Friday, December 28, 2012

Just watched...

...this year's "Snow White and the Huntsman" with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron.

I look forward to this extended holiday time at the end of every year because it means that my partner and I can catch up on films we have wanted to see, the never-ending Netflix queue, and whatever we have been saving on our TiVo for a time such as this. In between holiday dinners, we eagerly devour film after film. And this is how I came to sit through "Snow White and the Huntsman."

It seems there has been a recent surge in films that re-imagine old fairy tales. So far, this recent penchant for re-imagining simply means that a film studio adds what they think "tween" audiences want, which pretty much ruins the story and any chance for a meaningful exploration of the universality of said fairy tale, which is why such tales have survived in the collective unconscious so long.

After viewing “Snow White and the Huntsman,” much like the recent Little Red Riding Hood film “Red Riding Hood” with Amanda Seyfried, the result feels unnecessary. It was good enough, but why bother to begin with? This version of "Snow White" feels forced and dreary (I have yet to see Tarsem Singh's comedic version "Mirror, Mirror"). Kristen Stewart as Snow White seems sufficient but does not possess either the beauty that would drive a wicked queen to insane jealousy or the spirit and fortitude to command followers, as she does in this modern re-imagining. The only reason for her presence in this film is to draw in the tween "Twilight" crowd. Charlize Theron as Ravenna, the wicked queen, does a fine job with what she is given, thankfully resisting the urge to chew scenery, to which lesser actresses would have surely succumbed. Chris Hemsworth is sort of wooden, but then again, he is playing The Huntsman. Not much depth there to plumb. The only engaging parts of the film come with the addition of the dwarves (played charmingly by a superb cast of venerable British character actors), the spectacular costume design, and the impressive special effects which are seamlessly blended into the live action.

Recommend? Meh. It’s worth a look for the art design, effects, and costumes. Other than that… not really.

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