Posted by Hedwig on June 9, 2012
Note: I’ll keep it spoiler-free above the fold, but I would like to discuss the ending below it.
Updating fairy-tales is all the rage these days, with not just two Snow White movies but even a Jack & the Beanstalk one, but they’ve really never left the public consciousness. It can be safely assumed that like vampires and Frankenstein’s, they will never truly disappear, since the bare bones of the stories can so easily be adapted to the times, the core elements familiar but the subtext fluid. The stories of princesses might all look the same, and seem to embody only the most antiquated of gender roles, but their messages and lessons still ring strong.
Snow White, of course, has always been about beauty and youth. “Who is the fairest of them all?”, the queen asks, eager to hear her own name, and furious when it turns out she is fairest no longer, surpassed by a raven-haired pale beauty with crimson lips. In the fairy tale and in the new action-movie adaptation SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, Snow White “wins” the contest because she has inner as well as outer beauty. But the movie makes implicit that the queen’s desperate desire to retain her youth and beauty is not vanity alone – she fiercely defends herself because her beauty is the source of her power, perhaps even the only power she has. She’s a monster, but a monster made by the system, and this explains why Snow White can’t help but feel sorry for her. Charlize Theron clearly relishes playing such a grandiose, evil part, but she never forgets that her queen Ravenna is at heart a pitiful creature.
It’s too bad they haven’t found a Snow White to match her. Just to clarify: I’m no Kristen Stewart hater. The Twilight movies are easy targets, but she managed to give Bella something completely absent in the books: a personality. I can understand why she was cast: she projects a certain authenticity – carefully cultivated in her public image, too – that helps her play wide-eyed wonder and innocence without it going into maudlin territory. But this Snow White is a warrior too, and when called upon to give a St. Crispin’s day speech, she can’t quite pull it off. She shouts, and her chest heaves with labored breathing, but she lacks the authority Theron has no problem summoning.
Overall, though, I thought this adaptation was both visually stunning and thematically interesting. And what really sold me on it, the thing that made sure I left the cinema not just satisfied but elated, was the ending (and here be spoilers) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Other | Tagged: Charlize Theron, chris hemsworth, Fairy Tales, Kristen Stewart, Mad Men, Snow White and the Huntsman | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Hedwig on April 28, 2011
I’ve been posting short things about films on tumblr lately, but this post expanded to the point where I thought I’d cross-post it here, too.
THOR is an entertaining, well-paced, action-filled opener of the 2011 blockbuster season. It’s often funny, it has an intriguing, conflicted villain (which is an improvement over the two IRON MAN movies), and Chris Hemsworth acquits himself quite well, especially in the Earth-based scenes. It also caters to the audience in pleasant ways: he walks around shirtless for a full minute -maybe two- and while I generally like less bulky guys, I have to say, da-yum*. The Asgard and Jotumheim scenes are all CGI-gloss, but I guess that could not be avoided. And I’m impressed Branagh managed to keep the film tonally similar to the IRON MAN movies, which is promising for further entries in this Marvel series.
Unfortunately, this is one of those movies where you can glimpse the scaffold beneath the story. For instance, from the way the story resolves, I would guess that THE AVENGERS will use Thor as a (semi-literal) deus ex machina. Also, I understand that the whole movie revolves around Thor learning a lesson, but his reversal is rather sudden and extreme. And there are more nitpicks: Hopkins really hams it up (though I guess it’s hard to underplay Odin All-father), Portman doesn’t quite pull off the scientific mumbo-jumbo (but I appreciated seeing a female physicist – we don’t get a lot of representation on-screen), and Thor’s quartet of friends didn’t really get much to do. All-in-all: worth seeing, but non-essential.
A note on 3D: in my city, I couldn’t see THOR in 2D, and this kind of pisses me off. It’s not so much the price hike (though 11 euros is quite a lot of money), but it’s an ‘upgrade’ I’d rather opt out of. I only seldom see the added value of 3D (the scene with the clown in TOY STORY 3 is the only example that comes to mind), and I don’t get the claims of realism: in fact it’s often detrimental to immersion. For instance, it doesn’t go well with fact cutting and hand-held-like shots, where it often leads the audience to look ‘through’ the action, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone. It doesn’t combine with other cinematic tools, either: in THOR, there is a shot where the foreground suddenly becomes blurry because we’re supposed to focus on something in the background. In 2D this works as a depth indication, and it’s a trope we’re used to as a guide to the eye, but in 3D it just takes you out of the experience: if you were truly watching at a 3D images, you would be able to focus your eyes wherever you wanted. I don’t want to rule out all 3D (I hope they’ll bring out CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS here at some point), but it would be nice if it was an option instead of a mandatory drag, and if people realized how much 3D limits the director’s bag of cinematic tricks and acted accordingly.
*couldn’t find a good still of that for drooling purposes, sorry. Hope this one will do, instead.
Posted in New, Reviews | Tagged: chris hemsworth, marvel, thor | 1 Comment »