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Was I looking forward to Snow White & The Huntsman?  Hell, quite a lot yes - and I wasn't even tragically disappointed in it until it hit the last hour, and the sinking feeling kicked in that oh shit, they really aren't going to salvage this one. BASTARDS. Ahem.

I'm still trying to convince myself it wasn't all bad.  Some of it was even interesting, right?

    • Charlise Theron stole the whole show, hook line and sinker. I'm amazed she had any voice left after most of her scenes, and she was absolutely freaking mesmerising to watch. Shame it just showed up most of the rest of the main cast sadly.
    • Similarly, her character was the richest thing in this - hair, make-up, SFX, decent dialogue all heavily loaded her direction.  K-Stew got left in the dust.
    • It. Looks. Gorgeous.  Beyond gorgeous.  You'd almost think they had Tarsem in for the visuals, except he was busy making his own version.
    • Dwarves! It's never not funny seeing Ian McShane, Nick Frost and Ray Winstone (among others) being sarky dwarves with crazy hairstyles!
    • *sigh* Chris. Just about ends up a plus because he's so pretty, and has a vaguely interesting character.  Not Thor-level pretty though (and very little gratuitous nudity, dammit), and the accent, sadly, is very much in the minus department :o(

    In pretty much no order:
    • The plot = beyond a mess.  I haven't seen Mirror Mirror so can't really compare, but my friend, who had seen it, uttered the immortal words 'The Tarsem version made more sense..!'.  This does not happen in the real world very often.
    • Good holy grief, what was going on with Chris Hemsworth's accent
    • Which wasn't nearly as bad as Kristen Stewart's 'I can do a Keira Knightly impression' attempt
    • Essentially, 80% of it was a mash up of scenes ripped from every fantasy epic you can think of. I would enjoy this, as at least they ripped off good scenes, but it was getting ridiculous flipping from LOTR to Legend to The Princess Bride to Never-Ending Story literally in the space of 3 minutes.
    • This kept irritating me more and more as it went on - the Huntsman seems only able to wield an axe. The Prince is the one running around with the bow and arrow.   Which one seems more likely to be hunting stuff, and which one seems to have his job description mixed up with the Woodsman from Red Riding Hood?
    • Most importantly: Snow. White. Is. Not. Kick-ass.

    I was sold Snow being kick-ass in the trailer.  Dare I say, it's pretty much standard for adaptations these days - even Lily Collins gets to wield a sword in Mirror Mirror, and my new favourite fairy tale mash up Once has her as a pretty competent bandit queen doing a fairly good Robin Hood impression.  

    What we got was very much not Snow White being kick-ass. I can't express quite how disappointing that turned out to be, because it would have been her only freaking chance of salvaging some kind of character moment from what the screenplay left her with.

    SWATH is not that story.  I'm not even sure what story SWATH thinks it is - beyond a seriously fucked-up fairytale (with actual creepily cute fairies. There ain't no fairies in the Disney version, just saying..).  I tried, god knows, to like Kristen Stewart in this, but the ghost of Bella fucking Swan crept in again and again beyond her strangulated attempt at a Keira-lite accent.  There was pouting. There were anguished expressions. There was very little sign of character, or life.  I mean, she does vaguely pro-active stuff and wounds people, but not in the sense that she knows what she's doing.

    Guys, you know you have character problems when Tangled offers a more psychologically accurate representation of having your heroine locked in a tower for several years than this does.  I have no clue who they thought Snow White was, as she barely got to bloody say or do anything other than run, get everyone else in massive amounts of trouble trying to save her, have messed up hallucinations and even more messed up Christ-like redemption. She is special because she just is, ok, and she pretty much reeks of freesia... no, wait, wrong KStew franchise.  I'm ignoring the end because IT MAKES NO FREAKING SENSE.  Ahem. I have no clue where the set-up for a trilogy comes from, cos ding dong the witch is absolutely dead, and it just ends on a grand Star Wars stylee coronation, with a vague hint of a smile that the Huntsman showed up.

    --I'm going to have a completely random aside here, as what they were aiming for was the same as the ending of SyFy's magnificent Alice miniseries: a reboot repositioning one of the side characters to be the romantic interest over the much more obvious choice.  Alice does this beautifully via an extended game of switching sides and betrayal from both parties before everything sorts itself out (it also has a reanimated assassin kitted out with a bunny cookie jar for a head. How can you not love it?!)--

    I won't even go into the way I was totally rooting for them to have done a nice bait'n'switch and get the Huntsman to be the romantic interest (please, you don't hire Chris Hemsworth only to waste him for shit like this) - right up to the point where I saw them together on screen.  Oh please god, you couldn't fake a lack of chemistry like that.  This can be worked around, assuming you have some kind of clever writing that meshes the characters, or gives them remotely interesting dialogue, or indeed any kind of connection.  This just compounded the problem by having them barely talk at all.  It's classic tell, don't show - we just keep getting the point rammed home that Snow is soooo special and some kind of saviour.  We have no clue what Snow feels about that because KStew, bless her, isn't so great with the emoting.  We get angst, and one cryptic line of dialogue that Ravenna can't have her heart - which would have more impact had anyone else had her heart (realistically, we get more dwarf-groping than actual kissing).  And gawd, I keep calling her Snow because that's what OUAT calls her, and for all its faults, it had me rooting for Snow and Charming within 30 seconds of the pilot ep.

    The exceedingly misleading battle scene you keep seeing in trailers... is not preceded by Snow White being trained in any kind of combat.  She's strictly a divine intervention kinda gal.  As in, after the most delightfully fucked-up apple tasting scene of all time, she falls into the usual coma, wakes up with a little help and orders  the entire rebellion army to go into battle with her RIGHT NOW because she knows how to kill the Queen.  Mysteriously well-fitting armour is produced and apparently she's still a hotshot rider despite spending the last decade locked in a tower.  

    Her special gifts extend to knowing how to break an army into the castle and how to finish off Ravenna all by herself.  Considering Ravenna has a decent backstory, and fabulous costumes, and is as entertainingly batshit crazy as you could hope for, I'm not sure why we're supposed to be rooting for Snow at that point - she's going to make the world's most dull Queen, she is totally unqualified for any kind of ruling and mostly just gets folk slaughtered trying to protect her.  

    I think maybe this film bugged me quite a lot, and I need to see Avengers again to take the nasty taste away...

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    Jennifer Howell

    July 2015

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