Friday, June 1. 2012
Snow White, despite its 12A rating, is basically a good, solid, family-friendly fantastic film. It would be fun if they'd been that alliterative too!
Overall, this film is fun. It could have been better in places - there's a big scene in a fairy sanctuary which is more or less an extended homage to the Disney film. It's very pretty, enchantingly so in patches, but it's just too long really. Most of the characters need back-story too. Particularly the two in the title! Snow White is so cookie cutter fantasy princess it's not true. The Huntsman is a little better, but by the time you learn the reasons for his nearly equally cookie cutter tropes it's a bit too late to make you care.
The thing that made me squirm most though, were the repeated assertions that 'beauty is the only way we can have power in this world' from that well known ugly woman Charlize Theron. OK, she's the evil queen and her message is proved 'wrong' I guess, but stating that blandly several times is not great. Ironic really, because suddenly there's a character with loads of backstory, and several moments where probably THE most evil stepmother (Cinderella's has to be her main competition) is turned into an interesting character, one with whom you may not completely sympathise but can certainly empathise.
A shout should go to Ms. Theron for a lot of quality acting and stealing the film. Her only real competitors are the dwarves. Given its a group of seven great British actors, it shouldn't be a surprise that they absolutely rocked but did so in a wonderfully generous way, not stealing the scenes but making everyone on the screen with them look better.
We both wished for a slightly different way for the climactic fight to be resolved. The most poetic of them would have been Snow spitting blood on to the Queen - acceptable to the pair of us in the context of the story, but probably a very hard sell I the family-friendly stakes.
That might sound like a lot of quibbles but actually they're mostly little things. The film overall was a lot of fun. It might be better at 1h45 rather than 2h but it didn't ever seem to drag and although it stole ideas and scenes from all over all (clear shades of Narnia/Robin of Sherwood, Robin Hood, Henry V, The Hobbit trailers and more) it made a sensible, working structure and a thoroughly entertaining movie. Well worth the time to watch it.
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