who isn’t a huge Kristen Stewart fan, I thought she was actually pretty decent in the role given what she had to work with. For instance, she could have used some better dialogue and a heck of a lot of character development for the titular character of the film. I first liked that Stewart didn’t try so hard with her English accent, I thought it sounded natural and unforced. I mentioned earlier that one of my biggest disappointments was how little they updated the character of Snow White. I think it’s insulting when people think that putting a woman in chain mail and giving her a sword is somehow proof that film is progressing. I would much rather have a fully-developed female character who fights (figuratively) for something she believes in or because of something that motivates her emotionally than a woman whose beauty and pureheartedness, yet again, are what decides her fate. For example, Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings, fights not because she’s trying to prove that she’s just as good on the battlefield as any man, but because she’s trying to prove that women also have things they want to fight for, defend and die for. Throughout the film I never got a sense of what Snow White was fighting for. Was it vengeance for her father’s death? Because that seems like a trifling matter to take an entire army to war for. Is it because the Queen is a terrible ruler and she’s killing the land and all the people and creatures that live on it? Great, but there is no indication of that anywhere in the film. Snow White is a heroine without conviction, and that is one of the worst things one can be as a character.
As for Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman, he did a good job performance-wise, but like Stewart he was not blessed with good dialogue. Honestly with the way he wielded his axe defending Snow White from her would-be captors, I was half-expecting him to let out a roar and yell “HOW DARE YOU ATTACK THE SON OF ODIN?!” The film was definitely, as promised, about his character and Snow White, although a bit predictable. I was hoping for their relationship to be a bit more fleshed out but it seemed rushed and unsatisfying to me. Sam Claflin’s Prince Charming (or William, as he is so called in this movie) was cool in the sense that he’s a pretty badass archer, but he too, got the short end of the stick by not being a fully-developed character either. Finally, one of the highlights of the film was the dwarves and it’s a shame that too little time was spent on them because I feel like they would have not only provided some comic relief (with a cast like Ray Winstone, Ian McShane and Nick Frost how could they be so underutilized?) but also perhaps supplied the emotional heart of the film, which was attempted but didn’t quite pay off due to the lot of them being so underdeveloped.
I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here, but I feel the need to mention that one of the big misconceptions writers and filmmakers have about epic movies is that dazzling visual imagery will win favor with audiences, and they are always wrong when they approach a project with this mentality. Epic movies aren’t epic because the special effects look amazing or the costumes are breathtaking, but because they make audiences feel like we’ve labored through devastating odds and weathered storms to get to the climactic conclusion. They achieve this by appealing to our emotions and by giving us characters to root for.
Tarsem Singh, for example, attempted to update the way we see the pantheon of gods and Greek mythology we are all so familiar with in Immortals. Visually it’s probably one of the best-looking epic films out there, but emotionally it’s as barren as a wasteland. Theseus fights to avenge his mother’s death, but we don’t feel invested in his battle. I couldn’t have cared less if certain characters lived or died. Gladiator, on the other hand, was just a well of emotional turmoil. Not only were audiences rooting for Maximus to succeed to avenge his murdered family, but we were also rooting against injustice and tyranny, universal demons viewers can all unite against. When Maximus finally kills Commodus, however corny this might sound I could feel my heart swell with release. This kind of emotional investment and payoff is something very rare and difficult to achieve, and sadly it is absent in Snow White and the Huntsman.
So since I had mentioned expectation vs reality earlier, let me share with you my expectations, then, just so you guys have an idea and you don’t think that I had too high expectations for this film. I had expected an overhaul of Snow White as a character. I wanted her to be someone who was more than just her beauty. She could have the raven hair and the bloodred lips and all that jazz but I had wanted her to be of more substance. In the film, Snow White asks the Huntsman how she can be someone who inspires, and to be honest this question remained unanswered in the film. I had hoped she would earn the title of Queen, and instead she wins it by birthright (by being the late King’s daughter), by her beauty and by a pureheartedness that is assumed of her but not really seen very much in the film. I had also hoped that she would have had more of an active role in deciding her fate, and I was encouraged by the fact that she leads an army against the Queen. But she leads it almost as a figurehead, a pretty mascot with which to bolster the army around her. So if this was too much of an expectation for the film, then it’s my bad for hoping it would have achieved all this. However you will all forgive me if I contend that this is not at all an unreasonable task to ask of a film.
I could talk more about my thoughts on this film and even have some of my own ideas as to how it should have all played out, but in the interest of not driving you all away due to my long-windedness, I’ll conclude with this: see the film if you’re a big fan of special effects, graphic design and visual imagery. Rupert Sanders succeeds in making this film look visually stunning. As far as performances go, everyone did a good job (especially Theron) but they were ill-served by a mediocre script. While it may seem as though I hated the movie, I really didn’t. I thought it was enjoyable enough but I felt it could have been better. It will definitely entertain you. It might have lingered too long in the beginning and could have spent more time developing some of the characters, including the title character, but it was still a solid effort. Ultimately and most unfortunately expectation did not coincide with reality and while it was a valiant effort at updating the fairy tale, I felt it could have gone further or been better.
Old Red Jalopy has put a spin on some huge summer blockbusters to picture them as smaller, less explosion-heavy action movies. Take a look at these posters for blockbusters re-imagined as thoughtful indies.
Director Rupert Sanders and actress Charlize Theron, behind the scenes on the set of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Check out the trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, one of two films out next summer about the legendary ivory maiden. This gritty-looking one stars Twilight’s Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Oscar winner Charlize Theron rocking the devilish frock as the Evil Queen, and Thor's Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. This looks pretty epic and amazing, and I remember the producers from last year's Comic-Con panel talking about how this was exactly the kind of feel they intended to go for with this movie. Though I'm no fan of Kristen Stewart, count me in to see this film (and Tarsem Singh's!) next summer.
Beauty is my power
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
This is a little late, but better late than never, right? I went to this panel at Comic-Con because I wanted a little bit more insight into what separated this film and the other upcoming Snow White movie helmed by Tarsem Singh. What I learned from the panel was that the two films could not be more different. What I can say from seeing brief glimpses of both projects is that they both seem to promise very visually-striking films.
I am not a fan of Kristen Stewart. I think she’s a one-dimensional actress who seems to be drawn to the same types of misfit/outsider/emo hipster roles again and again. This was one of the reasons why I wasn’t too excited about this project. It also didn’t help that producer Joe Roth pretty much said that the reason they went with Stewart (instead of an unknown actress, which was the original goal) was because they wanted the opportunity to be the movie that would take her out of the Twilight franchise. Not exactly a vote of confidence there.
However, upon the announcement that this film will also star Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen character (we find out from the Comic-Con panel that she was the one and only choice for the role, too) and Chris Hemsworth playing the title role of the Huntsman, I was instantly intrigued. Add to that the addition of Rupert Sanders at the helm of this project and it sweetened the deal even more. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rupert Sanders’ work, you can check out a few of his commercials here. As you can see, this guy is extremely talented, and not only do his commercials look visually stunning and original, but they all have a story and some heart to them. That said, when it came time for him to reveal a brief video clip that he put together in 3 days’ time that would showcase his vision for Snow White and the Huntsman, as expected, the audience was pretty much blown away by what he had to offer.
I can tell you that this is an extremely ambitious film and as producer Joe Roth mentioned, they are planning this film on a scale of The Lord of the Rings, so that’s going to give you a taste of what to expect. For some, perhaps the film seems to be trying a bit too much to have that Middle-Earth flavor. From the picture above, Kristen Stewart’s Snow White dons a shield whose coat of arms bears an uncanny resemblance to the White Tree of Gondor (featured on Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn below):
And add to that Chris Hemsworth’s Strider-like look in this promo picture below:
…I guess they really like Aragorn. After all, Viggo Mortensen was originally supposed to play the Huntsman, before finally backing out of the project. Perhaps he wasn’t interested in making a wannabe Lord of the Rings?
Now it may sound like I’m ragging on the film, but the truth is I was blown away by the video reel that Rupert Sanders showed and I can’t wait for this movie to come out, as it looks to be really exciting. Sure, maybe there’s not a lot of originality in some parts, but it’s too early to tell where this movie could go. Since I mentioned Tarsem Singh’s Snow White project as well, here’s a look of what actress Lily Collins is slated to look like:
Talk about a stark contrast, huh?
Twilight star Kristen Stewart has been offered the role of Snow White in the new movie Snow White and the Huntsman, opposite Viggo Mortensen. The story revolves around the bond between Snow White and the captor sent by the evil Queen (rumored to be played by Charlize Theron) to kill her.
You can read more here.
What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Stewart take on this role? Were you hoping they would cast someone else?