Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and The Hunksman

If you haven't seen the movie and actually care about NOT knowing the details, turn back now.

Having said that...

I saw Snow White and the Huntsman the other day.  I actually saw it twice - once on opening night, resplendent with my husband, two of his friends, and a host of giggling, "like omg"-ing Twi-tards.

Okay, maybe they weren't Twilight fans necessarily, but they sure fit the stereotype.  I'm positive one of them will start a "Team Hunstman" versus "Team William" campaign at her school.  Probably already has.

I saw it a second time, alone, on a Monday evening, with just me and a few other QUIET patrons.  I actually chuckled to myself when I realized most of the people in the theatre were girls dragging their boyfriends with them.

Having had enough time to gestate the overload on my senses from the first viewing, and connect some dots thanks to my second viewing, I have some comments and OPINIONS! :D

1. I'm sure everyone, by this point, knows my opinion of Kristen Stewart's acting.  She's stoned when not speaking, and robotic when she is.  Ten bucks says she was hired because of her pretty face, which actually looks LESS pretty when she does that baked gazing of hers.

Now, someone accused me of being biased against her because of the Twilight thing.  Guilty as charged, but let's face it, she plays herself in pretty much every movie she does, so it's not like Twilight is an exception.  I will give her this, though: without Edward's equally stoned expressions opposite hers, she didn't seem too horrible in The Huntsman, not the second time around, anyway.

But she also doesn't speak for long stretches, so that may have had something to do with it.

I said it on FB, and I'll say it again: Anything that made this movie drop from "great" to "ho-hum" was due to poor writing/editing, or Kristen Stewart, and most often the latter.

Props to her costumer, though.

2. Speaking of costumers, omg, Charlize Theron's dresses were AMAZING (see left).  SHE was amazing!  The evil queen, Ravenna, carried the freaking movie.  She was complex, diabolical, pathetic, gorgeous, terrifying, even pitiable.  There are some scenes in there where they must have covered Theron in goodness knows what to get just the right effect, and it looks stunning.  I can't find fault with any scene in which that woman performed.  The backstory provided for the queen (in the form of a flashback) was so brief, I wished they had explored that more.  Perhaps included in a prequel? Maybe?  Hopefully?  Who WOULDN'T want to see more of Theron?

3. The queen has a brother!  Not a magic-user like Ravenna, but he benefits from it - doesn't age, heals from injuries - but he's practically her errand boy.  And he's got some kind of weird pervy-stalker thing going on with Snow White.

After Ravenna conquers everything, she locks SW in the prison tower, presumably to either forget about her or let her rot - odd for a woman who scorns men for their "ruination" of women, when she does exactly that to maintain her powers.  We learn that during the time SW spent in the tower, she never learned to say the Lord's Prayer convincingly or completely, she made animated bird buddies, and the queen's pervy brother developed a habit of watching her while she sleeps.

This creeped me out at first, but after the second view, I thought, "Okay, there could be two reasons for this.  First, he does actually have perverted intentions but is kept in check by his sister, or, second, he actually takes some pity on SW.  Or he's feeling sorry for himself because his sister gets all the hot women to herself, who she then devours to keep her beauty fresh and glowing."  I suppose I'll figure it out eventually, but whatever his motivation, he gets super-pissed when SW attacks him and escapes.

4. Rant time!

I kid you not, there were so many elements from other movies in this one sequence alone, I laughed.
So SW escapes with the help of her virtual bird buddies, and when she finally emerges out of the ocean and climbs the cliffside, lo and behold! a white horse lies waiting for her.  A throwback to Legend, much?  They do make a big deal of her innocence, after all.

She gallops off, and guards chase her.  Dressed in black.  Riding horses.  Black horses.  Through a grove of trees.  Where's Frodo?

They get to the Dark Forest, a very creepy dead place.  SW's horse falls into a pool of mud and refuses to follow her.  No, Artax!  Don't give in!

She runs into the forest and trips into a grouping of funky ash dispelling... plants?  Fungi?  SW starts to hallucinate.  Apparently, The Capitol has influence here, too.  Must have crossed mushrooms with a tracker jacker.

Other mockable moments include:

  • A bridge and a troll.  Seriously?  Billie goat, billie goat...  Oh, and then SW has a staring match with it, the winner presumably getting the Huntsman, and it gets * embarrassed* there at the end.
  • Captured by dwarfs, taken to Ferngully.  Not kidding.
  • SW meets the king of Ferngully, who happens to be the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke.  I had at least hoped she'd meet Aslan, but no.  Apparently, it's all the rage now to portray magically majestic beasts in the form of natural prey.  No wonder it got shot.
  • And finally, after SW's death and resurrection (is this lost on anyone?  An inherently compassionate and pure figure gets slain/sacrificed, then brought back to life to free the masses from evil), she dresses up in plate mail and goes to fight a war.  Hello, Snow of Arc, did I mention your speech back there was fabulous? *cough*bullshit*cough*

5. Oh!  That leads me to another rant.

There's two guys she's supposedly going to eventually-at-some-point-but-we-don't-know-when have to choose between: the younger guy, William (Sam Claflin, see right), who's been in love with her since they were, what, eight?  Or maybe he was ten (I can't tell kids' ages anymore), and who feels guilty because he got out of the castle during the hostile takeover and Snow White didn't; and there's the not much older guy, known simply as the Hunstman (Chris Hemsworth), drowning his widower sorrows in a leather flask, which he takes to throwing on the ground when emptied of its contents.  Apparently, he decided at some point that the helpless girl needed someone to teach her to fight - motivated, I think, by the fact that his wife got abducted and killed sometime after Ravenna's usurpation, and he might possibly, but I don't know for sure, feel that if his wife HAD known how to fight, she wouldn't be dead.

Continuing on to my rant.  We all know from Disney that a spell is broken by a kiss.  In some movies, it's "true love's FIRST kiss," while in other's it's simply "true love's kiss."  We'll go with the latter, because, let's face it, it's less of a mouthful to say.

During the sequence where Snow White kisses William (yes, she chose that one herself), who wasn't actually William, and then she bites into the apple and takes forever to "die," we see something interesting.  The real William does, in fact, kiss her, albeit awkwardly, and nothing happens.  Nothing.

Apparently, "true love" in this movie isn't the guy who followed you around every day when you were kids, obsessed over rescuing you for the last ten years, and now vows to never abandon you again.

Then we get to the scene where Snow White lays "dead" on a pile of furs in an empty, albeit grand, chapel, with the Hunstman drowning in a bottle nearby.  He makes his confession of guilt and remorse, kisses the princess goodbye, and leaves.

And Snow White wakes up.  Ta-da!

So "true love" in this movie is the grief-stricken widower who hangs around because of a guilt complex and an uncanny resemblance?

I still vote that one of the dwarfs should have kissed her, but that would be doing a disservice to the dwarfs.

6.  Mentioning the dwarfs leads me into special effects.  The makers pulled an LOTR with the dwarfs, using non-dwarf sized actors to play dwarfs, and in the far away shots, used doubles.  Very effective, and I enjoyed seeing faces such as Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Toby Jones.

This movie was chalk full of visual effects, from fire to shooting arrows to the previously mentioned Fergully scenes.  For a few tiny things here and there, I found some element of "fake-ness," but otherwise, I thought they did wonderfully integrating live action and animation.

Except when Ravenna morphs from William to her original form.  That one.... that one could have used a lot more work.  She looked very clay-like.

7. Last but not least, music.  LOVE!!  I will own this soundtrack, mark my words.

I'll admit, I went to see "The Hunstman" (as my husband and I have abbreviated the title) for Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron - mostly Hemsworth, because I have something of a crush on him right now, but Theron is incredible in her own right, as previously mentioned.  Those two made me happy despite my (anticipated) disappointment with Stewart.

Hemsworth is so pretty.  *giggle.  Do you blame me for calling it "The Hunksman"?  No, of course you don't. ;P

~ CLynn

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