Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Snow job

Boy, did I want to like “Snow White & the Huntsman” more than I actually liked “Snow White & the Huntsman.” It wasn’t that the movie was terrible – it wasn’t. It certainly looked gorgeous. It was just that it could have been so much better. It has the DNA of a movie that is almost inborn for me to love – strong female characters, good and evil, Charlize Theron in a milk bath. And they at least tried to make Charlize more than your standard cookie-cutter evil. Evil for evil’s sake is so dreadfully dull.

No, her queen was evil with purpose – and not an entirely wrong one either. It’s true, women are unfairly judged on their beauty. And with that beauty comes power. But once that beauty fades, so does the power. Of course, we must argue with her method. Life sucking the youth and beauty out of people is, um, wrong.

But therein lies the rub-a-dub-dub. The queen’s reason for her terrible anger and terrible actions weren’t necessarily terrible. One could even call them feminist. But then she hisses, “Men use women. They ruin us and when they are finished with us, they offer us to the dogs like scraps.” So now she’s your stereotypical man-hating angry aging feminist who is also hell-bent on destroying younger, more beautiful women. Oh, dear. So many problems.

But the real problem with the film – other than the incredibly creepy naked fairy people – is Snow White herself. She’s never been the most heroic of heroines. I mean, it’s between her and Sleeping Beauty for most passive princess ever. Unconsciousness is not terribly heroic. The film’s strange mash-up of genres they made her into The One from “The Matrix” meets “Braveheart” meets “Lord of the Rings” and even perhaps a little “Avatar” for good measure. But then they never explain what makes her The One. Just because she’s “The Fairest of Them All?” Because of her white skin and red lips? Because she dates a sparkly vampire? And still she needs a big, strong man to rescue/awaken her. Sigh.

Come on, cinema. Give me a heroine I can believe in. Oh well. Let’s try again this weekend with “Prometheus,” shall we?

p.s. Though I did quite enjoy seeing Rachael Stirling. Mmm, now to rewatch “Tipping the Velvet.”


Kristan said...

Same. Thoughts. Exactly.

Urban Jointz said...

Haven't seen it yet but, definitely want to. Interesting comments about the film. Great reasoning for liking and conversely not liking the film. Makes me want to see it more so that I can decide for myself!

Christinc1 said...

*sigh* I'm holding out hope for "Brave".

Anonymous said...

I thought the same thing. Visually, the movie was fantastic, the Lord of the rings feel made it even better. But most of the characters were underdeveloped and the whole movie was lacking in emotion an meaningful dialogue. I kept hoping for that powerful moment, but between the script and the lifeless delivery of lines those moments of potential were lost.
I did like Charlize, and her man hating was justified. I thought that her objectification and disgust in men made her a great villain. She was also pretty bats**t crazy, which I thought was great. I guess I just wanted to feel more for the other characters, and Gus was the only one who I cared about.

Anonymous said...

Saw it yesterday and came away not entirely disappointed but not impressed. Charlize did have some fantastic moments and costumes but that's not enough.


Anonymous said...

In all fairness, Avengers gave us a competent female heroine in Black Widow and a competent female person of rank in Maria Hill and all people did was bitch about how the movie didn't pass the Bechdel test.

Having not see SWatH, I'm going to presume that it somewhere passes the Bechdel test hence why I haven't seen griping about it. But then you get female characters like the Queen and Snow White.

But, to the butt-hurt feminists ruining the fun for the rest of us: Prometheus is guaranteed to pass your dang test because its trailer does!

tlsintx said...

I liked it. To me it's the true feminine - the young woman who holds on to her heart while collaborating with the masculine, rising up like the phoenix to supplant the old feminine - concerned only with youth and appearance and material power...and the movie release even coincided with the Transit of Venus! The feminine eclipsing the masculine to strike a better balance in the cosmos!!! but then, I can find profound meaning in a 3 Stooges movie... :)

Panty Buns said...

I still want to see the movie but how frustrating that it didn't fulfill its potential. I'm sure I'll love Charlene Theron's character, but couldn't they at least have Snow White coming to the rescue of the beautiful women and trying to convince the Evil queen to direct her venom at the men she rightly hates. Maybe there is some correlation to real life, but I would prefer to see female heroes coming to the rescue rather than taking cues from the dwarf Dopey (mind you I haven't even seen a preview yet so I may be talking out my bleep).
LMAO at tlsintx comment "... profound meaning in a 3 Stooges movie...:)"
I'll probably see the movie and then concur with you completely.

Shasta said...

Yeah, I wanted to like it more than I did. I can't fault the visuals or the production at all. They were spectacular. Take that away and.... meh!
Took me a while to recognize Rachael Stirling, but I was so happy when I did.

Shazzer said...

Uhm, I pretty much had to stop reading after "Charlize Theron in a milk bath." I'll try to get back to the rest of the review ... errrr, later.

Anonymous said...

Who was Rachael Stirling?? I can't figure it out!

Erin O'Riordan said...

SW&TH was a feminist allegory. The Queen represented the woman corrupted by the consumerist, male-controlled beauty industry. Made to believe beauty and youth were her only assets, the Queen became an inhuman monster - not because she was innately flawed, but because she was victimized by a rigged system designed to profit the males in charge. Turned into this monster, the Queen turned against other women.

The vicious circle could be overcome, however, by a strong woman in her natural state, a woman who didn't need breast implants, haute couture clothes, designer cosmetics or even CLEAN FINGERNAILS.

Note that when Snow takes the crown, even though she's surrounded by patriarchal religious figures, her crown bears not a Christian cross, but a very prominent, very feminine fleur de lis. This movie wants women to succeed.

The summer movie that really pissed ME off was the witch-bashing, Helena Bonham Carter-killing 'Dark Shadows.' (Seth Grahame-Smith, you made Lizzy Bennett a ninja! - I thought we were cool!)

Anonymous said...

I may not see it now. I will be seeing Prometheus for sure though. Crappy in space is better than crappy on land!!! (hopefully it is not crappy)

Firefly said...

I was kinda hoping the "fairest" deal was a pun on her character being actually juste and kind, as opposed to the "unfair" Queen. Actually, being the precocious feminist I was, that's what I thought the original fairy tale was about, deep down. It wasn't, but hey, it's my head.

So, it's really just a match of proper sunscreen usage? Should I bother to pay and see it?

;) babs said...

I watched it last night, and I too wanted to like it.
but KStew and Charlize Theron were really bad, so all the great effects couldn't rescue the movie.

Mayra Rienties said...

I didn't see Snow White and the huntsmen yet but I saw Prometheus last night and all I can say is don't hold your breath for it to be better than this one.

Charlize's character in Prometheus is perhaps even worse than the evil queen in Snow White... and that is only one of the many problems with that movie.

ayan said...

thank you for sharing

Alexandra said...

I thought the exact same thing.

What a wimp.

A helpless wimp.

(you can see why I don't review movies...people like more than one 3 word sentence.)

Anonymous said...

Oh no, no, no. You need to watch Mirror Mirror. Lily Collins plays Snow White and she's fucking adorable.